The Steel Research Hub is moving ahead with the start of another collaborative project between the University of Wollongong and BlueScope Limited (BSL). This project, titled “Climate-Optimised Building Systems”, aims to provide rigorous, evidence-based information to guide the optimal application of steel building products to both current and future Australian climatic conditions and to improve building regulations. The project involves a set of seven sub-projects, each focused on a specific aspect of a building’s thermal and moisture-management performance.
This project was derived, in part, from research directions undertaken in a previous project under Hub I entitled “Innovative cladding and ventilation solutions for mid-rise residential buildings”. Analysis of the thermal and moisture performance of the building envelope in archetype concrete and cold-formed-steel-framed apartment buildings holds many parallels to the work to be undertaken in the upcoming project.
The Australian building industry is currently entering a period of rapid transformation as it adapts to reduce carbon emissions, meet higher standards of indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and produce buildings resilient to the effects of a changing climate. This transformation is leading to significant changes in the National Construction Code (NCC), especially in provisions related to the energy efficiency of building envelopes and in the way buildings reduce the likelihood of condensation or water vapor accumulation, causing health impacts or loss of amenity.. Scientific evidence is needed to guide consequent changes in building practices, to ensure that new regulations are efficient and effective, and ultimately produce buildings that can reliably meet Australia’s future needs.
The project team includes University of Wollongong’s Senior Professor Paul Cooper, Research Fellow and Project Manager Dr Alan Green, Associate Professor Georgios Kokogiannakis, Dr Leela Kempton and Steve Beltrame. The team is completed on the industry side by Industry Project Champion Jamie Adams, Associate Researchers Glen Hampton and Jack Whitford and supported by Mark Eckermann (Program Leader – Industry).
The team is currently focused on developing mathematical models and experiments to further the understanding of the building physics related to certain construction assemblies, and has already produced two technical reports. Steel Hub looks forward to seeing many more success stories develop.