With demand for renewable energy supply and infrastructure increasing, the Research Node for Low Carbon Living is undertaking key research to understand the requirements for the planning and engineering of sustainable infrastructure. This also involves the evaluation and assessment of precincts using newly developed tools.

Research projects

  • ICM Precinct Carbon Assessment Tool minus-thick plus-thick

    Project Title: ICM Precinct Carbon Assessment Tool (RP2007u2)
    Project Leader: Dr Ke Xing
    Project Fact Sheet: ICM Precinct Carbon Assessment tool [PDF 1MB]
    Report: ICM Precinct Carbon Assessment tool conversion for cloud-based interfaces towards utilisation [PDF 6.6MB]

    The aim of this project is to convert the existing NCOS aligned ICM tool of Precinct Carbon Assessment (PCA) from an engineering software tool (MATLAB) to a more user-friendly and interactive cloud-based tool (the existing platform requires the researchers to program and give access to end-users).

    The Precinct Carbon Assessment (PCA) tool examines the whole life cycle of carbon emissions on a precinct scale and enables the exploration of different low carbon scenarios, calculating their carbon impacts.  

    UniSA Video
  • Integrated ETWW demand forecasting and scenario planning for precincts minus-thick plus-thick

    Project Title: Integrated energy, transport, waste and water (ETWW) demand forecasting and scenario planning for precincts (RP2002)
    Project Leader: Professor Michael Taylor
    Report: Integrated energy, transport, waste and water (ETWW) demand forecasting and scenario planning for precincts: final report  [PDF 6.5MB]

    Demand estimation for services and facilities is an important component of urban development, being required for the
    determination of the level of provision and coverage of infrastructure and related facilities to serve the needs of present
    and future populations. Demands and associated cabin impacts for the domains of energy, transport, waste and water
    (ETWW) are significant to planning agencies, infrastructure providers and operators and private developers who all need
    to deliver services and resources to urban precincts.

    This research project, conducted for the Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre, has developed a tool for
    integrated demand and carbon impact forecasting of ETWW demand at the precinct level, which supports scenario
    planning for alternative precinct development plans. This unique approach allows for interactions between the different
    demand domains and can accommodate the impacts of population changes, socioeconomic variables and household
    behaviour change in demand forecasting. Research efforts and the resulting tool has a focus on residential precincts in a
    mixed-use precinct context, providing a scientific and efficient basis for the assessment of the overall carbon impacts of
    urban developments or redevelopments. A broad range of demand estimates and related carbon impact estimates can be
    achieved at high levels of accuracy with scenarios recognising the inter-domain demand relationships that occur at a
    household level.

    UniSA Video
  • Energy benchmarking for efficient, low carbon water recycling operations minus-thick plus-thick

    Project Title: Energy benchmarking for efficient, low carbon water recycling operations
    Research Student: Ilda Clos 
    Publication: Clos I., Alvarez-Gaitan J.P., Saint C.P., Short M.D. 2019 "Energy Benchmarking for Efficient, Lower Carbon Wastewater Treatment Operations in Australia", Decarbonising the Built Environment.

    Recycled water systems must be further optimised to improve their energy and resource use efficiency, and to reduce the associated intensity of carbon emissions and operational costs. Using a range of full-scale Australian water recycling facilities as case studies, this project will employ a novel benchmarking approach to characterise current recycled water systems' performance and drive future optimisations. Research outputs will directly contribute toward more energy-efficient, cost-effective and lower CO2 emissions recycled water supply in Australia and will deliver a new methodology to enable similar optimisations internationally.

  • Operationalising Australian Energy Benchmarking for Efficient, Low-Carbon Wastewater Treatment minus-thick plus-thick

    Project Title: Operationalising Australian Energy Benchmarking for Efficient, Low-Carbon Wastewater Treatment
    Project Leader: Dr Michael Short
    Report: Operationalising Australian Energy Benchmarking for Efficient, Low-Carbon Wastewater Treatment
    Final Report  [PDF 0.8MB]

    Wastewater treatment plays a pivotal role in the protection of public and environmental health in urban
    precincts and in the recovery of scarce water and energy resources for an increasingly urban and growing
    global population. Yet wastewater treatment operations are among the most energy-intensive within urban
    precincts and so there is considerable scope to optimise wastewater treatment plants to improve their energy
    efficiency and reduce associated carbon emissions. One such approach used to realise energy efficiency
    savings is ‘energy benchmarking’ which is an approach whereby energy use key performance indicators are
    developed for a range of wastewater treatment plants and treatment processes and then used by industry to
    ‘benchmark’ current treatment process performance, and inform subsequent process optimisation
    requirements for future energy efficiency savings.

  • Maximising renewable energy in small community precincts minus-thick plus-thick

    Project Title: Maximising renewable energy in small community precincts
    Academic Unit: UniSA STEM
    PhD Student: Kirrilie Rowe
    Supervisors: Dr Peter Pudney, Dr Stephen Berry
    Project Partner: Breathe Retirement Village

    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 identifying factors that can contribute to the successful implementation of 100% renewable energy use within such community precincts.

    UniSA Video