Metabolic Chambers | Australian Catholic University

Metabolic Chambers | Australian Catholic University

Fitzroy, VIC | Wurundjeri Country
Image of plant equipment in plant room required to run the metabolic chambers

Introba provided mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and fire protection services for the Metabolic Chambers project at Australian Catholic University (ACU).

ACU's new metabolic chambers are the first in the southern hemisphere. The whole-body-room calorimeter will expand the research into the effects of exercise and dietary interventions. 

Metabolic chambers are airtight rooms that monitor energy expenditure over time and assess the thermic effects of food on metabolism. Designed and built by the world-leading Maastricht Instruments out of the Netherlands, each chamber is fitted with a low-draft air conditioning system with temperature and humidity control, which can be adjusted to mimic different altitudes. We designed the services interface between the building infrastructure and the Metabolic Chambers, including electrical, communications, hydraulics, fire protection, and chilled and hot water.

The Chambers required a stable and independent chilled water supply, and finding space in an existing building for the plant proved challenging. Together with the client, we found a path for the services between the plant room and the laboratory. This allowed the temperature and water quality to meet the required standards and didn't impact the existing building operations.

The main challenge was the level of coordination and the detail required with Maastricht during the design and construction phases. The chambers were built in the Netherlands and shipped to Australia, requiring the team to solve several last-minute technical issues and find innovative and effective solutions onsite over a short installation period.

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