Buildings and people

Globally, buildings and people’s activities in buildings are responsible for more than 30% of total energy use. The energy associated with producing buildings can also be equivalent to many years of operational energy. To meet long-term sustainable climate goals, buildings and people need to be an integral part of energy transition strategies.

The Centre for Clean Energy Technologies and Practices' Buildings and People program takes a multi-disciplinary and ‘whole systems’ approach to solving challenges associated with how people and buildings use energy and the associated environmental, social and economic impacts.

It encompasses the energy considerations of the whole lifecycle of buildings from cradle-to-cradle, including:

  • building product manufacture
  • building design
  • construction
  • operation
  • end-of-life re-purposing.

The program also considers the multiple human and societal aspects, such as:

  • occupant energy service needs
  • indoor environment quality and health
  • policy, standards, regulations and markets
  • asset management and optimisation
  • stakeholder and supply chain management
  • human behaviour
  • property economics.

Real-world innovation

The multidisciplinary program team are experienced fundamental and applied researchers with complementary expertise in the built environment, materials and building science, electrical and mechanical engineering, architecture and design, modelling and simulation, and environmental quality. The research team values national and international collaboration with both academia and industry, as well as the active engagement of building users and owners.

The program adopts a socio-technical, human-centred approach to identifying core challenges and innovative solutions in projects such as:

  • smart household appliances with improved energy efficiency
  • design and manufacture of sustainable building materials with long life, durability, recyclability and low carbon footprint
  • adaptation of renewable energy sources and technologies for the construction industry
  • building operation, optimization and predictive control to reduce energy demand and emissions, and optimize onsite renewable energy generation and storage
  • integrated design processes to maximise potential for natural lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling
  • future infrastructure for on-site renewable energy generation on buildings.

Learn more about creating better houses using systems thinking.

Our projects

Our research program team oversees the following projects.

Affordable heating and cooling

As part of the Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling, QUT is currently leading tests at its living laboratories: Queensland Children's Hospital and Fernhill Residential Aged Care.

Renewable, affordable and clean energy

QUT is a research partner in the RACE for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre, an industry-led research effort to drive energy innovation across the supply chain to deliver better value for energy customers.

Resilient cooling

QUT researcher Dr Wendy Miller is Australia's represenative on the International Energy Agency's Energy in Buildings and Communities Program for resilient cooling in buildings.

Air infiltration and ventilation

QUT is part of the international board of the International Energy Agency's Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre.

Value-added building materials from Queensland's natural resources

QUT researcher Associate Professor Yunfei Xi is working with Brickworks Ltd to develop new building products and improve the brick manufacturing process, quality and energy efficiency.

Air quality and health

QUT’s International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health is a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre that researches air quality (indoor and outdoor ultrafine particles and emissions) and its health effects.

Behavioural economics, society and technology

QUT is a national and international leader in applied behavioural insights and research, drawing on expertise in behavioural insights, as applied in economics and social marketing, while leveraging and amplifying QUT’s expertise in health, science, technology and creative industries.

Strategic asset management optimisation

Our researchers can help industry and government with complex long-term asset management and maintenance planning.

Developing new generation boards with natural minerals as additives and reinforcements

A project jointly funded by QUT and a local building materials manufacturer is investigating using Australian natural minerals as additives/reinforcements to improve the properties of building materials.

Program team

Associate Professor Wendy Miller

Energy, buildings and people

Program Leader

Associate Professor Yunfei Xi

Minerals and mineral materials

Program Leader

Dr Judith Herbst

Business management, social enterprise

Professor Melissa Haswell

Public health, social work

Professor Lidia Morawska

Air quality and health

Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett

Behavioural change, social marketing

Contact us

Centre for Clean Energy Technologies and Practices

Level 6, P Block
Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

Postal address

Centre for Clean Energy Technologies and Practices
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001