Sustainability Learning Centre becomes Tasmania’s first 6 Star Green Star building

The innovative Sustainability Learning Centre, Greening Australia’s home in Hobart, can now boast the honourable status of being Tasmania’s first 6 Star Green Star building.

The purpose-built educational facility has been awarded a Six Star “As Built” rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, the highest level of accreditation possible.

“We are delighted that the Sustainability Learning Centre has been recognised in this way. Right from the onset, the objective was not only to design a sustainable building, but one that takes into consideration its use and how this impacts on the environment. The Green Star rating is a recognition of our success in achieving this ambitious goal,” says Sebastian Burgess, Greening Australia’s Director of Conservation.

“We wanted the building itself to be an inspiration, a space where teachers and students could be inspired by the environment and see sustainability in action. Sustainability was considered in every aspect of the facility, from the design, to the choice of materials, how it was built, to how people would use it.

“Congratulations to the building’s architect, James Morrison from Morrison and Breytenbach Architects, for his tireless work in securing this significant award.”

The centre, set on 65 ha of native bushland, provides a space for students and the community to reconnect with the environment through inspiring education programs. Greening Australia has formed a new partnership with energy provider TasNetworks on EnergyWise, a program to promote energy literacy in the curriculum. EnergyWise will build on the green star rating at the centre by establishing an energy hub to showcase energy productivity initiatives for visiting schools and the community.

“One of the primary purposes of the centre is to better equip young Tasmanians to deal with the sustainability challenges they will face in the future, such as how society is going to adapt to climate change and reductions in our natural resources. It’s a place where people can learn about and be inspired by nature through applying science.”

“It’s not just about the building itself but its interface with the environment, and how use of the centre modifies people’s behaviour. It’s a public education program for both resident users as well as visitors.

The building itself, which is composed of 98% recycled materials, was constructed on a disused parking area, resulting in minimal direct impact on the environment. Sustainable features of the centre include clever shading of the building so that the rooms receive no direct sunlight in summer, a wetland which was created to treat excess water from the onsite water treatment plant, and a garden which requires zero water or mulching.

The Sustainability Learning Centre is a joint initiative between Greening Australia and the Department of Education. Construction was funded by the Australian Government, Greening Australia and the Department of Education. Other partners include Catholic Schools and Independent Schools, who have free use of the facility to run education programs, events, workshops and conferences.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Education for partnering with us to enable the construction and operation of this innovative community facility. We would also like to thank our generous donors whose support helped make the Sustainability Learning Centre a reality.”

“This award reaffirms our commitment to the environment in everything we do.”