Research finds bushfires should change where and how Australians live

    Climate-change driven extreme weather events, including devastating Australian bushfires, have created the urgent need for a new approach to planning and building in high fire risk areas and a shift to climate-... more


    Funding to support the use of recycled materials in infrastructure projects

    The Victorian Government is giving innovators $4.4 million to create everyday products from reusable waste while getting those ideas out of the lab and into the market with a new round of recycling infrastructu... more


    Is building with timber really sustainable?

    As part of our sustainable practice journey – both design and operational – Hames Sharley has established the National Design Forum (NSF), tasked with promoting and educating ourselves and our clients about... more


    NREL heats up thermal energy storage with solution to ease grid stress

    Scientists from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NERL) have developed a way to better evaluate the potential of novel materials to store or release heat on demand in your home, office, or other bu... more

  • Research finds bushfires should change where and how Australians live
  • Funding to support the use of recycled materials in infrastructure projects
  • Is building with timber really sustainable?
  • NREL heats up thermal energy storage with solution to ease grid stress

Report highlights opportunities to reduce emissions in Brazil’s cement sector

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has joined with the Federal Government of Brazil’s energy policy research office to highlight the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on energy-efficiency and to analyse the Brazilian cement sector in a global context. On 4 February 2021, the Energy Research Office (EPE), which supports Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy through studies and research on energy planning, released its Atlas of Energy Efficiency in Brazil 2020 – Indicators Report. The study tracks progress on energy efficiency in key sectors of the country's economy. This is the EPE’s fourth dedicated energy efficiency monitoring report. This year, a…

Bees native to WA under threat from growing urbanisation, study finds

Residential gardens are a poor substitute for native bushland and increasing urbanisation is a growing threat when it comes to bees, Curtin University researchers have discovered. Published in the journal, Urban Ecosystems, the research looked at bee visits to flowers, which form pollination networks across different native bushland and home garden habitats. Lead author, Forrest Foundation Scholar Miss Kit Prendergast, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences, said the findings highlight the need to prevent the destruction of remaining bushland and preserve native vegetation, in order to protect sustainable bee communities and their pollination services. “Our study involved spending…

Funding to support research on sustainable building design

Science Minister, Dave Kelly, today announced that the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBENRC) will receive a $50,000 science grant from the Western Australian Government. The SBENRC, which was established in 2010 and is headquartered at Curtin University, is the successor to the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation. As a core partner of the centre, the State Government benefits from the centre's important research focus on sustainable infrastructure and building design, and the ways that sustainable design and innovation can deliver social, environmental, and economic benefits to all Western Australians. The $50,000 grant announced today is additional to…

Recycling face masks into roads to tackle COVID-generated waste

Australian researchers have highlighted how disposable face masks could be recycled to make roads, in a circular economy solution to pandemic-generated waste. Their study shows that using the recycled face mask material to make just one kilometre of a two-lane road would use up about three million masks, preventing 93 tonnes of waste from going to landfill. The new road-making material developed by RMIT University researchers - a mix of shredded single-use face masks and processed building rubble - meets civil engineering safety standards. Analysis shows the face masks help to add stiffness and strength to the final product, designed to be used for base layers of roads and pavements. The study published in…

Recycled concrete could be a sustainable way to keep rubble out of landfills

Results of a five-year study of recycled concrete have highlighted that it performs as well, and in several cases even better, than conventional concrete. Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan’s School of Engineering conducted side-by-side comparisons of recycled and conventional concrete within two common applications - a building foundation and a municipal sidewalk. They found that the recycled concrete had comparable strength and durability after five years of being in service. “We live in a world where we are constantly in search of sustainable solutions that remove waste from our landfills,” said Shahria Alam, co-director of UBC’s…

Global building sector emissions hit record high, UN report finds

Emissions from the operation of buildings hit their highest-ever level in 2019, moving the sector away from fulfilling its large potential to slow climate change and significantly contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement, a new report has found. However, pandemic recovery packages provide an opportunity to push deep building renovation and performance standards for newly constructed buildings, and rapidly cut emissions. The forthcoming updating of climate pledges under the Paris Agreement – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – also offer an opportunity to sharpen existing measures and include new commitments on the buildings and construction sector. The…

Weeds: the woes and wonders of the plant out of place

They might be seen as noxious, but it turns out there is an unappreciated side to weeds. It’s hard to find something that matches the contempt a gardener has for weeds trespassing on an immaculately mowed lawn or a perfectly pruned garden. But do these floral squatters deserve to be treated with such disdain? Catherine Evans, Senior Lecturer at UNSW Built Environment, said the prejudice against weeds, like a weed itself, is out of place. In fact, the landscape architect believes they might not always be the flowery menace we think they are. “There’s not necessarily an appreciation just yet, that weeds,…