Materials and embodied carbon for net zero buildings and construction

The challenge

The built environment is a foundation of modern society but comes at of cost in terms of the emission associated with both the construction and the use of the built environment. Cement, steel and plastic are integral to the built environment and new ways to produce these critical materials is essential if the world is to achieve net zero emissions.

Why this research is valuable

This work is supporting Australia’s building and construction industry into the Net Zero future through developing pathways to sustainable Net Zero buildings and construction buy the application of circular economy principles. Keeping resources in use for the longest time could cut emissions associated with their use by up to 70%.

Research themes

This project brings experts from multiple disciplines Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics and Nano, and architecture to work together and resolve net zero challenges in building and construction. The team adopts the circular economy paradigm and principles across the following three themes:

  1. People-centric circular eco-design, which is looking at principles and standards to support people-centric design objectives and transformative design solutions for construction design in architecture and the built environment.
  2. Advanced manufacturing, which aims to fast-track the use of advanced manufacturing technologies in design and construction of buildings and elements for the built environment. The focus is incorporation of recycled and waste materials in additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies at scale for buildings and construction.
  3. Reuse - maximising material circularity in the buildings and construction industry, with a focus on the lowest energy processing pathways to resource and circulate materials for beneficial reuse in buildings and construction.

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Team leaders