The University of Newcastle’s Q Building has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star ‘Design and As Built’ rating, making it the first building in regional NSW to be given the certification.

Given the highest possible rating awarded by Green Star, the $25 million Q Building is the first stage of the University’s new Honeysuckle City Campus. The building will house the university’s School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences (HCISS) and Integrated Innovation Network (I2N). 

“This is a wonderful achievement for our University – it shows our commitment to sustainability, and is evidence we are embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on energy and carbon use, and waste and recycling,” says the University of Newcastle’s Vice Chancellor, Alex Zelinsky. 

“As an institution, we had set out to achieve a new building being 6 Star certified by 2025, so Q Building puts us well in advance of the targets in our Environmental Sustainability Plan. From here on, all new University buildings will be designed and built for 6 Star ‘Design and As Built’ rating, which is a significant step on the road toward the University being carbon neutral by 2025. 

“While we are proud of the building’s world-leading status, many of the initiatives that were central to achieving the 6 Star rating are considered ‘business as usual’ for us.” 

Created in conjunction with Principal Design Consultant EJE Architecture, the building is a mass timber construction and features a concrete core. The remainder of the internal structure has been built with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and is the first multi-storey timber building in the steel city. The timber structure captures carbon, as opposed to producing it.

The eastern, northern and western facades of the building have been glazed with an electro-chromic smart-glass system called Sage Glass, which automatically changes its tint to respond to heat and glare. The 344 Sage Glass panels is recognised as the largest installation in the southern hemisphere. The building has 104 solar panels installed upon its roof and has a rainwater capture volume of 20 kilolitres.

“The University of Newcastle’s Q Building is a brilliant, world-leading example of how Green Star can be applied within the education sector and is testimony to the University’s commitment to sustainability,” says Davina Rooney, CEO of GBCA.

“This is the first certified 6-star Green Star – Design and As Built project in regional NSW and with innovation at its core from the outset, it certainly sets the benchmark for future developments of this kind.”  

Classes at Q Building are due to get underway in just a few short weeks to coincide with the university’s first semester. The rating is an important milestone for Q Building, a funding partnership between the NSW Government, the University and the City of Newcastle’s Hunter Innovation Project and delivered under the NSW Government’s shovel-ready capital project fast-track initiative in 2020. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes says the rating is a testament to the University of Newcastle in leading the city in best-practice sustainable development. 

"City of Newcastle congratulates the University of Newcastle in leading sustainable  construction in our city and delivering a state-of-the-art building that exceeds environmental standards," he says. 

"Our city's Climate Action Plan (2021-2025) sets out a roadmap for achieving emission reduction, to support a future net-zero emission Newcastle. 

"It is great to see another Newcastle institution committed to sustainability and sharing City of Newcastle's vision for being known as a liveable, sustainable, inclusive global city." 

Q Building is expected to be officially opened in June of this year.