The challenge

The built environment is a foundation of modern society but comes high cost in terms of the emissions associated with its construction and use. Although cement, steel and plastic are integral materials in this space, they have high levels of embodied emissions due to the use of fossil fuels in their production. If the world is to achieve net zero emissions it will be essential to find new ways to produce these materials.

Why this research is valuable

Under this pillar, the NZI brings together experts from Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics and Nano, and Architecture. Together they are developing pathways to sustainable Net-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) and construction via the application of circular economy principles. For example, they are exploring strategies that keep resources in use for as long as possible, which could cut associated emissions by up to 70%. This multi-disciplinary approach is helping Australia‚Äôs building and construction industry transition to the Net Zero future.

Circular Economy – Research themes

  1. Exploring people-centric, circular eco-design by looking at principles and standards to support design objectives and transformative solutions for architecture and construction.
  2. Fast-tracking the use of advanced manufacturing technologies in design and construction of buildings and other built environment elements. This research focuses on incorporation of recycled and waste materials in additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies at scale for buildings and construction.
  3. Maximising reuse in the construction industry, with a focus on finding the lowest energy processing pathways to resource and circulate materials for beneficial reuse in buildings and construction.

Want to know more?

Waste Transformation Research Hub.

Waste Transformation Research Hub

Team leaders


Ali Abbas: CBE