High Performance Architecture Research Cluster
The High Performance Architecture Research Cluster aims to deliver research innovation in design, planning and management of high performance buildings and cities.
The High Performance Architecture (HPA) Research Cluster aligns with Faculty’s strategic research direction on HPA and recent UNSW investment in environmentally-driven architectural science and technology which aims to lift productivity and excellence in HPA areas.
The High Performance Architecture research is concerned not only with building design and urban planning, but also tackles challenges relating to health, comfort and well-being of people in buildings and cities.
Our vision is:
- to promote innovative design concepts and emerging technologies to create sustainable buildings and cities;
- to foster frontier research collaboration with national and international institutes, Australian governments and industries;
- to facilitate a future international research institute in HPA areas.
Convenor: Dr Lan Ding
UNSW Node of Excellence in High Performance Architecture Steering Committee Meeting, June 2016
Cooling Western Sydney
Professor Mat Santamouris gave a talk on Cooling Western Sydney: A Strategic Study on the Role of Water in Mitigating Urban Heat in Western Sydney at Sydney Water Parramatta. Cooling Western Sydney is a project led by Professor Mat Santamouris from UNSW FBE in collaboration with Sydney Water, funded by Low Carbon Living CRC.
Sydney Water Parramatta
Research Excellence Award
FBE End of Year Lunch took place on Friday 8th December, 2017. Dr Paul Osmond received Research Excellence Award for Level C Senior Lecturer.
8 December 2017, Mosman
17 - 18 November 2016, Sydney, Australia
UNSW Node of Excellence in High Performance Architecture Steering Committee Meeting and Workshop
8 June 2016, UNSW Australia
High Performance Architecture Research Cluster Seminars
EEDMN BASIX - Mapping the Decision-Making Processes to Identify Barriers and Drivers to Meet or Exceed the BASIX Requirements of New Builds
This project aims to understand the complex decision-making process of builders and developers, and key actors that interact with or influence builders to meet or exceed the minimum BASIX requirements, while designing and building new homes, and to use the knowledge to identify intervention options, which could influence buildes and developers to adopt low carbon building practices.
Project activities incldue:
- Identifying key market segments.
- Conducting case studies across each market segment.
- Mapping decision-making processes and key influencers throughout the building process.
- Identifying barriers, drivers, norms and opportunities.
- Generating insights for potential interventions.
Expected project outcomes include:
- The characteristics and attributes of key market segments across the residential building sector from design to construction.
- The factors that drive decisions to achieve or exceed BASIX.requirements throughout the building process, and the opportunities and effective decision points for interventions.
- The intervention options that will encourage all relevant actors to exceed BASIX requirements and remove any barriers to achieving minimum standards.
This project is funded by the OEH Energy Efficiency Decision-Making Node (EEDMN) which is a partnership between the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL). Partner organisations of the EEDMN include: UNSW, CSIRO and University of Wollongong. UNSW plays a leadership role of the EEDMN BASIX project.
UHI-DS - Microclimate and Urban Heat Island Mitigation Decision-Support Tool
This project aims to develop a robust and tangible microclimate and urban heat island mitigation decision-support tool that bridges the gap between research on urban microclimates and its practical application.
Project objectives are:
- to provide governments and built environment industries with a decision-support tool to inform urban policy, development assessment and planning practices related to potential building and urban interventions, used to cool streetscapes and cities, decrease energy consumption, protect the population’s vulnerable health-wise, and improve conditions of comfort.
- to ntegrate scientific models with a range of mitigation techniques to perform urban heat island mitigation analysis across both building and urban scales, such as building coatings and roofs, urban form and density, greenery and infrastructure.
- to develop an Urban Heat Island Mitigation Performance Index to support governments in establishing performance targets for their planning control. The Index will indicate impact on street level temperature, health and mortality, precinct level energy consumption, etc.
Key benefits are:
- Convenient, easy and efficient to use by governments, developers and planners to mitigate vulnerability to climate change, in particular urban heat island mitigation.
- Support evidence-based decisions and strategies relating to low carbon and climate adaptation in urban development processes.
- Mapping decision-making processes and key influencers throughout the building process.
- Fills the gap between research and practical application of urban microclimates.
This project is funded by CRC for Low Carbon Living. Govnerment and Industry Parters and Steering Committee comprise: City of Sydney, Greater Sydney Commission, OEH, Landcom, Parramatta City Council, Campbelltown Council, WSROC, SSROC, Sydney Water, Inner West Council, Waverley Council, NSW Spatial Services, Stockland, BlueScope Steel, AECOM, PSMA, UNSW and Swinburne Unviersity.
An Investigation into the Impact of the Urban Heat Island on the Energy Consumption and Environmental Quality of Buildings in Sydney and Shanghai
The aim of this project is to establish a joint research collaboration with the Jiao Tang University, in order to investigate the impact of the urban heat island on the energy consumption and environmental quality of buildings in Sydney and Shanghai. Also, to investigate and propose appropriate technologies to mitigate the temperature anomaly and decrease the energy consumption of urban buildings located in zones of high heat island intensity.
Validating and Improving the BASIX Energy Assessment Tool for Low-Carbon Dwellings
The BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) tool is used to model and regulate the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of all new residential buildings in NSW. More than 140,000 dwellings have been built in NSW under BASIX since it was launched in 2004.
This project carries out post-occupancy investigations of new residential buildings in NSW. It compares BASIX modelled results to monitoring data in real-life environments, and analyse discrepancies. The findings of this study will assist to identify areas for improvement of BASIX assessment models, establish links between government regulations, design option and post-occupancy behaviour and inform future sustainability strategies and policy.
Project partners comprise: NSW Department of Planning and Environment, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, City of Sydney, and Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Validating and Improving the BASIX Energy Assessment Tool for Low-Carbon Dwellings - Phase 2
The BASIX Project Phase 2 is to investigate the post-occupancy energy performance of both BASIX and non-BASIX dwellings in NSW to inform government policy and the NABERS rating tool used for assessing energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management and indoor environment quality.
Project partner: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
UNSW Node of Excellence in High Performance Architecture
Lan Ding (UNSW Node Leader); Built Environment Representatives and Supervisors: Paola Favaro, Francesco Fiorito, Philip Oldfield, Paul Osmond, Alan Peters, Deo Prasad, Mattheos Santamouris, Susan Thompson, Peter Williams; Built Environment Node Students: William Craft (Master by Research candidate), Sadar Masud Karim (PhD candidate), Carlos Bartesaphi Koc (PhD candidate), Samin Marzban (PhD candidate), Adriana X Sanchez (PhD candidate), Claudio Diaz Sandoval (PhD candidate), Siliang Yang (PhD candidate)
This project develops the strength of UNSW in High Performance Buildings and Cities aiming to achieve research excellence in this area. The project consists of academic staff and High Degree Research (HDR) students from UNSW Faculties of Built Environment, Engineering, Science and Business, as well as Industry and Government Steering Committee members from UrbanGrowth NSW, City of Sydney, Brookfield Multiplex, AECOM, HASSELL, CSR, PIDCOCK - Architecture + Sustainability, etc.
Development of an Immersive 3D Virtual Environment to Support Team Collaboration of Students
This project is to investigate an immersive 3D virtual platform and determine ways to improve the undergraduate and graduate built environment curriculum through the use of such a platform.
Urban Micro Climates: Comparative Study of Major Contributors to the Urban Heat Island in three Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide)
Jonathan Fox (PhD candidate), Paul Osmond
This cross-disciplinary, multi-scale project targets cost-effective policy, planning, design and management strategies for mitigation of urban heat islands in three Australian cities. The project focuses on the UHI effect and the interplay between urban form, density, surfaces and ambient temperature and is being undertaken collaboratively by researchers from three universities, the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, and key industry and government partners.
Urban Ecology Renewal Investigation Project
The UERI Project is conducting in-depth desktop research and stakeholder consultation to develop an evidenced-based case for embedding urban ecology into decision making at the individual to metropolitan scale and within government policy and planning frameworks. The project is focused on three themes: Built Environment, Urban Biodiversity and Ecology, and Legal and Planning Policy. The project team comprises researchers from Macquarie, UNSW, Sydney and UTS universities and the CSIRO; the UNSW team members lead the Built Environment theme.
Closing the Loop
In order to understand the value of high-performance buildings and design interventions, it is important for project teams to be able to decipher the ever growing and complex body of academic research and other evidence that exists in the field. This will allow teams to make well-informed decisions and integrate evidence based practice into realised buildings.
Closing the Loop aims to connect the wealth of evidence that exists for high performance office buildings with front end decision makers through the development of industry decision-making tools and guidelines. A component of this project is the development of an evidence base for industry. The project is reviewing existing evidence and developing an assessment tool to rate the validity and rigor of various forms of built environment research, in order to translate this for better industry exposure and application.
Regulating Apartment Design: International Best Practice and Approaches to the Evaluation of Development Outcomes
Apartment design in NSW is governed by SEPP 65 and the accompanying ‘Apartment Design Guide’. This legislation seeks to codify good architectural and urban design and high environmental performance.
This research aims to evaluate the outcomes of SEPP65 and the Apartment Design Guide against its objectives, and to provide evidence to support the further development of best practice guidance and regulations for apartment design in Australia.
ATSE Priming Grant
This project aims at partnering with an overseas SME, which has developed sustainable and energy efficient prefabricated buildings. The collaboration is envisaged to foster R&D in one of the most promising areas in Australian manufacturing sector.
Design, Fabrication and Testing of an Adaptive Envelope Component
The aim of the project is to design, produce and test an adaptive facade component capable of changing its shape when subject to variable outdoor climatic conditions. In order to overcome the maintenance issues typical of traditional movable components, movement actuators will be constituted of Shape Memory Materials (SMM). These materials are able to perform reversible changes of shape when triggered by heat. The overarching goal is to create a facade capable of an active control of solar radiation, so to enhance indoor environmental quality.
Jonathan Fox (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Professor Alan Peters and Dr Paul Osmond
Research Topic: The effect of facades on outdoor microclimate
This research investigates the effects of vertical urban surfaces on outdoor microclimate at the architectural scale. It aims to quantify surface temperature, street-level air temperature and mean radiant temperature as predicted by the thermo-radiative properties and structure of building facades and representative canyon geometry. Ground-based infrared thermography and multi-sensor mobile meteorological measurements are managed on a geographical information system (GIS) platform to develop a predictive statistical model. The research will contribute to understanding the causes and characteristics of, and potential countermeasures to mitigate, the urban heat island (UHI) effect in Australian cities and facilitate integration of architectural, canyon and neighbourhood scale climatology to enhance climate-sensitive urban and architectural design.
Adriana Sanchez (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Professor Deo Prasad and Dr Paul Osmond; Jeroen van der Heijden (ANU)
Research Topic: Urban sustainable resilience: a policy framework
Australia is likely to face significant challenges in the future that will test the resilience of its cities. In response to this widely accepted threat leading state and city governments are developing and implementing sustainability and resilience policies. However, there is a lack of proactive evidence-based analysis into the available options and their outcomes as well as indicators of success. Without such analysis it is difficult to guage progress towards set goals, to improve effective policy development and implementation and to create an active learning culture that can efficiently and effectively tackle future challenges. This could have a significant impact on the future of Australian cities, causing social, economic and environmental loss. This research will (a) develop a sustainable resilience policy framework and a detailed resilience policy development and implementation framework, (b) define best practice in urban sustainable resilience policy by applying the framework to a series of case studies, (c) define comparators that allow evaluation of this type of policy across case studies and to compare to current practices through drivers, success factors and gap analysis, and (d) develop a practical evaluation and development framework for more effective policy making.
Carlos Bartesaghi Koc (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Paul Osmond, Professor Alan Peters; Co-supervisor: Dr Matthias Irger
Research Topic: Assessing the thermal performance of green infrastructure on urban microclimate
This research aims to explore and determine the most effective composition, amount and arrangement of green infrastructure (GI) necessary to provide a maximum thermal cooling on urban microclimate. Also, to propose a methodological framework for a more precise and accurate assessment of the thermal performance of GI using a combination of airborne remote sensing, ground monitoring and predictive modelling (statistical analysis). The proposed GIS-based workflow will be tested and validated in Sydney and Melbourne as case studies. The findings and outcomes of this study will comprise a set of guidelines and recommendations to assist/inform urban planners and practitioners on best policies, strategies and interventions for delivering cooler neighbourhoods.
William Craft (MRes Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Lan Ding, Scientia Professor Deo Prasad
Research Topic: Towards ‘Proactive’ Retrofitting: Developing a Regenerative Framework for Building Retrofits
Regenerative design and development seeks to go beyond sustainability approaches of doing less harm, towards an approach which actively improves our surrounding natural environment. This approach is beginning to be seen in new buildings and developments, but this research explores how regenerative concepts can be integrated into redesigning existing buildings. A regenerative framework for building retrofits is developed which proposes a proactive retrofit approach to change the way designers think and act towards redesigning existing buildings. A proactive process model is then developed to establish the key values, goals and principles that will enable the improvement of an existing building and its ongoing evolution. A set of key proactive retrofit design principles are also developed to provide guidance for how an existing building can interact with and improve its surroundings. This research seeks to explore how we can transition away from building retrofit design approaches focused on reducing negative outcomes towards an approach which discovers the potential of an existing building to be a regenerative force for its surroundings. I have submitted my MRes thesis and am hoping to build upon this research towards a PhD.
Cristian Criado-Perez (MRes Candidate)
Supervisors: Professor Karin Sanders
Research Topic: Evidence based decision-making in the built environment
How would you feel if you found out that your doctor was basing decisions on hunches without considering available knowledge? A similar question can be raised for managers: How would you feel if your manager makes decisions without considering available knowledge and does not practice evidence-based management (EBMgt)? In the building industry poor management decisions can result in building designs that negatively impact the buildings’ sustainability and the occupants’ wellbeing and productivity. This paper aims to study the circumstances under which managers in the building industry practice EBMgt, which involves the use of the best available evidence and its integration with the local context, stakeholders knowledge and practitioners expertise. To do so, this study will rely on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), a theory that predicts a specific behaviour (practice of EBMgt in this case) from the following factors: the attitude towards EBMgt and the use of knowledge from scientific research, perceived behavioural control resulting from their ability to practice EBMgt, and normative beliefs with respect to this behaviour. Managers involved in three building projects will be asked to complete a survey during the design and development process of the buildings. The data collected will test the TPB model to predict the practice of EBMgt and set the baseline to measure the efficacy of interventions in future studies. The results of this study will inform practitioners in the building industry about the conditions to enhance the practice of EBMgt in their organization.
Claudio Aurelio Diaz Sandoval (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Paul Osmond and Dr Ivan Cole
Research Topic: Potential of Building Envelope Evaporative Cooling with Rainwater, for Thermal and Environmental Performance of Buildings and Cities in the Humid Tropics
This research explores the possibilities of harnessing rainwater for building surface cooling with a holistic approach (not only focused on thermal and energy performance), integrating criteria from different fields (passive architecture, urban climatology, industrial ecology, etc.) to verify its relevance as an integral strategy for disparate problems of cities in the humid tropics (overheating, flooding, environmental degradation, etc.). It aims to quantify evaporation rates on building surfaces under hot humid climates and amounts of water consumed by evaporative cooling, to estimate reductions on heat loads, demand for rainwater and other impacts of this strategy on the energy and water balance of cities and adjacent natural environments.
Samin Marzban (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Lan Ding and A/Professor Francesco Fiorito
Research Topic: An evolutionary approach to single-sided ventilated facade design
This study aims to reduce the carbon emission of multi-story residential buildings in Australian market by optimizing façade design. Targeting to minimize cooling loads, mechanical ventilation will be substituted by single-sided natural ventilation for cooling purposes meanwhile indoor environments will be improved and appropriate visual comfort will be provided. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) optimization method is developed to determine a set of optimal solutions of façade design for the performance targets of ventilation efficiency, energy consumption, thermal and visual comfort. The expected research outcomes will improve low carbon façade design of residential buildings while reducing cooling cost for the construction industry and energy cost for the consumers.
Marini Samaratunga (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Lan Ding, Dr Kate Bishop, Scientia Professor Deo Prasad; Co-supervisor: Dr Kevin Yee (NSW Department of Planning)
Research Topic: An evidence-based behaviour model of energy consumption to inform BASIX sustainability assessment
This research aims to explore post occupancy energy consumption behaviours that contribute to the disparity between the BASIX (Building sustainability index) predicted and actual energy consumption in BASIX compliant dwellings and develop an evidence-based behaviour model to support the behavioural analysis. The model looks into heating and cooling effects of dwellings design, behavioural effects of space heating and cooling, hot water heating, etc. as well as multiple influential factors such as perceptions, preferences, attitudes and knowledge towards energy efficiency from the householders. The model not only identifies the drivers that trigger energy consumption behaviours, but also investigates the potential inter-relationships among the influential factors. The model is based on the evidence collected through interviews and monitoring devices.
The data is collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews with the householders based on an open ended questionnaire. The data is analysed with the use of a thematic analysis method, where themes are abstracted and refined to provide sources for constructing the behaviour model. The developed behaviour model is expected to inform not only the BASIX sustainability assessment tool but also decision-making in policies, building designs as well as government educational programs.
Peichun Xiao (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Lan Ding, Scientia Professor Deo Prasad; Co-supervisor: Dr Greg Smith (CSIRO)
Research Topic: Development of a collective intelligence model for energy efficiency in the built environment
This research aims to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment through promoting energy-related adaptive behaviour and collecting learning among building energy systems and humans. A collective intelligence model based on multi-agent modelling and reinforcement learning is developed to enable energy systems and humans to interact, collaborate and learn from each other to achieve energy efficiency in the built environment. Research outcomes will advance the knowledge of developing artificial intelligence techniques for energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment.
Aysu Kuru (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: A/Professor Francesco Fiorito and Dr Philip Oldfield; Co-supervisor: A/Professor Stephen Bonser
Research Topic: Biomimetic adaptive building skins for thermal comfort: An approach towards multi-functionality
This research investigates how can biological adaptations translate into the design of multi-functional Biomimetic Adaptive Building Skins to improve thermal comfort by regulating multiple environmental factors. The aims of this research are two fold: (1) to create a new approach for achieving multi-functionality in Biomimetic Adaptive Building Skins, and (2) to design, test and prototype a multi-functional Biomimetic Adaptive Facade Component improving thermal comfort. The approach is comprised of the identification of boundary conditions, selection and mapping of corresponding multi-functional dynamic, kinetic and static mechanisms in nature, and design generation of multi-functional biomimetic adaptive building skins. A number of preliminary facade design strategies are developed as an iterative process using parametric modeling. Performance analyses for environmental and structural efficiency are conducted to quantify the improvement and define mechanical properties. The most promising strategy will be fabricated as a prototype and validated within defined boundary conditions.
Henrique Sala Benites (PhD Candidate)
Supervisors: Dr Paul Osmond and Scientia Professor Deo Prasad
Research Topic: Shifting the Cities Towards Sustainable, Resilient and Low Carbon Environments: A Regenerative Approach for Urban Precincts Transitions
Despite the existence of many sustainability tools for new urban developments, most of them are based on what we could define as ‘sustainable-as-usual’ practices, i.e., emphasis on efficiency rather than effectiveness by only doing “less bad” and perpetuating a mostly linear metabolism. Achieving a positive development requires a shift on how we develop our cities by adopting a regenerative approach in which relationships are restored and humans are an integral part of nature. There is a lack of frameworks with a specific focus on transitioning existing urban areas at a precinct scale in a systemic and holistic approach. Although the concept of regenerative urbanism is not new, it hasn’t been systematically implemented yet and a deeper comprehension of how it applies to urban environments needs to be developed so that it can be tested at scale. The research aims at designing a framework to aid in processes of regenerative transitions of precincts towards a sustainable and climate-driven future for urban environments based on circular metabolism, systems and life cycle thinking, urban ecosystems and biomimicry/biophilic thinking.
A Very Short Policy Brief: Making 'Climate-Smart' Indian Cities
The Australia India Institute is excited to release the sixth volume in the new “Very Short Policy Brief” series, Making ‘Climate-Smart’ Indian Cities, by Dr Komali Yenneti. The "Very Short Policy Brief" series provides academic analysis and policy relevant recommendations to key questions facing contemporary India and the Australia-India relationship. India is in the midst of a ‘smart cities’ revolution. The ‘Smart Cities Mission’ promises to make cities more liveable, sustainable, and resilient. But how can this be achieved when cities are facing a series of complex interconnected challenges related to urban warming? Cities are getting hotter, with severe implications for public health, comfort, energy demand, labour productivity and economy. Urban heat mitigation and preparing communities for the impending heat are some of the major challenges facing urban sustainability in India. is Very Short Policy Brief identifies es a range of climate-smart solutions and key strategies for urban heat management.
Cooling Western Sydney Report
- Research Activities
- Australian Building Analytics Lab
- City Analytics Lab
- City Futures Research Centre
- CRC for Low Carbon Living
- CRCLCL UNSW Node of Excellence
- Designing Global Sydney
- Design Research Collaboration Research Cluster
- Enabling Built Environments Program
- GRID Home
- High Performance Architecture Research Cluster
- HMInfo Clearinghouse
- People and Place Research Cluster
- Situation Engines
- Smart Cities Research Cluster
- Urban Typologies Research Cluster
- Postgraduate Research
- Industry Engagement