A sustainable building project at the University of Wollongong (UOW) won top honours at the recent Green Globe Awards, NSW’s premier sustainability awards programme. Desert Rose House won the Built Environment Award as well as the best of the best Regional Sustainability Award across all award categories.

A collaborative effort involving over 200 student volunteers from the University and TAFE NSW, Desert Rose House was designed and built as Australia’s first net zero energy home that met the needs of the aging segment as well as people living with dementia.

The award-winning building generates more electricity than it uses, minimises water consumption, and supports independent living.

Lead academic on the project and Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering Head of School professor Tim McCarthy says, “Being awarded the Green Globe Award 2019 for Sustainability in the Built Environment recognises how, through the Desert Rose House project, UOW is training the next generation to the highest standards of sustainability.

“Receiving the Regional Sustainability Green Globe award across all categories demonstrates the breadth of Team UOW’s approach to designing and building a net zero energy house with social purpose – catering for our aging population and especially people living with dementia.” 

Desert Rose House went up against industry heavyweights such as Lendlease with Barangaroo South – Australia’s first carbon-neutral precinct, City of Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre, which minimises car dependence, emissions and water consumption, Local Government Super, which has achieved the nation’s first carbon-neutral property portfolio, and Wollongong City Council, which has the oldest building in Australia with a six-star Green Star rating.

The house is being rebuilt at UOW's Innovation Campus and will be back in operation in early 2020.