REFLECTIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY: CAPITALISING ON STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT FOR OPTIMISING OUTCOMES
Universities are under pressure to ‘walk the talk’ in relation to sustainability. They are expected to not just teach students about sustainable built environments, but to also put this into practice for university assets. This paper presents the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned from the process of building a best practice green building at an Australian university.
The aim for the building was to develop a 5 Star Green Star design outcome, reflecting Australian best practice outcomes. A case study approach was used with stakeholders interviewed to understand if sustainability outcomes were considered to be front and centre of the project brief and to what extent these were realized two years post-occupancy. A total of 17 stakeholders were interviewed, in addition to post occupancy evaluations undertaken using a Building User Satisfaction (BUS) survey targeting building occupants. There were a number of challenges encountered, and the project and wider stakeholder user groups dealt with these in their stride. A number of formal and informal learning from the project have already been identified, which the stakeholders have implemented in other projects both within and outside the university. A key finding was that engagement with the various user groups occupying the building was critical to high levels of satisfaction post occupancy. For the building community, this level of engagement is not always possible, particularly for speculative developments.