Professor Janis Birkeland

Profile image of Professor Janis Birkeland

Personal details


Design tools, Eco-design, Eco-retrofitting, Ecosystem services, Green building, Sustainable architecture, Sustainable development, Urban design, Urban planning


Architecture, Design Practice and Management, Urban and Regional Planning

Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


  • PhD (University of Tasmania)

Professional memberships and associations

1.   National Co-President, Australian National Sustainability Initiative (ANSI) last 3 years
Its role is to initiate exemplars of Positive Development and to advance sustainability education.
This organization has members from a range of institutions, agencies, community organisations and businesses, such as ARUP, SSEE, AGDF, FWR, etc.  The team includes Yasu Santo, David Nielsen and Susan Loh from QUT.  Birkeland designed the Australian National Sustainability Centre proposed for the ACT and wrote the website materials.   See
2.  National Council Member, Australian Green Development Forum (AGDF) last 1 year
A balanced, non-profit coalition of members from development industries, government organisations and community groups interested in fostering sustainable development.
I helped convene and gave presentation at a joint SSEE, DEEDI and AGDF seminar on Positive Communities (derived from Positive Development) for 60 invitation only professionals and practitioners.  This should lead to a number of DEEDI supported ‘technical clinics’ on topics relevant to built environment sustainability and innovation to be run with QUT.  I was their representative to the Business Leaders Forum in 2010 in Canberra. see
3.  National Board Member, Zero Waste Australia (ZWA) last 3 years
ZWA promotes healthy communities without waste and meeting human needs through infrastructure design and resource use that works in harmony with natural systems.  Note that the website advertises that “members of Zero Waste Australia are leaders in net positive systems design” (ie reference QUT).  See  Affiliated with
4.  Vice President Canberra Environment Research and Sustainability Centre (CERASC) last 3 years  
Wide range of board members representing other organizations in southern NSW and ACT.  Will resign this year due to travel required.
5.  National Council, Green Infrastructure Network GINA last 1 year  
Conducting a major conference in 2012 in Brisbane  Affiliated with



  • Architecture and sustainability at QUT 7/2007 to present

  • Visiting Fellow, Australian National University 4/2004 to 6/2007

  • Taught professional development courses (UC and ANU) 8/2002 to 2/2007        

  • Senior Lecturer, Architecture, UC 7/1996 to 3/2004 

  • Guest lecturer, US Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago 2/2000 to 5/2000 

  • Director, Centre for Environmental Philosophy, Planning and Design, UC 6/1995 to 2/2000

  • Lecturer Architecture, UC 1/1994 to 7/1996  

  • Lecturer, Architecture, UTAS 1/1992 to 12/1993

Professor Birkeland set up and teaches the 4 subjects in a Minor in Sustainability which includes the following units.

  1. Greening the Built Environment (BEB902) looks at the basics of ‘passive systems’ and how to generate net Positive Development solutions, primarily at the building/landscape level; an architectural background is not required, but the focus is on buildings.

  2. Eco-innovation (BEB901) looks at the ‘creative process’ itself in terms of sustainability, across the different design disciplines; we focus on integrated approaches to environmental problem solving.

  3. Retrofitting for Sustainability BEB904 looks at ‘eco-logical design concepts’ from the products to bioregional scale; we concentrate on generating multi-functional solutions that increase ecological and social capital.4

  4. Greenhouse Solutions (BEB903) looks at what the different sectors can contribution in terms of business ‘solutions’, ‘appropriate’ energy and government policy; this may be run again as a guest lecture series with greenhouse experts from 12 different professions.

Birkeland has also been teaching:

  1. Sustainable Practice (BEN710) which is a postgraduate cross-disciplinary unit.


Selected publications

QUT ePrints

To find publications by Janis, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.