Buildings First: Design for the Extremes

Buildings First: Design for the Extremes

Building First: Design for the extremes. 

10 April 2024

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue: Gibson Room, Z Block, Level 10, Gardens Point Campus, Queensland University of Technology.


We are already glimpsing the kinds of impending climate chaos that will result from a heating world as the 1.50C Paris barrier is already being broken. The two great challenges of our age are to a) reduce emissions from buildings and b) reinforce buildings to withstand more extreme weather. Historic efforts to increase the Energy Efficiency of building stocks have largely resulted in ever more dependence on mechanical systems.

The consequence is catastrophic for the global climate as increasing energy use is responsible for buildings now producing nearly 40% of global green-house gas emissions (GHGs). 

New thinking is urgently needed. A step change is happening with the move to defining and developing Energy Sufficient buildings, and only when perceived to be necessary is heating and cooling needed. Sufficient design thinking moves us back to notions of Natural Energy buildings that can run for as much of the year as possible on free local energy.

They are also necessarily more Resilient buildings that can keep occupants thermally safe during ever more extreme weather events and trends, even when power grids fail. This talk touches on the difference between those efficiency and sufficiency approaches and looks at lessons that can be learn from vernacular architecture starting in the cold from where Roaf is working with the Portuguese ProPolar team in early February 2024 at the Escudero Base on King George Island, Antarctica.

Then into hot climate examples from the Middle East and Australia. Discussions after talk will encourage the sharing of more key lessons from the audience on how the vital lessons can be learnt from traditional master builders to keep us all safer in future buildings? 




Susan Roaf (B.A.Hons, A.A. Dipl., PhD, ARB, FRIAS) is Emeritus Professor of Architectural Engineering at Heriot Watt University and is an award-winning architect, author and teacher. She has written and edited 22 books on solar and sustainable design, thermal comfort and climate change adaptation and is currently championing natural ventilation and extreme design. 


Non-Members $20
Member $15
QUT Staff can access member pricing via discount code




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