Skip to main content

Event Format
The series is run virtually as 5 x 2 hour sessions over 5 weeks.
12pm - 2pm AEST, from Tuesday 30 July 2024 - Tuesday 27 August 2024. 

Each session included 2 - 3 presentations followed by a panel discussion. See below for the programme.

SESSION  1 |  The latest climate science and the urgency for action

 Tuesday 30 July, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST

We kick off the series with a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the environment, with a specific focus on the implications of increasing global temperatures. This sets the context and scene for what we are trying to achieve. Why is it necessary to achieve net zero as soon as possible? Let's put it all in context. We address the multifaceted effects of climate change and the urgent need for global awareness and action.


Tina Perinotto, Managing Editor, Founder, The Fifth Estate


Bruce Precious, Principal Consultant, Six Capital Consulting
Transforming the market for net zero emissions - your role in accelerating progress to net zero scope 3 - now
Bruce will discuss often misunderstood but critical components of emission reductions, namely scope 3, and why we should be aiming to make these zero.

Philip Oldfield, Head of School, Built Environment, UNSW
The Building Paradox
There are few things we can do that benefit society more than building. Creating housing, hospitals, community places and more. The United Nations suggest globally we should be building around 96,000 new affordable and accessible homes every day. Yet, for each square metre we build, there are significant environmental impacts through both the materials we use, and the energy we need to operate the space. This presents a paradox; projections anticipate we will double current global building stocks by 2060, during the exact same time period as we need to get down to ‘net zero’. How do we achieve necessary growth, in an equitable manner (in particular for developing economies), that does not blow our carbon budget? This presentation examines this conundrum. It explores the decisions and trade-offs we face and presents studies at both the building and national scale with a particular focus on embodied carbon and the different methods we use to measure this.


SESSION  2 | AI tools to help us reach net zero

 Tuesday 6 August 2024, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST

We explore the diverse applications of AI in enhancing the functionality, efficiency, and sustainability of building systems, from feasibility stage through to fine tuning of existing buildings. The objective is to provide a thorough understanding of how AI-driven technologies are reshaping the landscape of building services, offering innovative solutions to contemporary challenges.


Dr Mark Davie, CIBSE ANZ Chair & Technical Director, Aurecon 


Maria Mingallon, Knowledge and Information Manager, AI and Data, Mott MacDonald


SESSION  3 | Tools for passive design 

 Tuesday 13 August, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST 

Examining the built environment from large to small, we will cover passive measures to create resilient and healthy places and reduce operational carbon emissions. Starting with precinct design, it is critical to review mitigation strategies for the urban heat island effect in both new and existing areas. Looking closer, attention should be given to built form and facade design, balancing embodied and operational carbon to achieve net zero targets. Lastly, we delve into building interiors, considering layout, use/function, and passive measures such as natural ventilation to enhance thermal comfort through modeling.



Maíra André, PhD, Research Associate, Indoor Environmental Quality Lab, The University of Sydney
Overheating criteria for Australian residential context
One important strategy for reducing housing energy consumption is designing for effective natural ventilation, which reduces the necessary space heating and cooling hours. At the same time, as heat waves become more common, designers need to account for the overheating risks of applying natural ventilation. CIBSE TM59 presents one of the few regulatory methods to evaluate overheating and could be used to avoid this problem. However, this tool was developed for temperate climates, such as those in the UK, and it is important to assess its applicability in the Australian context. The comparison of data collected in more than 140 dwellings in Sydney and Brisban indicates the thresholds for sleeping environments could be loosened. Most bedrooms do not comply with CIBSE requirements and present more than 1% of sleep hours under temperatures higher than 26 °C. On the other hand, occupants’ responses show the likelihood of warmth discomfort during sleep is lower than 20% when the indoor temperature is below 29 °C. Therefore, the 26 °C limit for the whole yearmay be too strict for use in naturally ventilated homes in subtropical regions of Australia.

Alex Bogdanova, Sustainability and Advanced Computational Design Lead SA, Mott MacDonald
Urban Heat Island Effect - Digital Design for Healthy Precincts
Up until now Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) wasn’t well addressed through scientific measures during the design process. Digital Excellence in Precinct Design provides tools to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect and the opportunity to create healthier, safer, and more resilient places.


Andrew O’Donnell, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)
In the design of Net Zero buildings,  the façade has a significant effect on every element of whole life carbon: upfront embodied carbon, operational carbon and lifetime embodied carbon. The configuration of façade components plays a key role in moderating internal and external temperatures and by extension the operational carbon emissions of a building. There is a balance to be struck between reductions in operational carbon moderating the internal environment and the embodied carbon used to construct the façade which provides an environmental buffer. In addition, façades components will be replaced during the life of a building. This presentation will highlight the key issues in relation to each aspect of how façade design can contribute to Net Zero design.


SESSION  4 | Learnings from, and modifications to existing buildings

 Tuesday 20 August, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST 

The retrofitting of existing buildings represents a critical area in the pursuit of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. 80% of buildings that will be in use in 2050 are already built, so they cannot be ignored when looking at the journey to net zero. This week we look at optimisation of existing buildings and what can be done to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions in a practical manner. A huge part of this journey is the replacement of fossil fuel heating with all electric alternatives. We dive back into the world of heat pumps and design considerations.


James Moyes, Technical Director, Energy Sector, VA Sciences



Eoin Loughnane, Manager NSW/ACT A.G. Coombs Advisory
There can be a misconception that electrification projects are a straightforward swap out of gas for electricity. They’re rarely that straightforward!  This talk will cover key considerations and specific actions needed to navigate heat pump retrofit projects.  We will cover several case studies to outline some challenges that arose and lessons learnt.


Michael Snow, Freelance Consultant, Energy Advisory
Electrification of heating hot water at brownfield sites that use gas boilers is not easy. There are a lot of technical considerations that engineers need to weigh up during solution development and almost always, design compromises will need to be made. These compromises cannot be reasonably avoided in the majority of cases and they are what we often struggle the most with because these introduce risks that cannot be ignored.

However, there are approaches that can be used to address these risks so that the most serious issues can be mitigated and those remaining can be controlled and managed. My presentation will take you through several risk weighted approaches to formulate and quantify the solution design, understand actual operational issues and address and design compromises that may be necessary to deliver an electrified, net zero heat pump heating solution. 



Iain Stewart, Co-Founder & CFO, Exergenics
Harassing the Power of Historical Data: Doing More With Less
In this presentation, we delve into the significant role of high-quality historical data in boosting the efficiency and sustainability of commercial building systems through modern techniques such as simulation, optimization, and model predictive control. Attendees will explore strategies for maximizing building operations and climate impact by optimizing existing systems before retrofitting, and understand the critical role of rigorous Measurement and Verification (M&V) in ensuring that energy savings and efficiency gains are realized and sustained. This session promises to equip stakeholders with actionable insights to effectively harness historical data for smarter, more sustainable building management.

SESSION  5 | Importance of culture; briefing tools & soft skills

 Tuesday 27 August, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST 

In the final day of the series we will focus on setting the scene and getting projects right from the start. Specifically we look at the interplay of briefing tools, soft skills, and cultural considerations in design. These key themes are examined to understand their collective impact on achieving sustainable outcomes. By studying these elements, we hope to show how they synergistically enhance sustainable building services and can suggest future directions for research and development in these areas to further advance the field of sustainable building design.


Jennifer Elias, Sustainability & Building Performance, Atelier Ten


Michael Calcoen, Technical Director, Built Environment, Mott MacDonald 


Share this page