Green Buildings

UC's committment to green buildings on campus is expressed in three different ways;

  • existing green buildings constructed following green building principles
  • remediation of earthquake damaged buildings
  • proposed new buildings, incorporating green building principles

New building projects must use UC's UC Design Guidelines 9 Environmentally Sustainable Design.

This page profiles the sustainability features of existing green buildings on campus, which include;

  • School of Biological Sciences
  • NZi3
  • Health Centre

School of Biological Sciences Building


Research Building:

  • The life span of the building should exceed 100 years.
  • North-West and South-East concrete thermomass walls to minimise annual heating consumption and stabilize temperatures in summer.
  • Double glazing to all exterior windows. Glazing is LowE + argon filled double glazing to minimize heat loss.
  • Exterior solar shading to the North-East facing windows to reduce the direct sunlight entering the building.
  • Chilled beams to the research laboratories. These are energy efficient systems that combine radiant cooling and ventilation. They are cost-effective to install, and they reduce energy usage in a building, while improving comfort levels.
  • Energy efficient light fittings.
  • Optimum levels of wall and roof insulation to minimise annual heating consumption and stabilize temperatures in summer.
  • Using BMS (Building Management System) on various HVAC systems. This can be programmed for optimum start/stop control based on indoor/outdoor temperature to reduce run times and operating cost.
  • Roof future proofed for photovoltaic, which changes sunlight directly into electricity.


  • Motorised operable windows to the lower and higher levels to introduce natural ventilation of the space.
  • Double glazing to all exterior windows. Green coloured double glazing with LowE + argon windows.
  • Insulated and heated concrete floor to reduce residual storage effect.
  • Sealed, honed concrete floor to reduce future maintenance.
  • Exterior solar shading to the North-West facing windows to reduce the direct sunlight entering the building.


  • Using the existing artesian well water to operate the high efficient chiller. This will be connected to various HVAC systems.
  • Rainwater will be harvested from the building's roof and used as a supplement for toilet and urinal flushing.
  • "Smartflush" toilet suites to reduce water use.


  • Recesses throughout the building to accommodate recycling stations.
  • Easing the collection of recycled material through devices such as appropriately placed ramps, lifts and loading bays.
  • Screened exterior recycling stations on both the service yard and proposed covered bicycle stand.
  • Under-bench rubbish containers in the kitchen and tea-making areas that are colour-coded into green waste, paper waste etc. to ease sorting.
  • Good signage to denote the location of the recycling stations throughout the building and information on the protocols regarding their use.

Material Selection

  • Use of acrylic/waterbased paints to surfaces.
  • Use of low formaldehyde emitting MDF to joinery units.
  • Rubber flooring to research laboratories to reduce future maintenance, low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), easy to recycle.
  • Carpet tiles to reduce wastage and allow for continuing partial replacement without the need for full replacement.


  • The laboratories have been designed as group rather than individual spaces which acts as a catalyst for encouraging interaction amongst researchers who previously did not meet owing to the separate natures of the laboratories.
  • The atrium, by its very nature offers, a space readily capable of making linkages with a number of key areas of the School. The various breakout spaces, generous air bridges and vertical circulation routes all provide the opportunity for a wide cross section of the building users to interact with each other.
  • Interpretative and educational features in the atrium explains the sustainability principles of the building.


  • Create public transport connections with paths and signage (to be completed).
  • Provide appropriately designed dedicated cycle and pedestrian routes (to be completed).
  • Create linkages to existing and potential cycle and jogging routes that will enjoy the new landscape features created as part of the project (to be completed).
  • shower facilities for cyclists.

Landscape and Stormwater

  • Work with the Christchurch City Council to continue the Okeover stream enhancement through native planting and the restoration of stream habitats.
  • Reduce/eliminate irrigation requirements by using endemic drought tolerant species.
  • Minimise lawn areas to reduce lawn mowing.
  • Utilised environmentally friendly material in the construction of the hard landscape feature.
  • Reduce stormwater through use of permeable paving and rain gardens (to be completed).
  • Treat stormwater with vegetation swales and sedimentation traps (to be completed).
  • Provide vegetation filtration for grey water (to be completed).
3 Students outside NZi3 FTS full jpeg

NZi3 Building

The New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute (NZi3) is sited on the corner of Creyke Road and Engineering Road. The New Zealand Green Building Council awarded the facility a five-star green rating. The NZi3 building is the first educational building in New Zealand to be awarded such a rating.


  • Natural day lighting is used where possible.
  • Good natural ventilation.
  • The majority of the building is double glazed.
  • External shading is utilised on the on east and west sides.


  • Low water use fittings are used throughout, including sensor controlled taps and urinals with flush controls.
  • An underground rainwater tank provides almost all water for toilet flushing.


  • During construction, as much as 60% of waste building materials was recycled.
  • The building utilises modular construction, with many components made to a standard design and manufactured off-site, to minimise construction waste further.
  • The building design incorporated space for recycling bins and other facilities.

Material selection

  • Certified sustainable timber used in all construction.
  • Minimal use of environmentally harmful material. This includes minimising PVC in flooring and cables, using low-formaldehyde wood products, and using only water-based paints and glues.

Landscape and Stormwater Management

  • Native planting was used in landscaping to minimise the need for irrigation and encourage biodiversity.
  • A number of innovative stormwater management features are included, such as permeable paving in carparks, landscaped drainage swales to collect runoff from carparks and paved areas, and a rain garden to collect any overflow.
Health centre 1 landscape

Health Centre Building

The health centre building is located next to the UCSA Events Centre off Ilam Road.


  • Double glazing to all exterior windows.
  • Opening windows to all external spaces to enable cooling by natural ventilation.
  • Installation of solar control sun shading to North and West facing windows.
  • Sound attenuating louvres between Corridors and Consulting Rooms to enhance ventilation.
  • Insulated concrete floor slab.
  • Optimum levels of insulation ceiling in the roof to minimise annual heating consumption and stabilize temperatures in summer.
  • Use of concrete block walls in the building to stabilize and remove high peak temperatures.
  • Use of energy efficient light fittings throughout.

Material Selection

  • Concrete block as noted before, left unpainted to reduce material use and future maintenance.
  • Victorian Ash timber veneers with waterbased/acrylic coatings. Victorian Ash planting regenerates in a 30-35 year period.
  • Acrylic/waterbased paints to surfaces to minimise use of solvents/oil based paints.
  • Carpet tiles in a random pattern to reduce wastage and allow for continuing partial replacement without the need for full replacement.