Sustainable Learning Centre, Tasmania

The Sustainability Learning Centre (SLC) is a unique partnership between the Tasmanian Department of Education, the Catholic Education Office, the Association of Independent Schools of Tasmania, Greening Australia (Tas) and CSIRO Education. The partnership combines a number of disciplines to provide a unique educational experience focussing on science, biodiversity and sustainability. Project funding came from the Local Schools Working Together pilot program of the Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations.

Project Details

Morrison & Breytenbach

Commendation Category 5 - An Education Initiative or a Design Solution for an Innovative Program

50 Olinda Grove Mt Nelson, Tasmania 7007 Australia

Tasmanian Department of Education and Morrison & Breytenbach


Ray Joyce

Project Overview

The Sustainability Learning Centre is an energy efficient contemporary facility integrating inspiring architecture and exemplary sustainable design.

With a comparative carbon footprint of only 1% of an equivalent building, the SLC embodies its environmental goals. As a hands-on educational tool it demonstrates, monitors and disseminates data using smart building technology.

The design language expresses sustainable principles by using recycled materials and revealing the principles and technology that have been incorporated. The unique expression that has been achieved signals the building’s intent.

The design is attuned to the surrounding bio-diverse bush-land setting and incorporates a spectacular view of Mount Wellington to create a distinctive sense of place. This sense is reinforced by an imposing entrance foyer, high volumes, and naturally-lit interiors with strong visual connections to the exterior.

The flexible learning areas meet the diverse requirements for community and school programs. These open onto courtyards for outdoor learning and will lead on to the planned biodiversity gardens.

The highest level of Green Building Council of Australia accreditation is anticipated. Aiming for this 6 star GreenStar as-built rating with a limited budget demanded innovation. A new approach to recycling, heating fueled by recycled cooking oil, cooling using night sky temperatures, and the almost total avoidance of concrete are some of the innovative but simple sustainable technologies.

Juries Comments

"There were a limited number of entries in this category.

The judges were looking for an entry that represented an innovation having the potential to extend its influence well beyond those who immediately benefited from it. The jury decided not to nominate a winner for this category as no submission was able to demonstrate a degree of innovation that had the widespread applicability worthy of such an award. 

Two entries were considered worthy of commendation - one was the Sustainability Learning Centre at Mount Nelson in Tasmania.

This "Local Schools Working Together" project was notable for the manner in which the government, Catholic and independent sectors joined together with CSIRO and Greening Australia to develop an education and administration facility that exemplifies its educational aim in every part of its design and execution.

Starting with the fact that 98% of the building fabric is from recycled materials, the building has been assessed as being carbon negative with a carbon footprint of 1% of an equivalent conventional building.

Congratulations to Morrison and Breytenbach Architects and the Tasmanian Department of Education."


This page last updated: Friday 31 May 2013