Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has officially opened the Tyree Energy Technologies Building, UNSW's new home for energy research.

Mr Combet, who has a degree in mining engineering from UNSW, said the research and learning that will happen inside the Tyree building will make a huge contribution to meeting the challenges of reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency.

“People are starting to think much more about how we can use energy far more efficiently and this building is not only an example of some of the contemporary thinking, but will also be a great place for collaborative efforts in this field for many years to come,” he told more than 100 leaders in the energy field who came to the opening ceremony.

Named after industrialist, engineer and philanthropist Sir William Tyree, the building will be the centre of cross-faculty research and studies of energy technologies including ground breaking photovoltaic panels, sustainable clean fuels, smart grids, energy storage as well as energy economics and policy analysis.

The building was awarded a 6 Green Star rating  – making it one of the world leaders in environmentally sustainable building practices including a gas-fired tri-generation plant for power, heating and air conditioning, a roof-mounted solar panel array using UNSW photovoltaic cell technology and green steel using recycled materials.

Sir William said the building had gone way beyond what he had originally envisaged.

“It is the most outstanding building on all university campuses I have seen around Australia and it contains many innovations developed here at UNSW. It will go a long way to building up our standards in engineering in this country.

“But it is what goes on inside a building that is important. Here we have a showcase building as well as state of the art facilities. It’s an honour for me to be part of the innovation that will go on here.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer said the building was completed on time and on budget. “UNSW has by far the biggest and best engineering faculty in Australia. This is a big building for big research.”

Located at the Anzac Parade entrance to UNSW, the Tyree building is home to energy research across all faculties of UNSW. It houses the University’s Australian Energy Research Institute (AERI), School of Photovoltaics  and Renewable Energy Engineering, Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets, School of Petroleum Engineering, the new Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence and the ARC Centre for Functional Nanomaterials.

The $125 million building was financed through the Commonwealth government’s Education Investment Fund ($75 million); Sir William Tyree donated $1 million and pledged another $10 million; the rest was met by UNSW.

Media contact: Frank Walker, UNSW Media Office | 0417 090 346