Skip to main content

Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC), University of Wollongong

The first Australian building to achieve Living Building Challenge certification and a living laboratory for sustainability.
Freshly planted trees in front of precinct


Wollongong, Australia


University of Wollongong


Cox Architecture

The University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) is designed to be a living laboratory. The project comprises a 900m2 testing facility and a two-storey office and training wing for researchers, industry collaborators and administrative staff. The SBRC is a showcase for energy-efficiency, operates entirely on renewable energy generated on-site, avoided toxic chemicals in construction and uses no mains water for non-potable water uses.

Our team formulated the strategy for achieving both the target 6 Star Green Star Design rating and Living Building Challenge certification. In addition to modelling for energy, peak demand, water and thermal comfort, we provided advice on addressing key LBC criteria including materiality, local sourcing and eliminating the 14 most common toxic chemicals – the LBC Red List – found in many building products.

"The SBRC is an example of holistic sustainable design which I have yet to see replicated in Australia. It addressed key issues of carbon, climate, water, materials, nature, food production and people, in a robust manner, for the building, through careful design and responsible procurement, and the wider industry, through advocacy and as a research facility for sustainable building technologies." Hannah Morton, Associate Director.

Key fact

The testing facility is fully naturally ventilated. It is primarily constructed from re-used bricks that have been locally sourced and heavily insulated to achieve thermal comfort.


Key fact

All construction embodied energy has been offset using a carbon fund.


Key fact

This fossil-fuel free building generates 100% of its operational energy using a range of photovoltaic technologies, supported by ground source heat pumps to minimise air conditioning loads.


Hannah wearing suit standing in front of a plant

Hannah Morton

Associate Director, Sustainability

View bio

The Living Building Challenge requires evidence that net-zero goals are operationally achieved: it's the ultimate test for engineering design.



Living Building

Living Future Projects and Hero Awards


Sustainable Architecture, Milo Dunphy Award

NSW Architecture Awards


Educational Architecture

NSW Architecture Awards