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Program 2: Low Carbon Precincts

Infrastructure changes in the built environment, resulting from the expected 60 per cent growth in Australia's population by 2050, will significantly influence and entrench the way we consume energy and our resulting carbon signature. The Low Carbon Precincts program focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of our urban systems, with key consideration being given to integrating the interlinked aspects of energy, water, waste, transport and buildings - all of which have significant carbon signatures as well as human health impacts.

The challenge is to reduce the carbon footprint of precinct infrastructure through the development of better tools and planning techniques that will make low carbon infrastructure valuable and desirable to the buyer. As a result, low carbon precincts will be transformed into highly desirable lifestyle options. Improved planning of precincts will allow carbon footprint to be reduced to zero in the longer term, at the same time as quality of life continues to grow.

The program will develop new knowledge and tools that enable the design of, and stimulate the market for, low carbon infrastructure at the precinct scale. This will facilitate property developers and local government partners providing low carbon infrastructure development as well as redevelopment and retrofitting at the planning point of delivery.

An emphasis on research education and training in building information modelling (BIM), and extension to a new precinct scale (PIM) platform, will dramatically improve SME design productivity. Integrated tools will be developed for demand forecasting at the precinct level, covering energy, transport, waste and water. Design and assessment tools for precincts, focusing on low carbon performance, will be developed, applied and tested. Health and productivity co-benefits analysis will demonstrate the increased value and stimulate demand for low carbon precincts.

The proposed workflow structure for the Low Carbon Precincts program is indicated in Figure 1. It includes six connected work packages, which also link to the other programs in the CRC.

Figure 1: Workflow structure for Low Carbon Precincts