Home' Know How : KnowHow Issue 4 Contents 12 KNOWHOW MAGAZINE
The Low Carbon Living CRC’s ambitious goal is to drive Australia’s carbon
emissions down by 10 megatonnes by 2020, Gemma Chilton reports.
THEWAYWE design, build
and manage our urban spaces is
undergoing a transformation that ’s
almost unprecedented in scope. We’re
reimagining our cities and urban precincts
in the face of changing climate, energy and
security issues and a growing appreciation
for sustainability principles. Individuals
and organisations from a broad range of
disciplines will need to play a role.
Dr Deo Prasad, the CEO of the CRC
for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) and
a Professor of Sustainable Development at
the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment,
personifies this multidisciplinary approach.
Originally trained as an architect, Prasad
obtained a master’s degree in science and
program management and completed
a PhD in thermal heat transfer in buildings.
The CRCLCL is a $48 million centre,
announced in November 2011, of which the
Commonwealth contribution is $28 million over
seven years. The centre brings together property
developers, planners, engineers and policy
organisations with Australian researchers
with an overarching aim of reducing carbon
emissions by 10 megatonnes in the next five
years – the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars
off the road each year. The CRCLCL research
will bring about $680 million worth of benefits
to the Australian economy over 15 years.
“Our focus is on enabling Australian
industries and particularly small to medium
enterprises to benefit from the new products,
technologies, tools and systems. We’re
trying to ensure the built environment
sector can capture the benefits from going
low carbon,” says Prasad.
Malay Dave, a PhD candidate at the
CRCLCL and UNSW Australia Built
Environment, is researching sustainable
prefabricated or modular housing, with
an end goal of developing a framework
for “whole-systems design”. This approach
considers the house as an energy system
with interdependent parts, each of which
affects the performance of the entire system.
“ The need for housing that is both
sustainable and affordable is a major issue
globally,” he says. “Prefabrication, or off-site
construction, offers huge opportunities in
delivering environmental sustainability and
economic affordability in buildings.”
Dave has a $95,000 scholarship funded by
the CRC, which offers $30,000 per year stipends
with a total of 88 scholarships available for
the current funding period of seven years.
The CRCLCL is also working in parallel
with the CRC for Polymers (CRC-P) to
coat building cladding materials such as
steel or glass with the next generation of
solar cells – enabling light energy capture
and distribution throughout a building.
Researchers at the CRC-P are in the process
of developing these advanced materials for
the next generation of solar cells for which
the CRCLCL is investigating large-scale
commercial applications (see page 7).
CEO Dr Ian Dagley says the CRC-P
has a philosophy of putting postgraduate
students on the most groundbreaking
projects. “ We want them to be doing
work of high academic interest using
state-of-the-art materials and techniques
so they can publish in high-profile
international journals,” he says. With
two-and-a-half years of funding remaining,
the CRC-P has filled all its 11 postgrad
scholarships to the value of $1,060,000.
Other projects at the CRCLCL include
researching innovative building materials
such as concrete with reduced embodied
carbon. They are also developing tools and
collating data to measure the impact of
urban developments in terms of water,
waste, energy and materials.
The CRCLCL also collaborates with
the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities for
this, “developing design ‘charrettes’ [intense
design workshops] to ensure development
goals for water and carbon aspirations are
well-established,” explains Prasad.
The third main CRCLCL research
program involves community engagement.
“ Technology or design in itself won’t fix the
problem,” says Prasad. “ We need to look at
what resonates with communities – why they
take up certain initiatives and not others.”
“Our focus is on enabling
industries to benefit
from new technologies
– and that the built
environment sector can
capture the benefits
from going low carbon.”
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