Reflecting on the CRC for Low Carbon Living

28 May 2019

As the CRC for Low Carbon Living wraps up, we look back at seven years of transformation towards a net zero future with UNSW Scientia Professor Deo Prasad AO.

Australia’s built environment faces a broad range of environmental and social sustainability challenges, from affordable housing to climate adaptation, but nothing has galvanised industry more than its urgent need to decarbonise.

Following the 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the subsequent United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Australia has made a national commitment to reduce emissions by up to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Prior to embarking on this bold trajectory, the CRC for Low Carbon Living was quietly chipping away at emissions reductions, setting its own targets.

Launched in 2012 and spearheaded by UNSW Scientia Professor, Deo Prasad, the objective was colossal, yet clear: to reduce building emissions by 10 megatonnes by 2020.

Seven years later, the CRC for Low Carbon Living is winding down, and has already far exceeded its goal.

“Industry support around the CRC for Low Carbon Living has been quite extraordinary. We’ve taken huge strides towards reducing carbon in both the commercial and residential sector,” explains Deo.

Backed by $28 million in funding from the federal government, the project has given researchers, practitioners and developers the space to explore unchartered territories in guiding us towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Around 15 living laboratories, where zero carbon homes are being monitored, have been built across the country including Whitegum Valley in Western Australia and Josh’s House, which is often referred to as a blueprint for sustainable homes.

Upon completion, the CRC for Low Carbon Living has been involved in over 100 projects, applying related disciplines and research to reduce the environmental impact of buildings.

“We’ve also pushed the boundaries of the technology available to us, capturing heat from roofs to cool buildings,” says Deo.

Deo hopes this kind of innovation can be refined and used as part of broader climate mitigation strategies to cool buildings in hotter regions such as Western Sydney and Darwin.

He believes that aside from the usual roadblocks, such as the costs associated with green building initiatives, the research and practice conducted under the CRC for Low Carbon Living will leave behind a legacy for industry change.

“Our sole purpose has been to innovate and solve problems in the built environment – and we’ve done that,” says Deo.

“Aside from the initial cost of investing in technologies and materials, I think we can evolve from being hopeful to being extremely excited about a zero carbon future.”

To find out more about the CRC for Low Carbon Living and the incredible research it’s unearthed, head here.