Simple principles of orientation, overhang and openings for passive ventilation provide the core of sustainability for buildings that can be openable.

For buildings which are closed and requiring air-conditioning, a collaborative approach to sustainability is required. O’Neill Architecture is well versed in the provision of Green Star buildings working to analyse the most efficient methods to minimise energy usage.

For many buildings, the best solution is the most organic. In the case of the Cairns Cruiseliner Terminal, the major decisions were clear. The retention of this 100 year old building would substantially minimise the use of new materials and the adaption of the building natural passive ventilation opportunities to its new use would minimise energy requirements.

Interestingly, these principles coincide directly with those of the Burra Charter, the international convention for the treatment of heritage buildings. The Cruiseliner Terminal makes optimal use of its personal and surrounding conditions. Existing openings are maintained in the transformation from Warehouse to Terminal to maintain the maximum extent of light and ventilation , while also maintaining the maximum existing fabric.

The passive ventilation is supported by new technology with the provision of high velocity fans. These fans are designed to create a bounce of air from the floor creating a draft effect, and lowering sweat production and the perceived ambient temperature on the skin by 5-7 degrees Celsius.

The building is supported by a mechanical air-conditioning system which is rarely used, even in Cairns tropical environment. Recognising and exploiting the existing buildings naturally sustainable elements has been the key to both its preservation and the ongoing economy of the terminal.