Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property


Macquarie University is committed to incorporating sustainability into its actions and practices as part of its responsibility to the community and the environment, as well as promoting a healthy workplace and campus for staff and students. This means promoting connections to the global community and environment through knowledge gained from research, utilising creative approaches to learning and teaching and modelling sustainability in its campus operations. The University takes the approach that sustainability is an ongoing effort to improve the quality of people's lives and surroundings. This approach is targeted towards ensuring prosperity, whilst maintaining the life supporting systems that current and future generations depend on.

Sustainability aims for a balance between the principles of:

  • Environmental protection
  • Social justice
  • Economic well-being,
  • Diversity.

Please refer to the Sustainability Policy for more information.

The University will promote and embed sustainability practices across the institution through:

* Demonstrating best practice: The University will integrate sustainability into all its aspects and functions. It will be embedded into all operational policies and procedures; considered in all strategic and operational planning; and enabled through sustainable practices. Research into sustainability best practice in the higher education sector and other sectors of the economy will also be undertaken to ensure the University maintains best practice where possible.

* Shared responsibility: All members of the University community are responsible for our sustainability performance and as such will be made aware of their role through induction, professional development, the provision of necessary educational and material resources and ongoing training and awareness. Sustainability will form an important part of key performance indicators as a matter of process over time.

Global social and community awareness: The University recognises connections to the local and global community and acknowledges that its actions and decisions have the ability to affect others beyond the immediate community. To this end sustainability will be incorporated into research as well as learning and teaching, and our reach to the local and global community will be extended through active partnerships and participation.

* Participation: Staff, student and community participation in decision-making about the University's activities is valued and will be sought whenever possible in the development and implementation of the University's sustainability agenda. A range of mechanisms will be established for this purpose inclusive of joint working parties and local sustainability committees.

* Leadership: Educational, research and resource management activities will be utilised to profile sustainable practices amongst staff, students and the communities served by Macquarie University.

* Openness and transparency: Actions and processes will be transparent, and progress against identified indicators and targets will be discussed with staff, students and the wider community on a regular basis. These reports will be made publicly available.

* Precautionary principle: Caution and prudence will guide decisions and the absence of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing measures in the context of uncertain environmental or social effects.

* Innovation and creativity: Creative and innovative approaches will be employed to find solutions to and eliminate unsustainable practices.

* Self-sufficiency: Where possible, the University will utilise resources generated on campus, with residual needs met using a sustainable procurement policy.

* Whole systems approach: A whole-systems approach will be implemented to create successful change towards sustainability.

Whole of Life


Facilities should support the University's values and align with the University's vision for learning, research, innovation, collaborative partnerships, community and sustainability.

Educational facilities should be pedagogically driven and designed so as to create spaces that focus on increasing student learning experiences supported by appropriate technology.  Consequently, Macquarie University envisions the implementation of flexible and innovative learning techniques supported by appropriate settings and learning environments.

The overall objective is to develop a design solution that satisfies all the requirements and objectives of the project brief and is aesthetically acceptable, functional, environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient.

Building design should be also be adaptable so as to allow for maximum flexibility for various uses and minimise future costs of reconfiguration.

Value for money

Value for Money is defined as a utility derived from every purchase or every sum of money spent. Value for Money is based not only on the minimum purchase price, but also on the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the purchase.

In simple terms, Value for Money is the difference between the total benefit derived from a product (or a service) against its total cost, when assessed over the period the product is to be utilised.

Benefits, costs and risks include money and non-monetary factors.  While most non-monetary factors can be translated into money equivalent amounts, others cannot be easily translated.  These factors still remain relevant to the assessment of Value for Money.

Achieving value for money does not always means that the 'highest quality' good or service is selected. A lower initial cost option, which still meets the quality requirements, may be appropriate where DEC has limited funds available for a particular project.  Value for Money is achieved when the 'right type" of procurement solution is selected to meet the identified need.

Value for Money considerations include:

  • Capital (upfront) costs and risks – less expensive solutions may be available but what are the risks associated with the solution?
  • Fit-for-purpose benefits & costs – Is an alternative fit for the purpose intended and with what compromises (future flexibility) and at what costs?
  • Ongoing costs and risks – costs of operation & maintenance.  Implications when fitness for purpose is reduced.

In summary, Value for Money is imperative within the Whole of Life consideration.

General Design Considerations

It is imperative to ensure that all facilities constructed incorporate sustainability, life cycle costs and maintainability in their design.

Design and installations must embrace and make adequate provisions for:

  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Removal and replacement of plant equipment
  • Durability
  • Energy and water minimisation and conservation
  • Access for people with disabilities
  • Flexibility of use/re-use

Designs which opt for minimising capital cost at the expense of on-going maintenance, energy and operating costs will be rejected by MU Facilities. Such design will be rectified at the expense of the Consultant or Contractor as the case may be.

Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)


Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) is defined in Australia as;

Using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased.

ESD principles are to be applied in the design, development and operation of all assets, and are an important contribution to developing a considered whole of life cost development approach.

ESD principles include:

  • Ensure the preservation, maintenance and sustainable use of the community's natural and material assets.
  • Protect and support biological and ecological diversity
  • Restrict the flow of pollutants into our natural environment.
  • Assess project and purchasing impacts on the natural environment during all project phases and adopt a precautionary approach where risk is high.
  • Eliminate unnecessary waste by better planning and more efficient use of natural and manufactured resources. This approach is often referred to as a Whole of Life approach to building.

Sustainability Targets

These design guidelines incorporate a number of sustainable building design principles as well as providing details of the Sustainability Targets for developments which are:

Design Targets

  • A net increase in quality and connectivity of on-campus biodiversity assets ie. Healthy bushland and waterways.
  • A 5 star or better Green Star rating for commercial buildings on campus.
  • A Minimum benchmarked 4 star Green Star rating for all new educational buildings on campus.
  • Flexibility of the built environment – physically and socially adaptable to changing needs.

Operational Targets

  • Min Star NABERS energy and water rating targets for commercial buildings on campus.
  • Minimum 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions intensity per square metre of gross floor area through on-site initiatives (from 2009 baseline)
  • Closed loop waste cycle – 90% waste diversion from landfill by 2020.
  • Reduce Potable water consumption per equivalent full time person (EFTP) by 40% of 2007 figures.

Community Targets

  • Continue to embed spaces which encourage collaboration in building design
  • Promote industry sustainability leadership, and develop partnerships with corporate and community groups to enhance sustainability outcomes.
  • Promote research opportunities and enhance formal and informal learning and teaching outcomes.

Specific Project Design Requirements

Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

  • All projects that may impact the sensitive environmental areas on Campus including the creeks and sportsfields,will require the preparation of an appropriate site-specific Environmental Management Plan (EMP) prior to the commencement of the relevant site works.

Green Building Design and Green Star

  • The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is an independent body whose key objective is to promote the integration and advancement of sustainable building technologies and design practices into the mainstream building design processes.
  • It is expected that the policies set out within this design guide will lead to a Green Star - Design & As Built 4 Star rating.
  • University requires that any new buildings on an existing or new site will be able to achieve a minimum 4 Star Green Star rating.

Environmental Design Features of Education Facilities

A major objective in the design of facilities is to achieve good indoor environmental quality comfort conditions with minimum energy and water consumption.

Passive Design principles should be employed wherever possible to achieve this.  The following design solutions are to be considered:

Natural Lighting

Natural daylight improves the indoor environmental quality of spaces and encourages improved productivity.

  • Natural daylight is to be provided to all learning and work spaces unless identified otherwise.
  • Natural daylight can be provided via, windows, skylights, roof lights and the like.
  • Include daylight sensors to rooms to reduce light output or turn off lights when sufficient daylight is provided within the space.
  • When the space is large it is recommended that the perimeter lighting is on a separate zone to make maximum use of daylight.

Building Insulation

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) sets out the insulation requirements for buildings based on the local conditions and are to be applied to all facilities. Macquarie University Campus is located within Zone 5 as listed within the Building Code of Australia.

The Key Purpose of insulation is to

  • In summer: keep heat out to provide cooler, more comfortable spaces.
  • In winter: keep warmth in to reduce heating energy consumption.

Natural Ventilation

Natural Ventilation is a desirable option to maintain good indoor environment quality through all areas.

Cross Ventilation Is a desirable means of achieving good air movement and comfort conditions in all habitable rooms.  Maximise cross ventilation wherever possible.


External shading of all windows is recommended to reduce heat building within internal spaces as well as reducing internal glare from direct sunlight, to improve indoor environment quality.

Water Conservation

Water conservation is an important part of improving the environment and reducing ongoing operational costs.

Practical water conservation systems to be incorporated into facilities include:

  • Compliance with Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS).
  • Use Water efficient tapware. Tapware to have a minimum WELS rating of 4.
  • Internal Flow Controllers can be used to minimise water usage and wastage.
  • Dual Flushing Cisterns with a minimum WELS rating of 3, to be used to reduce water usage and minimise waste.
  • Manual flushing urinals (or low flow or waterless type as options).
  • Roof water harvesting and tank storage for landscape irrigation and flushing of toilets.
  • prioritise the installation of automated control systems and appropriate sub-metering during any new builds or refurbishments undertaken

Lighting & power

The most effective and efficient lighting equipment should be included in facilities wherever possible.

A Whole of life analysis is to be undertaken in the process of determining the most appropriate lighting type & fixtures and should include consideration of:

  • Lighting efficiencies, maximum output power for energy input.
  • Servicing and maintenance, including removal and replacement
  • Robustness and Durability
  • Energy minimisation and conservation
  • Access for people with disabilities
  • Flexibility of use/re-use

Photovoltaic Arrays and Renewable Energy

Buildings should include photovoltaic installations and renewable energy solutions wherever it is economical to do so.

Mechanical Ventilation

The most effective and efficient ventilation equipment and systems should be included in facilities wherever possible.

A Whole of life analysis is to be undertaken in the process of determining the most appropriate system and equipment, and should include consideration of:

  • Operational efficiencies, maximum output power for energy input.
  • Servicing and maintenance, including removal and replacement
  • Robustness and Durability
  • Energy minimisation and conservation
  • Flexibility of use/re-use

Energy Conservation

In the selection and design of any equipment of systems design, the potential use of energy is to be an important consideration in the whole of life assessment with a focus on providing a completed system that is the most efficient and requiring the least operational energy usage and cost without detrimental impacts on the performance or maintenance of the system.