Queensland’s Griffith University has received $21 million towards building the country’s first zero-emission and self-powering teaching and research building driven by solar-powered hydrogen energy.
The $32 million Sir Samuel Griffith Building has been made possible with funding from the Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund’s sustainability round.
Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor said the world-class building was key to delivering a genuine sustainable energy option to Australian and global communities.
“This building, which will generate its own power supply, is a model for remote communities that are ‘off-grid’ and cannot access power in Australia and across the world,” Professor O’Connor said.
“It will also be a pilot for applying this safe, sustainable power supply in urban settings.
“The building’s solar panels made of transparent glass, create a spectacular-looking building. It is likely to attract international interest as the country’s largest solar powered-hydrogen energy supply demonstration project and as an architectural beacon.”
Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor Ned Pankhurst said the centre’s core aim was to bridge the gap between environmental scientists and businesses, which was critical for the global uptake of sustainability principles.
“The university set up the country’s first environmental school and has more than 5600 environmental science graduates to date. This funding demonstrates the university’s 35-year track record in leading environmental science education and research,” Professor Pankhurst said.
“It will help to increase supply of sustainability graduates in a world where sustainability is simply not optional.”
Thirty per cent of the building material is to be made from recycled material and the building’s features include natural ventilation, grey water recycling and advanced water collection.
The centre will have 4000 sq m of usable floor area across six levels and include multi-purpose lecture facilities with capacity for 200 students and 100 offices.
In 2006, Griffith University led the national adaptation research community by establishing the Climate Change Response Program, focusing specifically on the information needed to help governments, businesses and communities adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.
In 2007, the university won the right to host the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, funded by the Australian Government.
The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre will be located at Nathan, surrounded by Toohey Forest Conservation Park.
The new centre will bring together environmental scientists, engineers, psychologists, urban planners, health, and legal and business experts to develop cross-disciplinary sustainability solutions.