| October 30, 2023

‘Pathways to Net Zero Precincts’ set to fast-track low carbon living

A Curtin University-led national research project to advance decarbonization in Australia, Pathways to Net Zero Precincts, has launched at the All Energy Conference in Melbourne today.

The groundbreaking initiative, led by the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and delivered through the Cooperative Research Centre, RACE for 2030, is dedicated to decarbonizing the built environment in partnership with industry. As the urgency of addressing climate change intensifies, the challenge of achieving precinct-level decarbonization becomes increasingly critical. This initiative aims to bridge the gap between research and practice to transform Australian precincts into net zero carbon environments, aligning with national and international climate commitments.

The collaborative project will focus on Australian precincts from five states to investigate how net zero emissions can be achieved on the most practical level. Precincts are those urban areas such as neighborhoods or campuses that include buildings, infrastructure, and green space. By using the precinct as the optimal scale for the transition to decarbonization, Pathways to Net Zero Precincts will test, experiment, and plan how to integrate and harness zero-carbon resources such as solar energy, batteries, electric vehicles, and smart integration systems in residential, mixed-use, and business precincts.

Curtin Dean of Sustainable Futures and project co-leader, Professor Josh Byrne, said he is excited to be part of this important initiative. “This is a significant multi-sectoral collaboration where researchers, industry, and government will work together to drive a significant shift in decarbonizing the built environment in Australia,” Professor Byrne said. “Research at the precinct level will allow us to test low-carbon energy solutions and work with stakeholders responsible for precinct planning, financing, delivery, and operations to map how they can be most easily adopted and integrated. Our goal is to ultimately see tested solutions delivered across cities and towns.”

Co-leader Professor Peter Newman from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute said the project will focus on various precinct types in different developmental stages and operational phases. “Researchers across five states will test, evaluate, and refine ideas, technologies, and tools for certification, grid integration, and governance models through place-based innovation and real-world projects,” Professor Newman said. “By documenting case studies and sharing insights, the project aims to accelerate the professional practice for achieving net zero outcomes across Australia.”

Jon Jutsen, CEO of RACE for 2030, said the Net Zero Precincts (NZP) project will be a game-changer. “NZP brings a strong focus on high-quality research to deliver direct and long-lasting real-world impacts through the delivery of precinct-level solutions at 13 locations in five Australian states. The NZP program will cover green and brown-field applications in residential, commercial, and mixed-use settings. Our research will derive best-in-class lessons on certification, governance, network integration, and apply world-class modeling tools that enable wide-scale adoption of NZPs across Australia,” Mr. Jutsen said.

Pathways to Net Zero Precincts is a joint initiative involving researchers from Curtin University, as well as more than 13 project partners from industry and government, including DevelopmentWA, Hesperia, Western Power, Cisco-Curtin Centre for Networks, and Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc).

For more on RACE for 2030 Pathways to Net Zero Precincts, visit here.

 

About RACE for 2030:

RACE for 2030 is an industry-led cooperative research center established in 2020 with $68.5 million of Commonwealth funding. The remainder of our resources come from our 80+ partners who cover the whole value chain from end users back to network, technology companies, governments, and many of Australia’s leading energy researchers. We will invest $350 million of resources over 10 years to catalyze lower energy costs and a substantial reduction in carbon emissions.

About Curtin University:

Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest university, with close to 60,000 students. In addition to the University’s main campus in Perth, Curtin also has a major regional campus in Kalgoorlie, and a campus in Midland, as well as four global campuses in Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, and Mauritius. Curtin staff and students come from Australia and over 120 other countries around the world, with half our international students studying at Curtin’s offshore campuses.

Curtin is ranked in the top one percent of universities worldwide, with the University placed 9th in Australia according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2022 and has achieved a QS Five Stars Plus rating, the highest available for a tertiary institution, and one of only five to do so in Australia.

The University has built a reputation around innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, being at the forefront of many high-profile research projects in astronomy, biosciences, economics, mining, and information technology. It is also recognized globally for its strong connections with industry and its commitment to preparing students for the jobs of the future.

For further information, visit curtin.edu.au.

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