JCU Central Energy Plant

Sustained growth at the JCU Cairns campus has necessitated infrastructure master planning to manage projected growth in building and energy costs. With an emphasis on sustainability, efficiency and value for money, the JCU leadership resolved to create a Central Energy Plant (CEP) at the Cairns campus to produce the complete cooling requirements of the site for known development to 2020.

The CEP produces chilled water off-peak to charge a 9 megalitre thermal energy storage tank. Chilled water is reticulated via a ring main to campus buildings for use on demand. The CEP is currently the second largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

The building provides an envelope for mechanical, electrical and hydraulic equipment. The architecture seeks to express its engineering function whilst responding to the site context as a simple yet bold image. The scale and siting of the building has been designed to reduce the impact of external components, including a 16 metre high storage tank and four no. 9 metre high cooling towers. 


Address JCU Cairns Campus, Smithfield QLD
Client James Cook University
Builder Hansen Yuncken
Completed 2012
Photography MD Photography

Consultant Team
Project Manager Project Services
Principal Consultant Project Services
Structural + Civil STP Consultants
Mechanical McClintock Engineering Group Pty Ltd
Electrical Project Services
Hydraulic H20 Consultants
Landscape Consultant RPS Group


  • 2013 Australian Institute of Architects FNQ – Regional Commendation (Commercial Architecture)