The design for a 20-storey, mixed-used building under construction in Adelaide’s CBD has been awarded a 6-Star green rating, making it the most sustainable building in South Australia. 

Uniting Communities’ “U City” development is predicted to use 45 percent less energy and 30 percent less water than a comparable new building, according to the organisation. It will house retirement residences, specialist disability accommodation, commercial and retail space, social services and church services. 

Key sustainable design features include:

  • Embedded electricity network
  • 55 kilowatt solar system 
  • Cross ventilation through living spaces
  • Shading and double glazing to reduce heat load
  • Water-efficient fixtures and fittings
  • Bicycle racks
  • A community bus service 
  • Five electric charging stations

The organisation also completed a lifecycle assessment of all building materials and chose more sustainable materials where possible.

The development has been subject to controversy, having required the demolition of a 1960s contemporary gothic church building – originally awarded provisional heritage status due to the rarity of this form of architecture in South Australia.

maughan-church-11.jpg   Built in 1965, Maughan Church was a rare example of contemporary gothic architecture in South Australia. Image:

maughan-church-27.jpg     The church was demolished in 2016 to make way for U City. Image:

However, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO Romilly Madew has commended the design as exemplary.

“With a design rating of 84.9 out of a possible 100, the U City development represents world leadership in sustainable design and has achieved more Green Star points than any other project in South Australia.”

Uniting Communities is also the first South Australian organisation and the first registered charity in Australia to be officially certified by National Carbon Offset Standard as ‘carbon neutral’.

However, creating a sustainable design for U City is only the first step in its ongoing assessment.

“Following the completion of construction, we will then be assessed on what we’ve delivered as distinct from what we have designed,” says Uniting Communities Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel.

“We know we have a long way to go, but we are committed to ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to sustainability and I’m confident that after this stellar start and recognition, we will continue to deliver.”

The development is expected to be completed by early 2019.