The Architecture of (Net) Zero Emissions Housing

By Caroline Pidcock
Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship

Dockside Green, Victoria BC Canada

The Australian Institute of Architects’ “Call to Action at Copenhagen 2009” states:
“The world faces a pressing challenge: maintaining and indeed improving standards of living and economic growth rates while reducing greenhouse gas emission and other negative environmental impacts. The architecture and built environment profession have a crucial role to play….. We believe it is the responsibility of the profession to make this call for action.”

In 2008 I discovered that the governments of the UK and Europe have been very proactive in approaching this issue. Regulations have been put in place that require new houses to achieve zero emissions from 2016 and 2019 respectively. I was impressed. If this can be undertaken in places with much more difficult climates than ours, surely we could – or really should – do the same?

In 2009, I was awarded a Byera Hadley Traveling Scholarship by the NSW Architects Registration Board to undertake research into “The Architecture of Zero Emissions Housing”. The project aimed to review international approaches to this in order to better understand the following:

  1. The policy and regulations that have been developed in various countries around the world
  2. The technical issues that are relevant to the achievement of net zero emissions housing
  3. The design challenges that need to be addressed by architects to achieve such outcomes

This report is a summary of the major issues and recommendations for how we should address them in Australia.