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Whole Life Design of Carbon Neutral Infrastructure

ITTC Grant IC230100015

Indesco are currently in partnership with RMIT in the Australian Research Council-funded Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Whole Life Design of Carbon Neutral Infrastructure.

OUR COLLECTIVE MISSION

Our partnership has a clear and vital mission: to upskill the workforce in the building and infrastructure sector, enabling them to measure carbon emissions uniformly and design structures that are carbon-neutral throughout their entire lifecycle. We are committed to providing the methodological and technological expertise needed to develop innovative carbon emission reduction and sequestration techniques.

Our goal is to make a significant contribution to Australia's net-zero targets and create a greener, more sustainable future.

Climate change poses grave challenges to Australia's building and infrastructure sector, natural environment and liveability. It is estimated that damages from climate change will cost Australia $585 billion by 2030. The rising temperatures and severe weather conditions are already impacting the operations and services of our buildings and infrastructure.

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Based on current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that global temperatures will rise by 3.2 C by the end of the century.

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Out of all the sources of GHG emissions, buildings and civil infrastructure stand out as the biggest contributor, accounting for more than 70% of global emissions. There is an urgent need to decrease GHG emissions of buildings and infrastructure.

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In addition, the Australian Government recently legislated to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030 but stopped short of providing the means to achieve this target. As such, all stakeholders of buildings and infrastructure are under real pressure to acquire the knowledge and technology to comply. It is therefore crucial to design out and manage excess emissions to meet government targets.

OUR APPROACH

Our research is focused on designing buildings and infrastructure that are carbon neutral from the outset. This means that we do not design a building or infrastructure first and then count its carbon emissions. Instead, we want to treat carbon emissions as design parameters, just as loads and safety design parameters in the current structural designs. There are four key stages in the buildings and infrastructures' lifecycle that we will focus on: design, construction, operation/maintenance, and end-of-life.

EXPECTED BENEFITS

Reducing climate change-induced damages and driving the growth of a low-carbon economy through the use of carbon neutral buildings and infrastructure.

Increasing confidence in implementing carbon emission reduction and sequestration techniques and promoting innovations in carbon in-setting.

Conserving natural resources, protecting Australia's ecosystems, and improving liveability by implementing carbon capture, utilisation and storage techniques and closed-loop design of buildings and infrastructure.

Promoting collaboration among all value chain members of buildings and infrastructure and raising community awareness and acceptance of achieving carbon neutrality.

We will consider emissions at each stage to ensure the buildings and infrastructure are not only safe but also environmentally friendly, i.e. carbon neutral.

Four work packages are developed to fulfil these objectives:

Developing models for measuring carbon emissions and carbon neutrality in whole life

Developing techniques for carbon reduction and sequestraltion

Developing methods for increasing circularity and longevity

Developing technical manuals with digital tools for practical applications

EXPECTED BENEFITS

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Metrics to uniformly measure, predict and monitor carbon emissions and carbon neutrality in whole life

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Techniques for carbon emission reduction and sequestration used in each stage of design, construction, operation / maintenance and end-of-life

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Methods to increase circularity, e.g. reuse, recycle and recovery, and longevity, e.g. durability, adaptability and repairability with closed-loop design to reduce emissions

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Technical design and management manuals with digital tools for up-take by the building and infrastructure industry

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