Stellar rating for Sir Samuel Griffith Centre

Artist's impression of Sir Samuel Griffith Centre

The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre has been awarded a coveted 6-star green rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The $40 million world class building, due for completion in June 2013, will be Australia’s first off-grid, self-powering teaching and research facility. It has been awarded the 6 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 certified rating, which represents ‘World Leadership’ in environmentally sustainable building practices.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian O’Connor, said the certificate confirms Griffith University’s commitment to providing world class facilities, and leading the globe in environmentally sustainable building practices.

“This is an extraordinary building and the only one of its type in the world,” Professor O’Connor said.

Photovoltaic cells will convert sunlight into electricity for use during the day, as well as providing additional storage in batteries, and also through the electrolytic production of hydrogen. The hydrogen is then stored in a stable form as metal hydrides. Battery storage will be used primarily for overnight cooling of water to run the air conditioning systems and hydrogen to supply fuels cells for electricity production on cloudy days.

“The scale of this second hydrogen storage process has not been done before and this technology could one day be incorporated into isolated buildings, such as schools in rural communities,” Professor O’Connor said.

Innovation in the Sir Samuel Griffith Building will also extend to the comfort and well-being of those who work inside it.

Instead of running air-conditioning at around 22 degrees throughout building, the ambient temperature can be higher because personal temperature and air flow preferences will be maintained through individual outlets at each desk or workstation. This will reduce demand on the main, larger main system.

The need for artificial lighting will also be reduced by large windows, few internal walls, and glass partitions. An open-plan, shared office space will provide the opportunity for collaboration between the environmental scientists, engineers, psychologists, urban planners, health and legal and business experts who will work there.

“The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre gives an absolute physical expression to this university’s ongoing commitment to sustainability,” Professor O’Connor said,

“It will be a showcase of genuine sustainable energy alternatives for Australia and the international community.”

Green Star is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings. Green Star rating tools are available for a range of building types, including offices, schools, hospitals, retail centres, industrial facilities and multi-unit residential properties.

The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre has been made possible by Australian Government’s financial support of $21.05 million through the Education Investment Fund.