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Kingston partners in world-first solar chimney design saving energy and lives

6 May 2020

A world-first solar chimney design has been installed at the new Mentone Reserve Pavilion thanks to a partnership between Kingston Council and RMIT University in a bid to boost the environment and fire safety.

The solar chimney reduces energy use and costs by harnessing natural ventilation to regulate the temperature of the building. It also makes the building safer during a fire emergency by pulling smoke out of the building and allowing more time for evacuation.

Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said Council was excited to be a part of this ground-breaking project with RMIT University.

“Creating new and innovative ways of reducing energy consumption in our building design is something that is a priority for Council, said Cr Oxley.

“The solar-chimney at the new state-of-the-art Mentone Reserve Pavilion not only allows us to harness clean green energy to heat and cool the building, but also has the potential to save lives in a fire emergency. This is a truly remarkable design.”

The innovative world-first design was created by researchers at RMIT University, which included the City of Kingston’s own Facilities Maintenance Team Leader Anthony Ziem.

RMIT researcher Dr Long Shi said solar chimneys have well-established environmental credentials, but their potential for improving fire safety had not been explored.

“In an emergency situation where every second counts, giving people more time to escape safely is critical,” said Dr Shi. “Our research demonstrates that solar chimneys offer powerful benefits for both people’s safety and the environment.”

The solar chimney installation was completed as part of stage one of the Mentone Reserve upgrades.

Stage one included the redevelopment of the Corboy Pavilion which is now complete and includes increased space and number of change rooms to support female participation, larger undercover spectator area and first floor viewing deck and increased social space.

Stage two of the works to restore the historic grandstand to its former glory are well underway and are expected to be completed by late 2020.

The community will be able to visit the Mentone Reserve Pavilion to see first-hand the world first solar chimney once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.


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