Environment & Energy

UOW sustainable building project wins Green Gown Awards

Desert Rose House trophy cabinet fills up.

The University of Wollongong recently won two blue ribbons at the Green Gown Awards, the first and only award scheme dedicated to recognising excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in Australasia.

On Thursday night, the Desert Rose House project won the 2019 student engagement award, and team leader Clayton McDowell won the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Award of Excellence for a Student award.

The Student Engagement Award automatically qualifies UOW for the International Green Gown Award for Student Engagement which will be announced in 2020.

Mr McDowell was honoured even to be nominated for the awards.

“Team UOW is dedicated to creating an innovative and sustainable future that celebrates life,” he said.

“To have our students, researchers and collaborators recognised for their outstanding contribution to this mission is exceptional.”

Clayton McDowell

The Awards have been firmly established as the most prestigious recognition of sustainability best practice within the tertiary education sector. They continue to recognise institutions, large and small, and reward their sustainability actions and initiatives.

Mr McDowell is a PhD candidate at UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre who inspired about 200 students, 30 staff and 86 industry partners to come together and think of a cause bigger than themselves.

His research into energy efficiency retrofitting of homes of low income elderly people in the Illawarra stirred him to form Team UOW, with the purpose of proving to the world that it is possible to create sustainable net-zero energy homes that also improve the quality of life of people living with aged related disabilities such as dementia.

As Project Manager and student leader he guided the team through the design, construction and operation of the Desert Rose House, ultimately achieving the silver medal in the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 competition and eight other awards.

Thursday was an outstanding night for the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, where Founding Director Professor Paul Cooper was also awarded the James Harrison Medal for helping to improve living and working environments.

Story by Bec Fist – UOW Media Unit

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