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Sustainability tick for Swinburne’s ATC

Date posted: Monday 5 Jul 2010

Swinburne has become the first university in Australia to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating for an education building.

The Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC), currently under construction, has achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, which evaluates buildings on their environmental design and performance.

Dr Andrew Smith, Director of Facilities and Services at Swinburne, said the university’s original aim for the ATC was to ensure it was environmentally friendly, as this is one of Swinburne’s key priorities.

“The university is committed to sustainability, and that’s across all the things that we do - not just in terms of our teaching and learning, but making sure we practice what we preach”, he said.

According to Dr Smith, the certification provides external validation for Swinburne's sustainability practices.

"The building is the single largest capital investment by the university, and it's around sustainability. This rating says that we do take sustainability seriously,” Dr Smith said.

Significant features of the ATC include:
•    Bureau of Meteorology database is linked to the building management system to automatically prepare for temperature changes
•    Thermal mass lining to the building, providing a high level of insulation
•    Recycled material used in construction, such as bricks from Swinburne's old South Engineering building
•    Artificial lighting that adjusts in response to natural daylight levels
•    Windows that automatically turn off the air conditioning when opened
•    A wide temperature range that allows for less heating and cooling
•    Flexible rooms such as lecture theatres with retractable seating

Dr Smith said that sustainable buildings will remain a priority for the university.

“Swinburne has an overarching sustainability strategy, under which sits an environmental management system with a whole series of targets for the university in terms of energy and water consumption, along with a series of sustainability initiatives. Under this system, we'll be investigating green star ratings for all our new buildings,” he said.

Swinburne’s ATC is set to be completed in time for the first classes of 2011.