The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) conducts research and partners with industry to meet the challenge of improving the performance of our current and new buildings. SBRC is focused on making buildings more livable, more sustainable, more cost-effective and kinder to our environment.

A holistic approach to sustainable buildings

Buildings have major economic, environmental and social impacts on our community and the planet. Between a quarter and a half of all greenhouse emissions result from our use of buildings.

Our vision

To be the go to built environment and energy institute for a restorative future.

Our mission

Enabling every Australian to live comfortably, sustainably and well through pioneering research.

Our value proposition

Our built environment and energy research creates cradle to cradle, net zero & restorative products and services to create a more sustainable society.

Our supporters

The development of the SBRC has been made possible through generous grants from the Australian Commonwealth Government under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) and NSW Trade & Investment under the Science Leveraging Fund (SLF).

The SBRC has engaged in two accreditation processes to inspire the design and construction of the facility. These accreditations drive innovation and seek to achieve sustainability in all aspects of the project.


1st in Australia to achieve Living Building Challenge certification, the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings.

International Living Future Institute

6 stars

SBRC is the first building in the Illawarra to hold 6 Green Stars for the sustainable design, construction and operation.

Green Building Council Australia

Green Star

The Green Star rating system is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings and communities. Green Star rating tools are available for a range of project types, including offices, schools, hospitals, retail centres, industrial facilities and multi-unit residential properties.

The SBRC has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 certified rating from the Green Building Council of Australia which represents  'World Leadership' in environmentally sustainable building practices.


Living Building Challenge

The first certified Living Building in Australia under the International Living Building Challenge™ Program

The Living Building Challenge is an international standard of sustainability encompassing all aspects of a building project. The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre was designed and built to meet this high standard and began the 12-month audit process in January 2015 to achieve this certification. After successful completion, the SBRC became the first building in Australia to become certified.


The Living Building Challenge Petals

Net Zero Energy

  • 160kW onsite photovoltaic renewable energy system
  • 168 Solar Panels

Net Zero Water

  • Onsite rainwater harvesting and treatment system
  • 65000L water tank to sustain 30 days of operations
  • 168 Solar Panels

Endorsing products and processes that are safe for all species through time 

  • Environmentally safe materials
  • Locally-sourced materials
  • Reused materials

Maximising physical and psychological health and wellbeing

  • Natural ventilation used wherever possible 
  • Excellent natural daylighting 

Restoring a healthy coexistence with nature 

  • Green roof and green wall
  • Wider landscape requires minimal irrigation
  • Native urban species and urban agriculture

Celebrating design that creates transformative change

  • Multi-award-winning design features for human delight and inspiration
  • Connection to the landscape

Supporting a just equitable world 

  • User-friendly facility for occupants and visitors
  • Exhibition space open to the public
  • Gardens and external signage available to all
  • Annual public open day


  • Green Gown International 2020: Highly Commended for Student Engagement

  • UOW VC Awards 2020: Workplace Health & Safety Award (Clayton McDowell)

  • Australian Engineering Excellence Award NSW 2020 (AEEA)

  • Team UOW: Australian Institute of Building NSW Professional Excellence Award for Residential Construction Under $1 Million, Australian Institute of Building 


  • Solar Decathlon: Silver medal for the overall competition, first in Innovation, Comfort Conditions, and Interior Design, second in Energy Efficiency, Building Integrated Photovoltaics, and Creative Solutions, and third in Sustainability, and House Functioning


  • NSW Green Globes 2019:
    • Regional Sustainability award
    • Built Environment award


  • The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) 2019:
    • Excellence in HVAC&R Research award
    • Student of the Year Higher Education or Research awards for 2018 (Clayton McDowell)
    • Student of the Year Higher Education or Research awards for 2019 (Brendan Banfield)


  • Australian Institute of Building (AIB) 2019:
    • Building Professional of the Year award (Clayton McDowell)
    • National Professional Excellence Award for Residential Construction under $1 million (Clayton McDowell)
    • NSW Professional Excellence Award for Residential Construction under $1 million (Clayton McDowell)


  • Green Gown Australasia 2019: Award for Student Engagement


  • ACTS 2019: Award of Excellence Student (Clayton McDowell)


  • SafeWork NSW 2019: Highly Commended for Leadership in workplace health and safety culture large business

  • Massimo Fiorentini: Future Leader, AIRAH 2018
  • Clayton McDowell: Student of the Year – Higher Education and Research, AIRAH 2018
  • Team UOW Australia-Dubai: Second Place Overall Winner, Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018


  • Federico Tartarini: Student of the Year – Higher Education and Research, AIRAH 2017

Interest: Sustainable Buildings Research Centre

  • Vice-chancellor's Interdisciplinary Research Excellence Award Highly Commended, University of Wollongong
  • Best presentation by an AAG member at the 15th national conference of emerging researchers in ageing, Australian National University

Interest: Sustainable Buildings Research Centre

  • NSW Australian Institute of Architects Awards ‘Sustainable Architecture’ category, Australian Institute of Architects (Submitted by: SBRC & Cox)
  • Green Building Council, Educational Building - 6 Star Green Star, Green Building Council

Interest: Sustainable Buildings Research Centre

  • 2013 International Winner for Student Initiative, UOW, Green Gown International
  • Excellence in Property Opteon Property Group Award, awarded to Team UOW for the Illawarra Flame House, Australian Property Institute NSW
  • Presidents Award, Team UOW 'Illawarra Flame' Solar Decathlon Home, Sydney Engineering Excellence Awards

Interest: Sustainable Buildings Research Centre

  • Helen Barlett Prize for Innovation in Ageing Research, Excellence in Research for Australia

Interest: Solar Decathlon

  • 2013 Winner for Student Initiative, UOW, Green Gown Australia
  • AIRAH Student of the Year, AIRAH
  • Denis Joseph Award for Innovative Use of Solar Energy in HVAC&R, Team UOW/BlueScope - Solar Assisted HVAC System, SBRC, UOW, AIRAH
  • Wollongong Lord Mayors Special Award, Team UOW Solar Decathlon China 2013, Wollongong City Council Australia Day Awards
  • First Place Overall Winner, Solar Decathlon China 2013