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Facilities & capabilities

Meaningful applied research requires a cutting-edge facility

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) is a multidisciplinary facility addressing the challenges of making built environments restorative. The exhibition space on the ground floor is open to the public during work hours.

Contact and location SBRC Facilities Brochure

Research and consulting capabilities

The Building Insights Facility measures and tests the capabilities of flarge scale building elements, including their thermodynamic, hygroscopic and environmental performance.

While the primary function of the Building Insights Facility is testing façades, wall systems, and building envelope elements on the outside of environmental chambers, it does have flexibility in operation, enabling efficiency testing of HVAC systems, and performance testing of indoor environmental quality, thermal comfort and air distribution systems.

Please contact us if you would like to undertake research or commercial testing activities.

As a net-zero energy building, the SBRC has access to a working micro-grid with standard and hybrid residential and commercial solar photovoltaic systems, spread across several buildings on the UOW Innovation Campus. The micro-grid also includes small scale electrical and thermal energy storage, a plug and- play distributed generation connection panel, 30kVA rated fully regenerative arbitrary waveform generator and passive adjustable load bank, a DC fast charger for electric vehicles, and extensive building submeter and portable instrumentation.

 We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Thermal systems
  • Power distribution
  • Distributed generation
  • Renewable energy systems including solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal and wind
  • Building energy performance
  • Energy efficiency retrofit technologies
  • Phase change materials
  • Ground source heat pumps

Our micro-grid and energy laboratory allows for testing of electrical loads and generators in a variety of grid situations and includes facilities for measurement and analysis of electrical and electronic equipment.

We have electrical energy and power quality logging equipment suitable for use on switchboards, sub-circuits, and plug loads.

Our Thermofluids laboratory allows performance measurement of insulation and phase change materials.

Our portable building HVAC measurement equipment and thermographic cameras allow us to measure and assess the thermal performance of buildings services.

Our multi-function environment quality chamber and thermal emulators allow measurement and analysis of the thermal performance of devices and equipment. 

Our Ambient laboratory includes facilities for testing of roofing and roof-mounted solar devices.

We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Green roofs and green walls
  • Energy efficiency
  • Bushfires
  • Climate adaptation

Our unique hail impact test facility can test the resilience of products such as roofing materials, photovoltaic and thermal solar products, glazing, etc.

We have facilities to measure the thermal and solar performance of building facades.

We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Post occupancy evaluation
  • Adaptive thermal comfort
  • Cultural dimensions of environmental and sustainability issues

Our multifunction environment quality chamber allows for precise control of ambient conditions for testing and measurement of factors impacting human health, comfort and productivity.

Our portable test equipment allows measurement of air quality, thermal comfort conditions lighting and acoustics.

We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Water quality, black and greywater systems
  • Net-zero water buildings
  • Solar membrane distillation
  • Energy in wastewater

Our laboratory is capable of measuring water quality and analysing wastewater.

We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Building sustainable construction, retrofitting and upgrade
  • Building management systems
  • Optimal control of buildings

Our blower doors and thermographic cameras allow us to measure and assess the thermal performance of building envelopes.

Our Building Elements Laboratory includes the capability for construction and testing of building facades and structures.

We have experience in the design and analysis of: 

  • Building energy modelling and simulation
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Decision support tools
  • Building information modelling

We also have expertise in:

  • Smart devices, grids and cities.
  • Energy data analysis.
  • Process modelling and optimization.
  • Techno-economic analysis.
  • We have access to extensive suites of software for modelling, simulation and analysis in a variety of fields.

Building capabilities

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) is a multi-disciplinary facility that aims to be a leader in ideas and solutions that address the challenge of transforming our buildings and built environment into sustainable, resilient and effective places in which people live and work. Based on optimised passive design principles, natural ventilation and careful equipment selection, the SBRC is an ultra-low energy building.

Features

  • Net Zero Energy.160kW onsite renewable energy system produces more power than the building consumes each year.
  • Net Zero Water. Onsite rainwater harvesting and treatment.
  • Building Layout. H-shaped floorplate designed to optimise natural ventilation, provide access to fresh air, natural light, and optimise the use of thermal mass.
  • Hybrid Mixed Ventilation. Maximised natural ventilation system with a ground source heat exchanger and in-slab hydronics system.
  • Locally Sourced Materials. All primary materials have been sourced within a limited radius of site to contribute to the regional economy.
  • Low Impact IT Solutions. Energy efficient thin-client hardware operating in a virtual desktop environment with softphone technology.
  • Car Free Living. Twenty dedicated bike spaces with change rooms, electric vehicle parking and close to public transport.
  • Edible Gardens. Onsite vegetable, herb, and fruit gardens.
  • Plug & Play Micro Grid. Advanced electrical and communication system to mimic the broader utility network and enable testing and demonstration of emerging power technologies.
  • Advanced Building Management System. Advanced BMS to control, monitor, and report on all building systems.
  • Environmentally Safe Materials. Building materials predominantly free of Red Listed chemicals.
  • Internal Green Wall. Three vertical green walls within internal atrium space.

Targets

  • Net-zero energy. SBRC produces more power than it consumes.
  • Water exporter. SBRC harvests and distributes water beyond its own needs.
  • Natural ventilation. Natural Ventilation design with task-based, passive conditioning using various methods (including ground source heating and cooling, solar walls, earth to air heat exchanger).
  • Building-integrated smart-grid. Integrated power grid capable of simultaneous testing of multiple renewable energy generation sources and storage systems.
  • Fully-integrated Green IT building management system. SBRC is wired to measure and report on all aspects of sustainability (including workgroup power consumption, water use, printing statistics).
  • Natural waste water system. A greywater separation and natural treatment system will enable export of greywater to nearby buildings.
  • Sustainable IT solution. SBRC delivers a cutting edge holistic approach to Green IT.
  • Urban agriculture. Inclusion of permaculture and Australian native food gardens across the SBRC site. 

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solar panels means SBRC produces more power than it consumes

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Vertical gardens create a restorative space

Accreditations and certifications
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