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Cooper, Paul Senior Professor

Director, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)

  • Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences
  • Senior Professor - Sustainable Buildings Research Centre

Overview


Paul Cooper is a Senior Professor at the University of Wollongong (UOW) Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC). Paul served as the founding Director of the SBRC from 2010 until February 2020.

Paul has been involved in research on a wide variety of topics in sustainable buildings, energy systems, energy efficiency and fluid mechanics over the past thirty five years. He holds a bachelor in Electrical Engineering, a masters in Science and Technology Studies and a PhD in Heat Transfer, all from Imperial College London. He joined UOW as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UOW in 1988.

In 2019 Paul was awarded the James Harrison Medal of the Australian Institute for Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) – the highest honour bestowed by AIRAH on an individual (only 5 such awards were made in the previous 10 years). This award was made in recognition of a lifetime contribution to the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) industries.

Paul was the Head of the School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Wollongong prior to taking up his present appointment as the Founding Director of the UOW Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.

Paul was also the Faculty Advisor and the lead academic on the Team UOW Solar Decathlon China 2013 campaign. This project culminated in Team UOW winning the competition with the highest number of points scored by any team in the history of all the Solar Decathlon competitions around the world.

He also was one of the senior staff on the successful Team UOW Desert Rose Solar Decathlon House campaign. This two-year project culminated in the team winning second place in the Solar Decathlon Middle East Competition, held in the desert an hour's drive from Dubai in November 2018.

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • 1) Energy in Buildings
    - Net zero energy buildings.
    - Natural ventilation.
    - Air infiltration and energy consumption mitigation in older buildings.
    - Occupants and human factors involved in energy use in buildings.
    - Building Management Systems.
    - Energy Epidemiology acquisition and analysis of energy data.

    2) Retrofitting of Buildings for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
    - Optimal retrofit strategies for lower grade commercial buildings.
    - Retrofitting of residential buildings and aged care facilities.
    - Bushfire resilience of buildings.
    - Climate and storm resilience of buildings.

    3) Thermal comfort, indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency in aged care and dementia facilities.

    4) Renewable Energy Technologies.
    - Photovoltaic-Thermal (PVT) systems for buildings.
    - Smart grids/smart homes ¿ optimization of renewable energy and storage systems. for residential and other buildings.
    - Phase Change Material thermal storage systems.

    5) Ventilation, energy and pollution control in buildings.
    - Fundamentals of ventilation processes researched through analytical, numerical and experimental techniques.  
    - Experimental work includes scale modelling using saline solution techniques, Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), etc.
    - Field studies of ventilation in buildings.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • <p>The <a href="http://builtbetter.org/node/8142" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Guide to Implementing Low Carbon Retrofits for Social Housing </em></a>was developed to provide a simple to use reference for social housing asset managers and others involved in social housing upgrades to achieve improved energy performance and thermal comfort in their dwellings. The guide was developed in the aftermath of a long term engagement with housing providers and tenants, to understand existing maintenance and upgrading practices and the constraints that exist in this sector. Energy audits, energy and temperature monitoring were undertaken in a number of social housing properties around NSW, and the challenges facing vulnerable tenants were highlighted. <br /><br />The guide was designed to distil the complex process of energy auditing, energy monitoring and retrofit allocation undertaken the researchers into a a concise summary of effective energy efficiency options for social housing properties, that could support simple actions to improve management and tenant well being. The guide includes:</p><ul><li>Advice on priority upgrades;</li><li>Important things to consider when deciding whether to implement an upgrade;</li><li>Practical implementation advice to ensure the upgrade is implemented well;</li><li>Complementary retrofit considerations to make the most of opportunities as they arise;</li></ul><p><br /><br /></p>
  • In July 2018 ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia released their report: <em><a href="http://www.asbec.asn.au/research-items/built-perform/" title="Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code</a></em>. The report presents the findings of the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory project, an industry-led effort to support long-term improvements to the energy requirements of the National Construction Code.<br /> <br />Built to Perform was produced with the support of the <a href="http://lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-3-engaged-communities/sp0016-building-code-energy-performance-trajectory-project-2" title="Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living</em></a>, the RACV and dozens of building industry and government partners. The project was delivered in partnership with CSIRO, Energy Action, Strategy Policy Research and the <em><a href="https://sbrc.uow.edu.au/index.html" title="Sustainable Buildings Research Centre" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sustainable Buildings Research Centre</a></em> at the University of Wollongong, with oversight by ASBEC’s Building Code Task Group.<br /><br />The report recommends that the States, Territories and the Commonwealth:<br /><ol><li>Commit to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code, as part of a transition to net zero carbon new buildings by 2030. This would mean setting energy efficiency targets, and introducing net energy targets.</li><li>Deliver a step change in the energy requirements in the 2022 Code, with a strong focus on residential, and a further incremental increase in non-residential requirements.</li><li>Expand the scope of the Code and progress complementary measures, to prepare for future sustainability challenges and opportunities, including health, peak demand, maintainability, electric vehicles and embodied carbon.</li></ol><br />The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre was a key contributor to the project by completing an extensive number of building energy simulations for the project for numerous design changes to three defined archetype buildings (an apartment, an attached townhouse, and a detached standalone house) across four Australian climate zones. Please find a link to the <em>Built to Perform</em> report <a href="http://www.asbec.asn.au/research-items/built-perform/" title="Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. The full Final Technical Report containing the evidence supporting the <em>Built to Perform,</em> is currently being compiled by the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory project partners, and includes the University of Wollongong building energy simulation results, and will be released in August 2018.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Development of Evaluation Methods for the Effectiveness of Retrotits in Residential Buildings McDowell, Clayton
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Development and optimisation of an enthalpy recovery ventilation system Al-Bdoor, Ahmed Khafeef Obaid
    Doctor of Philosophy Thermal and Ventilation Performance of Existing and New-Build Mid-Rise Apartment Buildings Beltrame, Steven
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Moisture in vulnerable households: an interdisciplinary approach Pham, Vivian
    Doctor of Philosophy Thermal behavior of the “Desert Rose House 2018” in a defined climatic zone depending on varied wall and roof constructions Thim, Jacqueline
    Doctor of Philosophy Household Energy Efficiency and Comfort: Development of Building Simulation and Rating Tools that Incorporate Realistic Occupant Practices Wickrama Achchige, Dilini Nishadika Gunathilake

Awards And Honors


Teaching Overview


  • 2010-  Professor and Foundation Director, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)
    2008-2010  Head, School of Mechanical, Materials & Mechatronic Engineering, UOW
    1998-2010 Associate Professor, University of Wollongong
    1994 - 97  Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong.
    1988 - 93  Lecturer (Mechanical Engineering), University of Wollongong.
    1984 - 87  Research Associate, Built Environment Research Group (BERG), School of Architecture, University of Westminster, UK.
    1980 - 84  Research Assistant, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, UK (development of heat transfer enhancement systems).
    1976 - 77  Research Assistant, Association Scientific, Technical & Managerial Staffs, UK (development of Science Policy, Nuclear Energy policy etc).

    Visiting Fellow at Dept Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, UK (2004-2005).

    EPSRC Visiting Fellow at Dept Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) University of Cambridge (1997-2000).

Keywords


  • energy in buildings, energy efficiency, natural ventilation, computational fluid mechanics, renewable energy, indoor environmental quality

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • 1) Energy in Buildings
    - Net zero energy buildings.
    - Natural ventilation.
    - Air infiltration and energy consumption mitigation in older buildings.
    - Occupants and human factors involved in energy use in buildings.
    - Building Management Systems.
    - Energy Epidemiology acquisition and analysis of energy data.

    2) Retrofitting of Buildings for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
    - Optimal retrofit strategies for lower grade commercial buildings.
    - Retrofitting of residential buildings and aged care facilities.
    - Bushfire resilience of buildings.
    - Climate and storm resilience of buildings.

    3) Thermal comfort, indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency in aged care and dementia facilities.

    4) Renewable Energy Technologies.
    - Photovoltaic-Thermal (PVT) systems for buildings.
    - Smart grids/smart homes ¿ optimization of renewable energy and storage systems. for residential and other buildings.
    - Phase Change Material thermal storage systems.

    5) Ventilation, energy and pollution control in buildings.
    - Fundamentals of ventilation processes researched through analytical, numerical and experimental techniques.  
    - Experimental work includes scale modelling using saline solution techniques, Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), etc.
    - Field studies of ventilation in buildings.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • <p>The <a href="http://builtbetter.org/node/8142" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Guide to Implementing Low Carbon Retrofits for Social Housing </em></a>was developed to provide a simple to use reference for social housing asset managers and others involved in social housing upgrades to achieve improved energy performance and thermal comfort in their dwellings. The guide was developed in the aftermath of a long term engagement with housing providers and tenants, to understand existing maintenance and upgrading practices and the constraints that exist in this sector. Energy audits, energy and temperature monitoring were undertaken in a number of social housing properties around NSW, and the challenges facing vulnerable tenants were highlighted. <br /><br />The guide was designed to distil the complex process of energy auditing, energy monitoring and retrofit allocation undertaken the researchers into a a concise summary of effective energy efficiency options for social housing properties, that could support simple actions to improve management and tenant well being. The guide includes:</p><ul><li>Advice on priority upgrades;</li><li>Important things to consider when deciding whether to implement an upgrade;</li><li>Practical implementation advice to ensure the upgrade is implemented well;</li><li>Complementary retrofit considerations to make the most of opportunities as they arise;</li></ul><p><br /><br /></p>
  • In July 2018 ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia released their report: <em><a href="http://www.asbec.asn.au/research-items/built-perform/" title="Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code</a></em>. The report presents the findings of the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory project, an industry-led effort to support long-term improvements to the energy requirements of the National Construction Code.<br /> <br />Built to Perform was produced with the support of the <a href="http://lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-3-engaged-communities/sp0016-building-code-energy-performance-trajectory-project-2" title="Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living</em></a>, the RACV and dozens of building industry and government partners. The project was delivered in partnership with CSIRO, Energy Action, Strategy Policy Research and the <em><a href="https://sbrc.uow.edu.au/index.html" title="Sustainable Buildings Research Centre" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sustainable Buildings Research Centre</a></em> at the University of Wollongong, with oversight by ASBEC’s Building Code Task Group.<br /><br />The report recommends that the States, Territories and the Commonwealth:<br /><ol><li>Commit to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code, as part of a transition to net zero carbon new buildings by 2030. This would mean setting energy efficiency targets, and introducing net energy targets.</li><li>Deliver a step change in the energy requirements in the 2022 Code, with a strong focus on residential, and a further incremental increase in non-residential requirements.</li><li>Expand the scope of the Code and progress complementary measures, to prepare for future sustainability challenges and opportunities, including health, peak demand, maintainability, electric vehicles and embodied carbon.</li></ol><br />The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre was a key contributor to the project by completing an extensive number of building energy simulations for the project for numerous design changes to three defined archetype buildings (an apartment, an attached townhouse, and a detached standalone house) across four Australian climate zones. Please find a link to the <em>Built to Perform</em> report <a href="http://www.asbec.asn.au/research-items/built-perform/" title="Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. The full Final Technical Report containing the evidence supporting the <em>Built to Perform,</em> is currently being compiled by the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory project partners, and includes the University of Wollongong building energy simulation results, and will be released in August 2018.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Development of Evaluation Methods for the Effectiveness of Retrotits in Residential Buildings McDowell, Clayton
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Development and optimisation of an enthalpy recovery ventilation system Al-Bdoor, Ahmed Khafeef Obaid
    Doctor of Philosophy Thermal and Ventilation Performance of Existing and New-Build Mid-Rise Apartment Buildings Beltrame, Steven
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Moisture in vulnerable households: an interdisciplinary approach Pham, Vivian
    Doctor of Philosophy Thermal behavior of the “Desert Rose House 2018” in a defined climatic zone depending on varied wall and roof constructions Thim, Jacqueline
    Doctor of Philosophy Household Energy Efficiency and Comfort: Development of Building Simulation and Rating Tools that Incorporate Realistic Occupant Practices Wickrama Achchige, Dilini Nishadika Gunathilake

Awards And Honors


Teaching Overview


  • 2010-  Professor and Foundation Director, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)
    2008-2010  Head, School of Mechanical, Materials & Mechatronic Engineering, UOW
    1998-2010 Associate Professor, University of Wollongong
    1994 - 97  Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong.
    1988 - 93  Lecturer (Mechanical Engineering), University of Wollongong.
    1984 - 87  Research Associate, Built Environment Research Group (BERG), School of Architecture, University of Westminster, UK.
    1980 - 84  Research Assistant, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, UK (development of heat transfer enhancement systems).
    1976 - 77  Research Assistant, Association Scientific, Technical & Managerial Staffs, UK (development of Science Policy, Nuclear Energy policy etc).

    Visiting Fellow at Dept Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, UK (2004-2005).

    EPSRC Visiting Fellow at Dept Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) University of Cambridge (1997-2000).

Keywords


  • energy in buildings, energy efficiency, natural ventilation, computational fluid mechanics, renewable energy, indoor environmental quality

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