UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre to shape the buildings of tomorrow.

UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) was officially opened recently, providing a unique hub for academia, research, industry and the community to create, develop and implement ideas that will shape the buildings of tomorrow.

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Employment and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, opened the flagship research centre.

The opening was attended by Senator The Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services and Senator for New South Wales; UOW Chancellor Ms Jillian Broadbent AO and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE.

The SBRC was made possible through a Federal Government contribution of $25.1 million from the Education Investment Fund.

It will enable researchers to develop pioneering new retrofitting techniques and technologies to create more effective places to live and work as well as generate new skills and jobs for the Illawarra region.

The SBRC Building, designed by architects Cox Richardson, was constructed with the target of becoming the first certified Living Building in Australia, and the Illawarra region’s first 6 Star Green Star building.

Its many environmentally-friendly features include: ultra-low energy consumption; a solar roof that produces more power than the building consumes; rainwater harvesting to ensure the building is net-zero water; sophisticated natural ventilation and indoor environmental quality features; extensive monitoring and building control systems to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible.

SBRC Director Professor Paul Cooper said the centre was an example of how Federal Government funding had delivered more than bricks and mortar and had enabled a hub where academia, industry and the community could work together to bring innovative ideas to life.

“One of the great challenges today is the rising cost of energy. The applied research we are undertaking will improve the design and efficiency of buildings, leading to improved quality of life and reduced cost of living.

“Importantly for the region, access to research-based knowledge will enable up-skilling for the regional workforce that will improve the skill sets and economic opportunities for local companies and their employees.”

The SBRC team has already been recognised for innovative approaches to research and product development.
The combined UOW/TAFE project to retrofit a traditional Australian fibro home won last year’s Solar Decathlon China – an international competition that challenges university teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are energy-efficient, cost-effective and attractive.

Senator The Hon Eric Abetz addresses guests at the official opening of the SBRC building

One of the SBRC’s key projects involves Regional Development Australia Illawarra and other UOW research groups in assisting older Australians develop day-to-day practices that will improve energy efficiency and reduce their household fuel bills, while also making Australia’s aged care facilities more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said SBRC epitomised what the Innovation Campus was all about – cutting edge research and strong industry partnerships.

“Not only is it a spectacular looking building, but the SBRC will provide the focal point for an outstanding research team to drive innovations and develop strong links with our valued industry partners. This centre will be a vital link in the regional economy as a driver of new jobs and skills.”

More: sbrc.uow.edu.au or download the digital brochure.

Originally published on UOW Newsroom