Sustainable building

Sustainable building


Automated Retrieval Collection (ARC)

  • The ARC holds lesser-used Library resources in dense storage that takes up just one seventh the size of typical library shelving.
  • This reduces the physical footprint of the Library. Without the ARC, the Library would need 11,000 sqm extra floor space to hold all our resources.
  • The reduced size of the building also reduces the ecological footprint of the Library. Smaller buildings use far less water, electricity and other consumables.
  • Moving lesser-used items into the ARC has opened up more floor space for people.
  • The ARC is climate controlled for temperature and humidity and this provides optimum conditions for the storage of resources, meaning they will be preserved for longer.
  • The ARC has also allowed the Library to dispense with off-site storage and to have all resources on-site and immediately available, saving on transport costs, energy and emissions.

Green Roof

  • The landscaped grass and plants at the rear of the building are actually part of a green roof that covers the western half of level 2. A smaller green roof is on the roof of level 5.
  • Water is collected from the green roof (an area of over 6700sqm) and is held in a 278,000 litre underground storage tank. It is then used in Library toilets and garden irrigation.
  • Collecting this water reduces stormwater run-off and also reduces the amount of water the Library takes from Sydney's water supply.
  • Drought-resistant native plants have been selected for the green roof. Drip irrigation runs beneath the green roof surface, giving more efficient and effective use of water - and less loss to evaporation.
  • This area also provides valuable green space for informal study and social interaction - not to mention enhancing the campus aesthetic.
Green Roof Library
Library construction

Sustainable Construction

  • Sustainability was a key factor in the Library's construction. 80% of all construction waste was recycled.
  • Concrete production is a big contributor to greenhouse gases, so during construction of the Library recycled concrete and other safe substitutes from industrial waste were used as alternatives to reduce the amount of concrete needed.
  • Raw steel production is very resource and energy intensive, producing heavy metal waste. 45% of steel used in the construction of the Library was created from post-consumer recycled content, thus reducing the environmental impacts from production.
  • Ceiling tiles and water drainage cells also contain post-consumer recycled content, as do the carpet tiles used throughout the building. Having carpet in tiles means that individual tiles can be replaced as necessary, and this will reduce the amount thrown into landfill.
  • Much of the furniture selected for the Library is certified by 'Good Environmental Choice Australia'.


  • Natural light was important in the design of the Library. Artificial lighting can account for 35% of electrical energy use in a building.
  • The building has a glass fa├žade to maximise the amount of natural light, and glazing to filter glare.
  • Two gardened light wells give natural lighting to the lower levels of the building.
  • The external striped 'shade blades' also optimise daylight and assist in heat control.
  • There are automated and manual blinds throughout the building to regulate light.
  • Artificial lighting within the building was designed to detect motion as well as the amount of natural light present, and to switch off when not needed.
Natural light
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