Featured News Sustainable science: JCU’s The Science Place achieves Australian-first green building rating

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Wed, 13 Dec 2017

Sustainable science: JCU’s The Science Place achieves Australian-first green building rating

The Science Place
The Science Place

James Cook University’s landmark The Science Place building has become the first educational building in Australia to achieve a prestigious LEED® Gold rating for its environmentally sustainable design.

The innovative $85M building at JCU’s Douglas campus is also the first LEED Gold Certified building rated for its construction in Queensland*.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, and is devised by the Unites States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage sustainable design.

Deputy Vice Chancellor for the Division of Services and Resources, Tricia Brand said the certification reflects the building’s very high standards in environmental sustainability.

“The building boasts a wide range of features that make it a leader in the design and construction of green buildings. We are extremely proud of The Science Place and the learning and research opportunities it’s delivering for students and staff. And to receive this accolade is a fantastic achievement for all of those involved in the building’s design and construction.”

The Science Place is a four level, 12,000m2 joint teaching and research facility, that combines state-of-the-art laboratories and technology-enabled active learning spaces.

The building has received LEED Gold certification for a range of environmentally sustainable features including:

  • Recovery and recycling of 93.5% of all demolition and construction materials, a new record for a large development in Townsville.
  • A light reflective roof colour, to reduce building heat gain and air conditioning energy use.
  • Energy-efficient design appropriate to the tropical environment and built to contemporary standards.
  • A 25kW solar photovoltaic energy system on the roof which generates an average of 125kWh of renewable energy each day.
  • A façade optimised to maximise daylight entering the building while minimising heat gain.
  • Daylight sensitive lighting that reduces power consumption when natural daylight is available.
  • Special concrete reinforcement in paths, using JCU’s own research results. The recycled plastic fibre technology replaces steel reinforcement which significantly reduces the path’s high embodied energy and hence the environmental impact.
  • Smart metering and circuits to ensure building data is available to the building and energy management systems, to optimise its performance and comfort for occupants.
  • Sustainable Certified Wood used in construction.
  • Superior indoor air quality management and testing.
  • Multiple low-emitting materials to ensure quality indoor air, including low-emission adhesives, sealants, paints, and flooring.
  • Water-saving taps and fittings.

The Principal Design Consultant for the JCU and federally-funded building was Hassell (Architects), and it was constructed by Lendlease.

General Manager of Lendlease’s Building business in Queensland, Tony Orazio said the certification set a benchmark for sustainability in health and education design. “The Science Place is our third Lendlease-delivered project in Australia to receive LEED Gold, verifying our commitment to creating places that deliver value for the environment, economy and community,” he said.

Ecomplish and dsquared are the building’s Sustainability Consultants. “After three years of planning, design and construction, The Science Place’s LEED Gold Certification is a remarkable achievement,” Ecomplish sustainability consultant Ben O’Callaghan said.

“The holistic design approach ensured the building would save energy and water whilst being very comfortable to study and work in, all year round,” LEED coordinator and dsquared sustainability consultant Deborah Davidson said.

The President and CEO of USGBC, Mahesh Ramanujam, said The Science Place’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership.

“LEED was created to make the world a better place and revolutionise the built environment by providing everyone with a healthy, green and high performing building. The Science Place serves as a prime example of how the work of innovative building projects can use local solutions to make a global impact on the environment.”

Images of The Science Place are available at: http://bit.ly/2nC2zgM

*According to USGBC website at the time of release, The Science Place is the first educational building in Australia to achieve LEED Gold certification, and the first LEED Gold Certified building rated for its construction in Queensland.


For more information please contact:

Richard Davis

Head of Media and Communications, JCU

0413 451 475