Living Certification under the LBC means the SBRC building is the:
- 1st Living Certified Building in Australia
- 24th Living Certified project in the world
- 3rd Living Certified project outside the United States
- 1st project in Australia to achieve any level of LBC certification
Senior Professor Paul Cooper said the research centre’s design was based on the LBC regenerative design framework aimed at creating “restorative living, breathing” buildings that make a positive impact on our society and our environment overall.
“The building has been carefully designed to generate positive health and wellbeing through a restorative and healthy coexistence with nature, including the use of green walls and native plants, creating a strong connection between the building occupants and the landscape,” said Professor Cooper.
“From day one, I said to the design team that we wanted to create a building that went way beyond the current benchmark for sustainable buildings. We believe society as a whole needs to do much better than that.”
“The Living Building Challenge is widely recognised as the toughest sustainability framework for buildings. While the LBC is tough, it is extremely useful for building designers because it’s not as prescriptive as some other sustainability frameworks. It has broad goals, but gives the designer a lot of leeway in terms of how to achieve those goals.”
“The vision was that occupants, visitors and the general community could look back in years or decades to come, and know that the design of the SBRC stretched the boundaries of what was possible at the time of its design, and that this project represented a major step forward in delivery of highly sustainable buildings. Here we are, a decade on from when the building was constructed, and it is still way out in front in terms of sustainability,” said Professor Cooper.
The team used the LBC framework as a way to design and construct a building that is not just sustainable, but aims to be restorative.
“Sustainable means effectively you’re not doing any net harm overall – but restorative means you’re doing something that’s addressing some of the environmental damage that has been done in the past,” Professor Cooper said.
The approach to the Net-Zero Water Imperative has been to minimise water use and to meet this demand with captured rainwater, except where local health and safety regulations prescribe that potable water from the public water supply must be used.
The majority of the SBRC’s water use is supplied by captured rainwater collected from the rooftops of the northern and southern buildings. This water is collected in a 65kL sub-surface tank located on the western perimeter of the site.
Prior to use, the rainwater from the tank is treated without the use of chemicals by filtration and ultraviolet sterilisation. This treated water is used for showers, amenity hand basins, laboratory hand basins, cleaning purposes, PV washdown, urinals and toilet-flushing. In anticipation of a precinct-scale grey water system, the SBRC water distribution is configured to allow toilets and urinals to switch from treated rainwater to grey water should the precinct system eventuate.