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Open day for new building and infrastructure research centre

Open day for new building and infrastructure research centre

Two former state houses have been relocated to a site in Ardmore as part of the University of Auckland’s new Sustainable Built Futures Centre which will provide a testing-ground for improvements in the energy-efficiency and liveability of New Zealand homes.

Sustainable Built Futures Centre which will provide a testing-ground for improvements in the energy-efficiency and liveability of New Zealand homes.

The University is inviting industry, Council and anyone working in the built environment to an Open Day at the 11-ha site at Ardmore where the timber-framed, concrete tile homes will be available for testing and research by New Zealand building companies, Auckland Council and students.

A major focus of the Centre will be to provide a real-world, large-scale research site for New Zealand industry to trial new building products and materials and for students to explore innovative engineering design concepts related to sustainable living.

“This Centre is also an opportunity for our students to carry out research ranging from the physics of buildings to understanding the changes in infrastructure needed for the future,” says Centre co-director Associate Professor Carol Boyle of the University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“We don’t really have research that tells us what a good-functioning building is in New Zealand, for example what is the optimum level of insulation for our homes? Should we be installing double-glazing? Should we all be installing rain tanks? Wind turbines? Those are just some of the questions we hope this project will help answer.”

Monitoring devices installed in the homes will generate benchmark data before research begins. Potential projects identified by the University include new frost protection techniques for the New Zealand wine industry and retrofitting of low-cost energy technologies.

Centre co-director Professor Geoff Austin of the University of Auckland’s Department of Physics has research interests in alternative energy including tidal turbine and solar power and says the site and the two classic timber-framed houses offer opportunities for research not available elsewhere in Auckland.

“The Ardmore site provides space for research on a real-world scale where we will be able to compare specific upgrades and renovations to the buildings and measure their benefits against the benchmark data we will have collected,” he says.

The Sustainable Built Futures Centre will work closely with the University of Auckland’s Transforming Cities research initiative, a cross-disciplinary urban studies project that focuses on questions of major socioeconomic and environmental significance.

The Open Day is from 12 noon to 3pm on Friday, 28 February and will be held at 79/81 Mullins Road, Ardmore.


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