Sustainability and the Built Environment

As we face increasing natural disasters, including climate change, an urgent need arises for building and construction that respects environmental limits and uses resources responsibly.

The process of building and construction has a substantial impact on the environment. It accounts for almost half of our global energy use, about a third of greenhouse gas emissions and about a tenth of our water use. With increased urbanisation, these environmental impacts are expected to increase globally. There is therefore an urgent need for buildings and construction to follow a sustainable trajectory so that the environmental, economic and social performance of buildings and, thereby, cities may improve.

There are many opportunities to undertake research to reduce the impact of building and construction. Some of these opportunities include supporting and promoting policies for sustainable building and construction, enhancing the sustainability of the building supply chain, reducing climate impact and strengthening the resilience of the building and construction sector.

Research themes

Research in the sustainability and built environment area is undertaken within the Sustainable Building Innovation Laboratory (SBi Lab), a dedicated research lab supporting researchers in applied research, and providing independent consultancy services to industry. 

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SBi Lab

Research themes within SBi Lab span

  • Building energy efficiency and environmental performance
  • Building environment evaluation
  • Sustainability education for built environment professionals
  • Built environment design, policy and regulation
  • Building life cycle assessment.
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The Citizen Science Project

The Citizen Science Project brings together enthusiastic citizen scientists to measure urban heat island, overheating, and local climate change, providing the data required for citizens to understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat; and for policy makers to predict future health and energy needs and plan the urban built environment and open spaces.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer