Research on improving façades underway
Dr Tuan Ngo and Dr Lu Aye from the University of Melbourne have begun conducting research that looks into improving energy efficiency, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving better wind, fire, blast and impact resistance.
Researchers from the School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne have found that buildings with glazed façade systems could consume high amounts of energy for heating and cooling, amounting to up to 60 to 70 percent of operational costs.
Multi-skin façade systems have been noted as a sound choice for improving the sustainability of commercial buildings. In addition, many modern buildings use glazed multi-skin façades as they are aesthetically appealing. One example is the use of a multi-skin façade system in the redevelopment of the former CUB site on Swanston Street in Melbourne.
However, the performance of multi-skin façade systems under extreme conditions – such as fire, blast, wind and impact – has not been well-investigated. Thus, Dr Tuan Ngo and Dr Lu Aye from the University of Melbourne have begun conducting research that looks into improving energy efficiency, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving better wind, fire, blast and impact resistance.
Dr Ngo and Dr Aye will consider the climate variations within Australia and testing of new products will be conducted in a number of Australian sites. For Northern Australia, for example, where cyclonic conditions are more prevalent, more durable layers of skins may be required.
Supported by a $1 million grant from the Australian Research Council and the international company Permasteelisa Group, this work will significantly advance the understanding of multi-skin façades and enhance the capabilities of Australian façade manufacturers and engineering.
Dr Ngo comments, “We anticipate that this research will impact upon the future façade design of new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings. We are targeting two key national research priorities, working for Australian industry and safeguarding Australia.” He adds that the research and subsequent technology is highly valued, tradable and critical for sustainability, safety, security and economic longevity.