University building awarded 5 Green Star rating

14 July 2010

Library One

Five star: An artist's impression of what the new Student Centre will look like.

Waikato University’s Student Centre has been awarded a prestigious 5 Green Star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

The 5 Green Star – Education Design PILOT certified rating recognises the environmental and sustainable features of the Student Centre design. The Student Centre incorporates, updates, and expands the existing university library. It is the first 5 Green Star project in the Waikato region.

Waikato University’s $30 million Student Centre, due for completion in mid-2011, will be the social heart of the university campus with places to meet, cafés, shops and relaxation spaces. Students can also access a range of services including the Library and enrolment enquiries.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the Student Centre will provide a dynamic university experience for staff and students and says achieving the five-star rating reflects the university’s commitment to sustainability.

“Sustainability is a key driver of this University and this achievement demonstrates our ability to apply our core values in ways that will benefit students, staff and the community,” says Professor Crawford.

The Green Star rating scheme, developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council, is a voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental attributes and performance of buildings in New Zealand. The not-for-profit industry organisation is dedicated to accelerating the development and adoption of market-based green building practices.

Chief Executive Alex Cutler says a 5 Green Star certified rating represents New Zealand excellence and the Student Centre is only the second education building to achieve this status. The other one is Canterbury University’s NZi3 building.

“Waikato University has amply demonstrated how it is preparing its built environment for the future. This is evidence of long-term planning that will reap economic rewards in terms of reducing operating costs and environmental rewards with a reduced environmental impact,” says Ms Cutler.

The university’s Project Manager, Tony Dicks, says Waikato’s Student Centre is a massive project and incredibly complex due to the large amount of refurbishment involved. “Incorporating an environmentally sustainable design creates a building that uses less energy, as well as making it healthier and safer for users, and models how buildings can be self-sufficient.”

Library Two

Sustainable changes: University Librarian Ross Hallett (left) and Project Manager Tony Dicks on the steps of the new Student Centre.

Mr Dicks says the Student Centre project has been scrutinised at every level and from every aspect to ensure it is as sustainable as possible.

“It began with the design team from Warren and Mahoney and AECOM commencing design in late 2006, through to Fletchers Construction beginning building work in 2008. Many parties have contributed to ensure the Student Centre will be an exemplary facility that is a pleasure to use, while minimising its impact on the environment.”

The Student Centre’s features include photo-voltaic panels and energy-generating lifts which will create energy for the building; sophisticated lighting and heating controls; carpet, ceiling tiles, and furniture having as much recycled content as possible; high-levels of natural light; rainwater collected from the roof to be stored on site and recycled through toilets; solar heating of water; and recycling of the demolition material where possible back into the building to prevent material going to landfill.

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