Monash University has opened a highly sustainable residential accommodation complex on its Peninsula campus.

Designed to accommodate 150 students in modern, high quality and sustainable living spaces, the building is expected to be over three times more energy efficient than existing residential halls and comes with several green credentials.

The complex is set to become the first large scale building in the country to achieve Passive House certification. Featuring a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the building sets a new benchmark for sustainable design and construction.

Additionally, the complex is 100 percent renewable powered thanks to the installed rooftop solar panels as well as through Monash’s power purchase agreement (PPA) with Murra Warra wind farm.

Professor David Copolov, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Major Campuses and Student Engagement), said: “Monash is redefining a university’s role in creating a sustainable future and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a blueprint to attaining a better and more sustainable future for us all.”

Named after Monash alumnus and prominent Australian political satirist, actor and director Dr Max Gillies, Gillies Hall is designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, with engineers AECOM and contractor Multiplex also part of the execution team.

The use of CLT is expected to have halved the carbon emissions associated with construction relative to a concrete structure and will remain as a carbon store for the life of the building.

In addition to rainwater harvesting and water sensitive urban design, the project also includes a landscaped dry-creek bed created to provide additional opportunities for recreation, manage stormwater flows during high rain events, and connect into the natural waterways of the campus.

Emphasising the appropriateness of naming the new residences after one of Monash’s favourite alumni, president and vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner says, “Naming the Peninsula campus’ new student residences after Dr Gillies is a great way to acknowledge his connections to the region, his close association with Monash University, and to recognise the first students at the Peninsula campus.”

Professor Copolov says the new accommodation will have long-lasting benefits for the University and the broader community.

“As well as providing an outstanding quality of accommodation to its residents, Gillies Hall will be a crucial element of Monash’s expanding role in the region. Its construction is emblematic of the emphasis we are placing on the campus contributing in a major way to the University’s development plans.

“In particular, Gillies Hall is one of the key components that underpin our goal to establish Peninsula campus as Australia’s leading centre of allied health and primary care education and research, and more broadly of Monash enhancing its status as a university of choice of domestic and international students.”