Melbourne CBD

House of Terre A Mer offers a high-end shared workspace and consulting rooms for hair, beauty and wellness professionals in the Melbourne CBD. The space was designed for a building on Bank Place, and Mod Cons was initially engaged to review the heating and cooling capacity of the existing central plant, a rooftop boiler and chiller. Their assessment was that it was in poor shape and ill-suited to delivering an indoor environment commensurate with the expectations of tenants and their clients, so they set about designing and installing a new solution.

The system now in place uses four AirSmart indoor environment systems with reverse-cycle inverter energy sources. Air delivery fan coils have been fitted into ceilings while outdoor inverter condensing units are installed on the roof. But it’s inside the workspace itself where Mod Cons’ solution comes into its own.


Because so many of the interior spaces are only used intermittently, a key focus of the project was avoiding unnecessary heating and cooling in these areas. To achieve this, 13 discrete thermostat-controlled zones were created, each fitted with occupancy sensors and set to maintain temperatures 2ºC above the target temperature in summer and 2ºC below in winter. In this way, the system conserves energy when not in use, but can quickly hit the desired temperature when someone enters one of the zones. And on top of this, the entire system is linked to the building alarm, so it runs completely autonomously – with the target temperature set, the occupants don’t have to do anything but arrive and get on with work. This is not only convenient, it avoids scenarios where heating or cooling is accidentally left on overnight.

A variety of air supply points have been installed, including a linear wall grille in the main shared areas and small round grilles in consulting rooms, with exposed black ducting in the training areas, each matched to the interior design context. According to Mod Cons senior consultant Brendan Grossman, the owners are extremely happy with the outcome. “First of all, design is really important to them and they love how unobtrusive those air supply points are,” he says.” “But they’re also saving considerably on running costs compared to their previous building, because the system only runs when it has to.”