University Buildings: The Push and Pull for Sustainability

  • Matthew FrancisEmail author
  • Trivess Moore
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


Universities are a key stakeholder in our built environment with buildings in many major cities around Australia and the world. Due to their primarily urban locations, size and number of staff and students, universities and their activities are a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly universities both in Australia and globally are looking for ways to improve their sustainability outcomes. This recognizes that higher education institutions can do more to help in the transition to a low-carbon future, but also that by adopting sustainability initiatives, universities help reduce operating costs and facilitate healthier and more productive staff and students. This chapter explores the role of universities and their sustainability initiatives including their challenges of servicing complex stakeholders in a transition to a low-carbon future. After discussing relevant policies and rating tools, five key examples that go significantly beyond minimum performance requirements from prominent Australian universities are presented. Evident from the examples is that there continues to be no one-size-fits-all approach for universities to become more sustainable. It will require complex considerations of the requirements of the university anticipated future needs as well as a wide-ranging evaluation of the most appropriate pathways forward. Ultimately, it is encouraging to see key universities engaging more seriously with improving sustainability outcomes, not only in Australia but also globally. Universities have the opportunity to not just improve sustainability of their facilities, but to also demonstrate to their hundreds of thousands of students and staff how the built environment can be designed to benefit both the environment and the occupants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Building Innovation Laboratory, School of Property Construction and Project ManagementRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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