Policy and regulations for optimising the embodied energy and GHG emissions of the built environment

The contribution of the built environment (buildings and infrastructure, in particular) to global energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions is significant (over 40%). Energy efficiency policy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation efforts and building regulations focus predominately on operational performance and improvements. Considerable gains have been made globally in reducing the energy demand and GHG emissions associated with building operation. Solutions typically focus on passive design, high performance materials, and renewable energy systems and terms such as zero-energy and Passive House are becoming increasingly common.

Recent research shows that energy and GHG emissions associated with (embodied in) production and transportation of materials, and the construction process itself are even more significant than in-use energy demands and emissions. However, this aspect is inherently more difficult to address as it involves the broader supply chain (miners, manufacturers, logistics etc.). The aim of this project will be to explore international examples of policy, regulations and strategies for addressing these embodied energy demands and related GHG emissions associated with construction projects. This will be used to inform optimal strategies for improving existing policy and regulations to optimise embodied energy and GHG emissions within the built environment.

This project can potentially be conducted as a joint PhD project together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

A/Prof Robert Crawford has broad research expertise and interest in the built environment, sustainability, life cycle assessment and renewable energy. His research focuses on building environmental assessment, with a particular emphasis on sustainable resource use, the environmentally appropriate selection of materials and sustainable building design and feasibility.