The Global Change Institute (GCI) building is one of three sustainable educational facilities in Queensland to receive the 6 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating, signifying “World Leadership.”
GCI Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said the $32 million “Living Building” was a net zero-energy 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,” he said. “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.”
GBCA Chief Executive Romilly Madew congratulated UQ on its achievement.
“UQ 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,” she said.
The building design and delivery has been a collaborative process involving the university’s Property and Facilities Division, the Global Change Institute and HASSELL architects.
HASSELL design team leader Mark Roehrs said the building presented the opportunity to push boundaries and combine innovative technologies with simple design techniques. He said the world-first structural use of low-carbon concrete and the net zero-energy operation of the building using renewable solar energy collected onsite 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,” he said. “What we have learned from the design, construction and operation of this building is informing future sustainability projects.”
This is the second accolade for the GCI building in the last month, after it was ranked 34th in a list of the world’s 50 most impressive environmentally friendly university buildings.
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said the awards confirmed that visual design and environmental sustainability were not mutually exclusive.
“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 said.
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg acknowledged the contribution of GCI Board member and philanthropist Mr Graeme Wood toward the building.