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The University's strategic plan communicates our desire to strengthen our efforts towards sustainability, becoming genuinely world class in how we respond as a tertiary institution.

Sustainability agenda

The University has set out its Sustainability agenda in its Sustainability Strategic Framework: 2017–2021 reflecting our commitment to see sustainability embedded as part of the core ethos at the University of Otago.

Key aspects of that framework which affect the built environment include:

  • Working towards a low carbon future by minimising greenhouse gases, increased use of renewable energy and reduced energy consumption
  • Develop, renovate and maintain University buildings to reflect best practice, cost-effective environmentally sustainable design
  • Maximise the effective use of existing and new space and facilities
  • Asset management based on life cycle cost analysis
  • Maintain University grounds in an environmentally sensitive way
  • Enhance conservation and biodiversity outcomes through the management of our campuses and engagement with the wider community
  • Manage and minimise the output of solid wastes, discharges of liquid wastes and airborne contaminants
  • Operate and maintain University buildings in accordance with sustainable operations and maintenance guidelines

Sustainability in design

Good design will embody good sustainable practices.  All of our projects large and small will consider sustainable design measures as a matter of course.

The University has developed its own Design & Facility Standards document which provides guidance to internal project teams and external design consultants on the desired level of specification across a wide variety of building elements.  Our sustainability agenda has been embedded into these design guidelines ensuring that as a matter of course, we will continue to improve the sustainability performance of our built environment.  In many instances these guidelines go above and beyond current building code as it makes environmental and commercial sense in the long term.

Some of these measures include:

  • Energy & water metering and data gathering for implementation of energy analytics and building continuous tuning for large and/or energy intensive developments
  • Improved thermal performance for building fabric
  • Designing in future flexibility to reduce future change
  • Ensuring space is used most efficiently
  • Sustainable material selection with low VOC
  • Comprehensive building commissioning and initial tuning (including the Soft Landings methodology) for large and/or energy intensive developments
  • Improved air quality requirements and expanded thermal comfort criteria to improve occupant comfort
  • Prioritisation of renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including biomass boilers, artesian source heat pumps, solar water heating, photovoltaic electric generation
  • Providing charging stations for departmental electric vehicles and end of trip facilities for cyclists
  • Using energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems to minimise building life cycle cost
  • Use of water efficient plumbing fixtures
  • Use of generators and battery storage to reduce the peak electrical load of energy intensive buildings
  • Design of external lighting to reduce light pollution
  • Use of refrigerants, insulation and other materials with zero ODP and low GWP

Consultants may request access to the Design and Facility Standards through the Property Services Facility Managers.

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