Sustainable, Smart Buildings

Smart Sustainable Building Network

Designing future proof buildings through nanotechnology

Bridging academia, industry, and government, we develop nano-enabled smart solutions to create sustainable and net zero buildings.

About the Network

The Smart Sustainable Building Network (SSB) connects expertise at the University of Sydney in Engineering and Sciences with academics in Architecture, Design & Planning, Law, Business and Health to focus on global and national building sustainability priorities. Our multi-disciplinary research teams functionalise building envelopes through integration of nanotechnology, utilise smart nanosensors and filters for an improved indoor environment experience and leverage innovation of the nanoscale to increase the building energy efficiency as well to reduce construction cost and enable circular constructions.

SSB is Co-sponsored by Sydney Nano Director, Professor Stephen Bartlett and Associate Dean Research, Professor Ali Abbas.

Our purpose

  • Develop solutions on the nanoscale to reach ambitious targets for sustainability and net zero buildings, including measurements for cost, energy/water consumption, accepted metrics of construction efficiency (e.g., embodied energy), and building performance
  • Address building-related UN Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to Australian National Research Priorities as well as the University of Sydney Sustainability Strategies
  • Leverage cutting-edge multi-disciplinary research capabilities, particularly those that are anchored in nanoscale materials and nanotechnology that will lead to innovative capabilities with impact on the built-environment

Our research priorities

The SSB Network is structured in two categories, 'Smart Building Blocks' and 'Sustainable Building Management', comprising seven clusters with complementary research priorities:

Smart Building Blocks

Supporting tangible building assets. The clusters are: 

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Building Envelope

Applying the advantages of nanomaterials and nanostructured surfaces, the cluster creates solutions for building surfaces. Smart facades, roofs and windows become self-cleaning, control temperature, reduce noise and harvest and storage energy. 

Cluster Co-Chairs: Associate Professor Sandra Loschke and Professor Anna Paradowska

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Indoor Environment

The cluster integrates nanotechnologies in temperature, light and air quality control systems focusing on improvements in user wellbeing and living experiences.

Cluster Co-Chairs: Professor Richard de Dear and Dr Alex Y Song

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Building Efficiency

The cluster tackles efficiency challenges associated with energy, cost and time consumption for both building construction and operation developing innovative nanomaterials and applying efficient design principles to create  low carbon buildings. 

Cluster Co-Chairs: Dr Arianna Brambilla and Professor Yuan Chen

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Sensors and Automation

The cluster combines cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms with embedded smart sensors to design automated building systems and optimise functionality and energy consumption of the building operation. The team will shorten sensor design cycles which in turn maximise the design diversity of the next generation of smart sustainable building.

Cluster Co-Chairs: Professor Simon Fleming and Dr Ali Hadigheh

Sustainable Building Management

Supporting operational building management. The clusters are:

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Circular Construction and Supply Chains

The cluster aims to enhance energy efficiency in construction while minimising generation of building construction/operation wastes and significantly reducing the amount of virgin materials. This includes analysis of life cycle data of building structures using nano sensor technology. The team will focus on hybrid manufacturing and circular & sustainable construction.

Cluster Co-Chairs: Professor Ali Abbas and Associate Professor Arunima Malik

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Virtual Design & Construction

This cluster will focus on designing a virtual Carbon Neutral Building that is water and energy efficient, has improved air, light, acoustics, and product finishes, promotes physical activity, reduces waste, and considers climate change and environmental impacts in construction and operation.

Cluster Chair: Associate Professor Daniel Dias-da-Costa and Dr Mike Seymour

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Legislation, Regulations & Rating Schemes

The cluster will measure sustainability through the Living Building Challenge imperatives and 6-Star Green Star Rating accreditation, and define market transformation and advocate government legislative requirements.

Cluster Chair: Nicole Marchhart and Dr Katherine Owens