UTS's Faculty of Science and Graduate School of Health

Last week’s Green Globes awards recognised some of NSW’s leaders in environmental excellence and innovation, including a posthumous award for sustainability champion Dr Chris Reardon, who passed away late last year.

The awards were announced by environment minister Mark Speakman at a gala event last Thursday.

There were three built environment awards, for commercial property, residential property and infrastructure.

The University of Technology Sydney won the commercial property award for its Faculty of Science and Graduate School of Health, just the second university building in NSW to be awarded a 6 Star Green Star Design rating. The building has been designed to operate as a “living lab”, where the building and its technology, including air-quality sensors and utility meters, can be used for teaching and research.

Sustainability features include:

  • innovative day-lighting solutions
  • building cladding made from more than 75 per cent glass, of which the outer layer is 97 per cent recycled
  • energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning supplied by the UTS tower’s central thermal plant
  • low-energy cooling techniques
  • recycling of construction waste
  • water-efficient fixtures, stormwater recycling, solar hot water, sustainable material selection and improved indoor air quality
The Greeny Flat

Andy Lemann won the residential award for his family’s “The Greeny Flat”, a 57 square metre two-bedroom flat that was designed to be low maintenance, energy positive, water efficient, healthy and elderly friendly.

The Greeny Flat incorporates a range of sustainability features:

  • exports more than three times more energy to the grid than it imports
  • costs only $130,000 to build, and only $312 to run in its first year
  • is low-maintenance and durable with a no-paint exterior and simple, easy-care materials, systems and finishes
  • in the first year maintained an inside temperature between 13 and 27°C with no additional heating or cooling, while exterior temperatures ranged from -5 to 41°C
  • requires only one-fifth of the mains water of the average two-person home in NSW due to rainwater harvesting, low-flow fixtures and appliances, and low-water landscaping

All information is available through the Lemanns’ website to enable broad-scale adoption of the ideas.

Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre

The infrastructure award went to Bankstown City Council’s Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre, part of the city’s drive to renew its CBD through improvements in public infrastructure.

To create the centre, the existing town hall building was modified with high-quality materials salvaged and reused in the new development.

Key sustainability initiatives include:

  • use of materials and finishes with low levels of volatile organic compounds and other hazardous chemicals
  • low-energy cooling techniques
  • maximised use of natural ventilation
  • solar power system
  • skylights and louvres
  • energy and water efficient fittings and fixtures

All up, this has led the building to use 42 per cent less energy than the typical Sydney public building per square metre.

Other awards included the Premier’s Award for Environmental Innovation, which went to Brookfarm, a sustainability-focused family-owned small business based in Byron Bay that produces gourmet macadamia products; the Energy Efficiency award, which went to Austral Bricks, which is moving from natural gas to landfill gas at its Horsley Park site in Sydney; and the Sustainability Champion award, which was posthumously awarded to Dr Chris Reardon.

“This award honours Dr Reardon’s work over two decades developing several influential sustainable housing training programs,” Mr Speakman said.