Research Projects


The Research Node for Low Carbon Living ('the Node') undertakes research projects that provide PhD scholarships to stimulate new multi-disciplinary, industry driven research in South Australia into different aspects of low carbon living, with research focussed on making a measurable difference.  All Node research projects seek to address issues identified by industry, and are supported by industry partners.

Current Node projects:

  • Photovoltaic/thermal system for off-grid zero energy homes
  • Maximising renewable energy in small community precincts
  • Carbon reduction from composting food waste for food production
  • Child friendly precinct design for low carbon living
  • Optimising themal comfort for two and three storey residential buildings
  • Transitioning Adelaide to low carbon mobility

The Adelaide Living Laboratory (ALL) – which comprises Lochiel Park Green Village, Bowden Village and the Tonsley Innovation Hub developments, seeks to engage stakeholders with a view to provide pathways for low carbon living via the following research tasks:

  • Task 1: Co-Creation Toolkit
  • Task 2: Precinct Tool Case Studies
  • Task 3: Electricity Demand Management
  • Task 4: Value Proposition of Low Carbon Living

Photovoltaic/thermal system for off-grid zero energy homes


The use of separate photovoltaic (PV) and thermal collectors for sufficient energy production for off-grid homes requires a large area of collectors, which increases the cost of energy supply systems and limits their implementation to locations where other sources of energy are either unavailable or expensive. The efficiency of such solar energy supply systems can be increased by integrating the PV modules with thermal collectors to form photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) collectors. This integration cools the PV cells; consequently increases the electrical efficiency and provides useful thermal energy simultaneously. Although PVT collectors can improve energy production, they have not been implemented in energy supply systems for off-grid homes. This research aims to use PVT collectors to develop an energy supply system for an off-grid home and to compare the system performance to that of separate PV and thermal collectors. This energy supply system will not only be useful for houses in remote areas but also for houses in areas where electricity grid exists, increasing the utilisation of renewable energy resources.

Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Reesarch Student:
Sleiman Farah
Project Title:
Photovoltaic/thermal system for off-grid zero energy homes
School: School of Engineering
Supervisors: Professor Wasim Saman, Dr David Whaley
Project Partner: Bluescope Steel

 

Maximising renewable energy in small community precincts

Meeting energy demand on a fixed income is a challenge faced by retiring ‘Baby Boomers’ in our rapidly ageing population.  At the same time, we need to move to cleaner energy sources.  The utilisation of low-energy design, solar thermal energy and solar photovoltaics, combined with energy storage and demand management, offer a promising solution to affordable low carbon living.  The project investigates how small community precincts can be designed and operated to maximise the use of renewable energy. Retirement villages are an ideal test-bed for trialling new technologies and systems that manage how much, and when, energy is used within a cooperating community. The project is identifing factors that can contribute to the successful implementation of 100% renewable energy use within such community precincts.


Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Research Student:
Kirrilie Rowe
Project Title:
Maximising renewable energy in small community precincts
School: School of Engineering
Supervisors: Dr Peter Pudney, Dr Stephen Berry
Project Partner: Breathe Retirement Village

 

Carbon reduction from composting food waste for food production

Food waste constitutes roughly half of municipal waste that is landfilled. Of all the strategies for diverting food waste from landfill, composting for food production achieves the highest GHG reduction. The full project will trial and model GHG reductions of scalable, socially sustainable and economically viable ways of producing compost for local food production from precinct food waste and assess the appropriateness of composting systems for different urban precincts.  The project involves the modelling of the uptake of carbon by the soil via various composting routes, and will use input-output analysis to estimate the whole of economy effects of diverting food waste through composting, quantifying the total carbon reduction including soil carbon.

Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Research Student:
Charles Ling
Project Title:
Carbon reductions from composting food waste for food production – modelling GHG reduction and abatement in urban recycling models
School: School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences
Supervisors: Professor John BolandDr Julia Piantadosi
Project Partner: Sustainability Victoria, Renewal SA, Melbourne Metropolitan Waste Management Group

 

Child friendly precinct design for low carbon living

Child-related car journeys are typically double that of journeys to work, and are rapidly growing with substantial negative health and carbon emission impacts.  Framing low carbon living developments through the perspective of children’s daily lives, this project will develop planning strategies to create precincts which are conducive to walking, cycling, and playing – precincts that are purposely child-friendly.  The project will provide the evidence base to improve precinct assessment tools and state planning instruments, leading to reduced private car use for education and childcare purposes, and associated carbon emission abatement.

Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Research Student:
Hulya Gilbert
Project Title:
Child friendly precinct design for low carbon living: improving policies and decision tools
School: School of Natural and Built Environments
Supervisors:  Dr Andrew Allan, Dr Johannes Pieters
Project Partner: Renewal SA

 

Optimising thermal comfort for two and three storey residential buildings

In Australia, the response to the shrinking of residential block size was going up.  Two story homes have become the norm for new housing, yet there is growing evidence that residential designs do not provide adequate levels of thermal comfort, particularly in upstairs zones.  Monitored data from Lochiel Park has found that zones on the second floor are significantly warmer in summer as compared to the lower level, and beyond reasonable levels of thermal comfort as defined by ASHRAE Standards.  This heightened level of discomfort is increasing the need for air-conditioning and associated energy costs, with further impacts on peak energy loads and anthropogenic climate change.

The project aims to identify cost effective architectural and technological solutions to optimise temperature distribution and comfort for two-story detached/attached homes or apartment buildings.  Drawing on monitored data to establish a detailed energy model of household thermal comfort, and local construction cost data, this project will develop strategies that can be readily implemented by the Australian housing industry.  The thermal comfort model will be generated using an enhanced version of CSIRO’s AccuRate software, which will facilitate the examination of various mechanical ventilation devices and design strategies not currently available in the commercial software release.  Outputs from this research will result in improved thermal comfort for householders, lower energy bills and reduced net greenhouse gas emissions.

Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Research Student:
Sormeh Sharifi
Project Title:
Optimising thermal comfort for two and three storey residential buildings
School: School of Engineering
Supervisors: Professor Wasim SamanDr Stephen Berry
Project Partner: Renewal SA, CSIRO

 

Transitioning Adelaide to Low Carbon Mobility

In the context of the Carbon Neutral Adelaide policy, the Government of South Australia and the Adelaide City Council are interested to support the CRC for Low Carbon Living to conduct high quality research exploring the policy instruments and actions that will facilitate a transition to low carbon impact mobility for the Adelaide City Council area.

The Carbon Neutral Adelaide consultation paper and statement of shared vision noted that transport is the second largest contributor of operational greenhouse gas emissions in the City, accounting for between 35-40% of the total carbon impact. In particular, passenger vehicles are estimated to contribute to approximately 99% of the total transport emissions. To achieve the policy outcome, it is important that mobility services that transport people and goods to and within the Adelaide City Council area, meet the needs of a dynamic economy but with a lower carbon impact.

This project will investigate the physical and social infrastructure needed to facilitate a rapid transformation towards low carbon mobility services in Adelaide, including but not limited to mobility services and activities such as walking and walking school buses, cycling, share bikes and electriv bikes, share cars, electric cars and scooters, electric buses and so on. The research is also exploring the policy settings and instruments that could facilitate the transformation, drawing on the evidence of succefful policies and programs instituted in other cities. 

Research Node for Low Carbon Living
Research Student:
Philip Chysostomou
Project Title:
Transitioning Adelaide to Low Carbon Mobility
School: School of Art, Architecture and Design
Supervisors: Dr Andrew Allan, Dr Stephen Berry
Project Partner: 
Government of South Australia, Adelaide City Council


Task 1: Co-Creation Toolkit

Co-creation is an emerging methodology that aims to connect researchers, industry, end users, and other stakeholders across all stages of a development process to shift from consultation to collaboration. To date, this methodology has been applied in information communication technology product development and health care service delivery with exceptional results. This project, as a part of the Adelaide Living Laboratory, is seeking to test whether the tools and techniques of co-creation can generate an environment in which the design and delivery of urban scale projects can take place in a collaborative rather than consultative way. This project will focus on evaluating the application of various tools and techniques to low-carbon urban development, and on analysing cross-disciplinary interactions and the non-monetary value exchanges that take place as a part of the co-creative process. This research aims to demonstrate that trans-disciplinary collaboration and end-user involvement in urban development can lead to better results for all involved.

Adelaide Living Laboratory
Research Student:
Aaron Davis
Project Title: Task 1: Co-Creation Toolkit
School: School of Art, Architecture and Design
Supervisors: Dr Jane AndrewDr Robert Crocker
Project Partner: 
Renewal SA

Task 2: Precinct Tool Case Studies

 

Adelaide Living Laboratory
Postdoctoral Fellow:
Dr Manj Agrawal
Project Title: Task 2: Precinct Tool Case Studies
School: School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences
Supervisors: Mr John Gelder
Project Partner: 
Renewal SA

Task 3: Electricity Demand Management

 

Adelaide Living Laboratory
Postdoctoral Fellow:
A/Prof Peter Pudney
Project Title: Task 3: Electricity Demand Management
School: School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. Wasim Saman
Project Partner: 
Renewal SA

Task 4: Value Propositioning of Low Carbon Living

Brownfields regeneration to create transit oriented developments is seen as a key mechanism to move to a low carbon built environment, but little is understood about the value of such developments to residents, the building sector or wider society. The creation of low carbon buildings, in a setting of mixed residential, retail and commercial usage, with high frequency public transit opportunities is expected to greatly reduce the carbon impact profile of the local community.  Yet, the literature also highlights many health and productivity benefits associated with thermally comfortable buildings, active transport opportunities and the social impact of changes to work/life dynamics.  These co-benefits are likely to play an important part in understanding the full value of low carbon transit oriented developments to all stakeholders.  This research project is designed to increase our understanding of the value associated creating the physical and social infrastructure required to deliver vibrant, socially inclusive, low carbon communities; as well as community scale energy, water, waste management, and transport systems that extend benefits beyond individual building boundaries.  The output goals include the determination of the value proposition from various perspectives and scales including households, urban developers, and the wider community.

Adelaide Living Laboratory
Research Student:
Catherine Kain
Project Title: Task 4: Value Propositoning of Low Carbon Living
School: School of Natural and Built Environments
Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Davidson, Dr Stephen Berry
Project Partner: 
Renewal SA

 

Areas of study and research

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