Study level

  • PhD
  • Honours


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor David Thambiratnam
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering

External supervisors

  • Nimal Perera, Robert Bird Group


We as engineers can make a contribution to address the current climate emergency.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council report (2016) found that if Australia's built environment sector reaches zero carbon emissions for the operation of residential and commercial buildings by 2050, it could contribute 28% to the country's 2030 emissions reduction target and save up to AU$20 billion.

In this project we will consider the application of the circular economy, which is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems, to the building sector.

Research activities

This project will consider the application of circular economy concepts to building sectors such as:

  • institutional buildings (schools and universities)
  • sports and recreational facilities (stadiums, athletes’ villages)
  • health and welfare facilities (hospitals, aged care facilities).

We will evaluate the potential for embodied carbon reduction in materials, manufacture, transport, end of life disposal, reuse, recycling and sequestration benefits.

The design will be rated based on measure of kg CO2e/m2 floor area of building in SCORS rating scheme. Guidance provided in How to Calculate Embodied Carbon published by IStructE and Embodied Carbon Tool developed by Elliott Wood Partnership Ltd/IStructE will be used to calculate kg CO2e/m2 floor area. ICE Data Base provides supplementary information for embodied carbon content in construction materials.

This project can accommodate up to 3 students, with each student choosing a typical building from the above facilities and requires adequate preliminary design to determine material content (structural design calculations not required).

Structural design concepts shall be based on circular economy principles to minimise carbon footprint to achieve the highest SCORS rating.

Typical architectural concepts for buildings will be provided. Access to calculation tools, data bases and reference materials are available.


The project aims to contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint in building construction and address the climate emergency.

Skills and experience

You  must be interested in an engineering response to climate emergency by reducing carbon footprint in building construction.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.