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‘Pathways to Net Zero Precincts’ set to fast-track low carbon living

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A Curtin University-led national research project to advance decarbonisation in Australia, Pathways to Net Zero Precincts has launched at the All Energy Conference in Melbourne today.

The groundbreaking initiative, led by the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, and delivered through the Cooperative Research Centre, RACE for 2030, is dedicated to decarbonising the built environment in partnership with industry.

As the urgency of addressing climate change intensifies, the challenge of achieving precinct-level decarbonisation becomes increasingly critical. This initiative aims to bridge the gap between research and practice, to transform Australian precincts into net zero carbon environments, aligning with national and international climate commitments.

The collaborative project will focus on Australian precincts from five states to investigate how net zero emissions can be achieved on the most practical level. Precincts are those urban areas such as neighbourhoods or campuses that include buildings, infrastructure and green space.

By using the precinct as the optimal scale for transition to decarbonisation, Pathways to Net Zero Precincts will test, experiment and plan how to integrate and harness zero-carbon resources such as solar energy, batteries, electric vehicles and smart integration systems, in residential, mixed use and business precincts.

Curtin Dean of Sustainable Futures, and project co-leader, Professor Josh Byrne said he is excited to be part of this important initiative.

“This is a significant multi-sectoral collaboration where researchers, industry and government will work together to drive a significant shift in decarbonising the built environment in Australia,” Professor Byrne said.

“Research at the precinct level will allow us to test low-carbon energy solutions and work with stakeholders responsible for precinct planning, financing, delivery and operations to map how they can be most easily adopted and integrated. Our goal is to ultimately see tested solutions delivered across cities and towns.”

Co-leader Professor Peter Newman from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute said the project will focus on various precinct types in different developmental stages and operational phases.

“Researchers across five states will test, evaluate and refine ideas, technologies and tools for certification, grid integration and governance models through place-based innovation and real-world projects,” Professor Newman said.

“By documenting case studies and sharing insights, the project aims to accelerate the professional practice for achieving net zero outcomes across Australia.”

Jon Jutsen, CEO of RACE for 2030 said the Net Zero Precincts (NZP) project will be a gamechanger.

“NZP, brings a strong focus on high-quality research to deliver direct and long-lasting real-world impacts through the delivery of precinct level solutions at 13 locations in five Australian states. The NZP program will cover green and brown-field applications in residential, commercial and mixed-use settings. Our research will derive best-in-class lessons on certification, governance, network integration and apply world class modelling tools that enable wide-scale adoption of NZPs across Australia,” Mr Jutsen said.

Pathways to Net Zero Precincts is a joint initiative involving researchers from Curtin University, as well as more than 13 project partners from industry and government including DevelopmentWA, Hesperia, Western Power, Cisco-Curtin Centre for Networks and Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc).

For more on RACE for 2030 Pathways to Net Zero Precincts visit here.

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