New 5-star green campus to rise in Australia

Curtin University has become the first Australian university to transform its whole campus into a sustainable hub of learning, working and living.

curtin green campus
Curtin University is developing its Bentey Campus in Perth, Australia to become a sustainable urban centre designed to meet social, economic and environmental sustainability. Image: Curtin University

Western Australia’s biggest university, Curtin University, has been given the country’s first 5 Star Green Star – Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The university plans to turn 114 hectares of its Bentley Campus into a ‘city of innovation’ and be a prime example of urban regeneration and sustainable design, it said in a recent statement.

The rating is one of the world’s first independent, transparent, national schemes designed to assess and certify the sustainability of large-scale master planned development projects, said the council.

Firms or owners of projects voluntarily apply for GBCA’s ratings and are assessed and verified independently by private third party certifications firms.

Romilly Madew, GBCA chief executive officer, said Curtin’s masterplan has met the highest best practice benchmarks of a 5-star green community after it was assessed on indicators including governance and innovation, design excellence, environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and liveability.

“A 5 Star Green Star rating signifies ‘Australian Excellence’, sets new sustainability benchmarks for Australia’s universities, and provides Curtin University with independent proof that its vision will deliver environmental, economic and social sustainability,” noted Madew.

Curtin is not the only university in Australia which has joined the green building movement. Sydney’s University of Technology Dr Chau Chak Wing Building was awarded a 5-star Green Star Design rating by the GBCA in 2013.

The project, designed by renowned international architect Frank Gehry and features more than 25 sustainable building design, opened last month.

A 5 Star Green Star rating signifies ‘Australian Excellence’, sets new sustainability benchmarks for Australia’s universities, and provides Curtin University with independent proof that its vision will deliver environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Romilly Madew, chief executive officer, Green Building Council of Australia

Numerous other colleges and universities have applied for various green building ratings at GBCA.

A total of 30 universities around the country have applied since Bond University Mirvac School of Sustainable Development was awarded the first Green Star rating in 2008.

So far, 70 university buildings have been rated by GBCA, 16 of which were awarded 6-star; 49 for 5-star and five got 4-star rating, the council told Eco-Business.

A further 25 more buildings have applied and are waiting for their ratings. 

Curtin, which has been known in Australia for its research on sustainable development, climate change and renewable energy technologies, said it aims to develop the whole campus as a sustainable urban centre.

The Bentley Campus master plan will be implemented over a 20-year period, gradually developing the campus into an urban community, which supports the city’s economy through education, business, technology, housing, public transport, the arts and recreation, said the university.

The first stage of the master plan is underway, including the opening of the Wesfarmers Court last December, a business education precinct for students, staff and industry professionals.

Professor Deborah Terry, vice-chancellor of Curtin, commented: “As a university we are continually striving to be leaders in research and education and the 5 Star Green Star – Communities rating validates our ambitions to develop a vibrant urban centre, while achieving our vision to change the world through innovation and excellence. To be the first project in Australia to receive the rating is a significant achievement.” 

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