Townsville school receives 6 green star rating

St Benedict’s Catholic School, Shaw is proof that showcasing world-class sustainability is possible, no matter the size or scale of a project.

It may be Townsville’s newest school, opening in 2018, but it is now also known as Australia’s greenest school. The school embraces sustainable practices for the natural and built environments, nurturing a love for creation and stewardship.

St Benedict’s Catholic School and Townsville Catholic Education were aiming for a Green Star rating of 5, however the school has been awarded a 6 Green star rating- the highest certification offered by the Green Building Council Australia.

A Green Star is Australia’s trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings, fit-outs and communities. The Green Star performance assess the buildings operations against nine sustainability categories including; management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, emissions, innovation and land use and ecology.

With just over 160 students enrolled, St Benedict’s is a small school with big ideas on how Green Star can be used to solve the environmental and social sustainability issues.

The Kindergarten to Year 6 school demonstrates global leadership in sustainability. With a project team committed to improving building performance and efficiency, as well as student comfort and engagements, St Benedict’s sets a high standard for other campuses considering Green Star as a sustainability solution.

Key innovation and design features that contributed towards its Green Star rating include:
 Energy efficiency measures
 Consideration of low maintenance costs with low impact on the environment
 Indoor air quality
 Sound ambience (wall insulation and autex tiles)
 Water management (bore, rainwater and potable water)
 Graduated lighting
 Variable air conditioning

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Ross Horner, Director of School Development Services for Townsville Catholic Education says that despite challenges in funding the Green Star rating, the outcome has exceeded expectations for the project team.

“There were roadblocks with being able to find ways to fund the additional upfront costs to secure a Green Star – capital funding agencies are not prepared to fund the extra over initial costs,” explains Ross.

“However, being able to implement teaching and learning in flexible learning spaces that really support best practice, such as sound ambience, adjustable lighting and air-conditioning means that students are more engaged than ever and can learn in an environment that helps them thrive.”

Despite achieving a 6 Star Green Star rating, the sustainability journey doesn’t end here for the project team behind St Benedict’s transformation.

“Already, our staff are looking at the points allocation and discussing ways they could improve in areas where there are additional points available,” says Ross.

“Everyone involved in the first stage of the project, including trade contractors, feel very passionate about sustainability innovation and design, especially in relation to Green Star.”

St Benedict’s Catholic School received a final score of 76 out of 100 possible Green Star points.

Source: Townsville Catholic Education Office media release


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