Engineers and built environment researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) will join a two-year project that aims to equip community and public housing providers with the tools and knowledge to execute low carbon upgrades for improved sustainability and liveability.

UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) will become a research participant in the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) project.

According to Low Carbon Living CRC Chair the Hon Robert Hill AC, community housing is a particularly challenging part of reducing carbon in the built environment because of cost pressures. However, being a large housing stock, it is very relevant to Australia’s overall carbon reduction challenge.

Observing that UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre has led the development and application of new products and services in low carbon community housing, he said SBRC was a perfect fit with its programs, particularly Program 1, Integrated Building Systems.

The Low Carbon Living CRC is Australia’s leading national hub for research and innovation in the built environment sector. UOW joins five other partner universities and 48 industry and government participants in the mission to lower carbon emissions in the Australian built environment and deliver competitive advantage for industry.

With $473,477 in CRCLCL support and $50,000 from the Office of Environment and Heritage, the SBRC researchers will develop a project called 'Mainstreaming Low Carbon Retrofits in Community Housing'.

SBRC Director Professor Paul Cooper said the project would assist community and public housing providers in integrating low carbon retrofits and refurbishments into their property maintenance and upgrading processes.

The SBRC team will establish living laboratories in Port Kembla, South West Sydney and the NSW Central West, where the performance of existing stock and the impact of retrofits and upgrades will be assessed, and the new decision-support resources, tools and processes tested and refined.

SBRC is based in a 6-Star Green Star building that serves as a living laboratory for research and development of sustainable building technologies and methods. 

UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Judy Raper described the project as an example of challenge-led research championed by the University, which also demonstrated how an interdisciplinary approach was vital to address the truly significant problems faced by the world.