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First UQ building awarded prestigious Green Star rating

The accolades continue for The University of Queensland’s newest building, after it was awarded a 6 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) this week.

Home to the Global Change Institute (GCI), the building is the just the third sustainable educational facility in Queensland to receive the GBCA’s 6 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating, signifying ‘World Leadership’.

GCI Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said the $32m ‘Living Building’ was a net zero-energy consumer, carbon neutral workplace with natural ventilation, on-site solar panels and rainwater storage to service amenities.

“Many of the building’s features are unique but, equally, there are attributes that could be easily implemented into any new structure.

“The use of rainwater in the building is a practical example of how we are having a positive impact on the environment and moving from a focus on consumption to contribution,” he said.

Chief Executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew, congratulated the University on its achievement.

“The University of Queensland now has an asset that is not only one of the greenest educational facilities in the state, but is also a healthier, more productive learning environment for students and teachers,” Ms Madew said.

Mark Roehrs, who led the HASSELL design team in collaboration with the University’s Property and Facilities Division, said the building presented the opportunity to really push boundaries and combine innovative technologies with simple design techniques to deliver a truly world-class building.

He said the world-first structural use of low-carbon geo-polymer concrete and the net zero energy operation of the building using renewable solar energy collected on-site were great examples of this.

“As a live research site, the building’s systems and operational capability are being constantly monitored and adjusted to ensure maximum comfort for the space’s occupants,” said Mr Roehrs.

“What we have learnt from the design, construction and operation of this building is informing future sustainability projects.”

It’s the second accolade for the Global Change Institute building in the last month, after it was ranked 34th in a list of the world’s 50 most impressive environmentally friendly university buildings.

“These distinctions confirm what GCI staff already know – visual design and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said. 

“We are privileged to work in a space that is not only aesthetically inspiring but is also giving back to the environment in which we live.”

He acknowledged the contribution of GCI Board Member and philanthropist Mr Graeme Wood AO, without whose generous contribution the building would not have been possible.

The Global Change Institute

The Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, Australia, is an independent source of game-changing research, ideas and advice for addressing the challenges of global change. GCI advances discovery, implements solutions and advocates responses that meet the challenges presented by climate change, technological innovation and population change.