Adapting building designs for climate change is about managing the unavoidable. While there is debate around what level of adaptation is needed, there is growing awareness that design practices need to take into account predictions of increased risk and intensity of extreme events. This paper examines potential climate change effects on buildings, highlights the potential for capacity building through education, and presents examples of adaptive strategies for building design.
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
A rapid review on green-rated office buildings, and their operational energy use, found that the conclusions of six studies ranged from the certified buildings performing worse, similarly or much better than the non-certified buildings in terms of energy usage intensity. Two...Read more
In response to feedback, high-income households can reduce their energy use to a larger degree than low-income households (17% vs 3% reduction). This and other insights were gained by two rapid reviews into research, both Australian and International, on digital services and...Read more
This report has been produced by the University of Melbourne for the Australian Communities Foundation Green Cities Innovation Fund to document an international review on high-rise apartment building thermal performance and comfort in heat wave conditions. This identified four international standards that represent best practice in protecting the health of apartment residents in heatwave conditions. Using computer energy modelling, six apartment designs typical to Melbourne were performance tested against the international standards, the main research question being: ‘how will they perform in free running mode – that is if there is no ability to turn on mechanical cooling systems?’
The computer model was developed for the six buildings using as constructed construction elements, and standard occupancy parameters. A weather data set based on a severe heat wave as experience in Melbourne in 2009 was used. The result of the six buildings that were tested against the international standards showed that none of the apartments would comply with the standards under these heat wave conditions.
To investigate what could be done about this the worst performing apartment design was retrofitted in the model to determine the type of upgrades that would be required for this apartment to comply. This showed that even the worst performing building could be retrofitted using standard retrofit strategies to comply with two of the four international standards and protect their residents.
Key recommendations of this report are that the retrofits tested here be considered for all existing apartments, that new apartment regulations consider best practice international standards for summer comfort and finally that until retrofits are able to be implemented the residents of apartments have an action plan if heat wave conditions occur.
This Global Status Report by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) reconfirms the significance of building energy consumption as a contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also shows that efforts to decarbonise the building sector through the implementation of comprehensive policy frameworks and the deployment of existing energy efficient technologies and building design approaches can deliver positive economic, social, health and environmental benefits.
As a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Australia has committed to reaching net zero emissions by around 2050. Australia’s built environment contributes almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions, offering a significant opportunity for emissions reduction.
The Low Carbon, High Performance report provides detailed modelling of potential emissions reductions from the building sector, setting out a policy roadmap towards 2050.
Climate change is leading to an increased frequency and severity of heat waves. Spells of several consecutive days of unusually high temperatures have led to increased mortality rates for the more vulnerable in the community. The problem is compounded by the escalating energy costs and increasing peak electrical demand as people become more reliant on air conditioning. Domestic air conditioning is the primary determinant of peak power demand which has been a major driver of higher electricity costs.