Big Ideas 2017

Paul Cooper

Most of us spend at least 90 percent of our time inside buildings, so they affect us more significantly than just about any other part of the artificial or non-natural world. To build and live in our buildings requires enormous quantities of natural resources, with major negative impacts on the ecosystems of our planet. From the production of basic building materials, through to the burning of fossil fuels - the life cycles of the vast majority of our buildings have a negative impact on the world.
Sustainable buildings might be part of the answer. But can we go further? What if our buildings were restorative or living buildings? They would work in ways that provide some tangible restitution to our planet and could use some of the oldest and latest technologies to minimise our ecological footprint while also providing a healthy indoor environment in which to live.  Is this a realistic and achievable goal? Paul will share his experience and insights into delivery of living buildings today and into the future.


Paul Cooper is a Professor and Director of the UOW Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Wollongong. Paul was involved in the design and development of the SBRC building itself, which is now a net-zero energy building and on track to be the first Living Building Challenge accredited building in Australia. He was also the Academic Coordinator of the successful Team UOW Solar Decathlon China 2013 campaign, which involved UOW and TAFE students designing, building and operating a net-zero energy, affordable and beautiful home.

Last reviewed: 6 June, 2017