The University of Wollongong is officially home to Australian's most sustainable building, after an Innovation Campus centre received full marks under the world's toughest green standard for buildings.
The Sustainable Building Research Centre is the country's only "living certified" building, and one of just 24 worldwide which measures up to standards set by the US-based International Living Future Institute.
Centre director Paul Cooper said the building was designed to not only be sustainable, but "restorative", to address some of the environmental damage that has been done in the past.
It includes green walls, 468 solar panels to support net zero energy, a rainwater system to enable net zero water performance, and use of environmentally safe and reused building materials.
"From day one, I said to the design team that we wanted to create a building that went way beyond the current benchmark for sustainable buildings," Professor Cooper said.
"We believe society as a whole needs to do much better than that."
The International Living Future Institute uses a framework of "petals" to certify buildings.
To earn the full seven "petals" the UOW building was tested against performance standards covering energy use, site utilisation, health and happiness, equity, beauty, water and materials used.
"We had to track every single item and material that came into the building as part of construction," Professor Cooper said.
"No 'red list' materials - formaldehyde, chromium, mercury, PVC, for example - are allowed during the building process.
"None of the materials or pieces of equipment or building elements are allowed to have red list materials unless an exemption has been given.
"There were also sourcing restrictions on the building materials, for example steel and concrete could be sourced from no more than 500km away, to limit 'embodied' carbon emissions and environmental impact due to transport of the construction materials to site."