Sky-high eco living in South Australia

Sky-high eco living in South Australia

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Render of the 20-storey U City mixed-use tower in Adelaide CBD.

Render of the 20-storey U City mixed-use tower in Adelaide CBD.

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A 20-storey vertical retirement village in Adelaide will be South Australia's 'greenest' building when completed.

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A 20-storey vertical retirement village in Adelaide will be South Australia's 'greenest' building when completed.

Uniting Communities' U City development, currently under construction in the CBD, has been given a six-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

It is predicted the $100 million development, on the corner of Franklin and Pitt Streets, will use 45 per cent less energy and 30 per cent less water than a comparable new building.

Designed by global architecture firm Woods Bagot, the U City Tower will house 41 retirement living apartments, specialist disability housing and short term respite apartments.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said the design was exemplary.

"With a design rating of 84.9 out of a possible 100 the U City development represents world leadership in sustainable design and has achieved more Green Star points than any other project in South Australia," Madew said.

Some of the key environmentally friendly features include an embedded electricity network, a 55 kilowatt solar photo-voltaic set-up on the roof providing renewable energy and gas-boosted solar hot water.

There is also natural cross-ventilation throughout all living spaces, double glazing and shading features on the façade to reduce the heat load.

U City will have water efficient fixtures and fittings throughout, bicycle racks, a community bus and five electric car charging stations.

Uniting Communities also undertook full lifecycle assessments of all building materials as part of the design ethos, choosing environmentally conscious products where possible.

Uniting Communities chief executive Simon Schrapel said the design process "has not been without its challenges" and conceded the assessment of the building was ongoing.

"We know we have a long way to go, but we are committed to 'walking the talk' when it comes to sustainability and I'm confident that after this stellar start and recognition we will continue to deliver."

State minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter said the rating goes "way beyond" Uniting Communities simply providing affordable power and water for occupants.

"We hope U City will now be a great example for others to follow," Mr Hunter added.

Launched by the GBCA in 2003, Green Star is Australia's national voluntary rating system for buildings and communities.

The U City development is being built on the site of the now demolished neo-Gothic Maughan Church. It is scheduled for completion in early 2019.

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