Sydney academic leads sustainable charge into East Asia

17 August 2010

Professor Richard de Dear, from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, is spearheading collaborative research in thermal comfort with leading institutions on China and Japan.

With indoor climate control for thermal comfort the leading energy end-use within buildings, more and more research projects are exploring climate conscious design, new building technologies and integrated energy concepts in leading architecture and design schools throughout the world.

Over the last 30 years, Professor Richard de Dear has become acknowledged as a leader in the field of human thermal comfort, with his research being written into regulatory standards in the US, Europe, and most recently Asia. In April this year Professor de Dear was appointed to an expert panel to assist the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People's Republic of China in the drafting of a thermal comfort standard for China. Professor de Dear was also invited to Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China's leading universities, as well as Tokyo Polytechnic University in Japan. In both instances, as visiting professor he has been delivering seminars, running workshops, as well as providing research advice to growing numbers of PhD students pursuing thermal comfort and sustainable design projects in these countries.

Professor de Dear has specifically been working with colleagues in Beijing and Tokyo on optimizing the use of natural ventilation as an alternative to air conditioning for thermal comfort inside buildings. "It's interesting that my expertise is finding so much traction in these countries because of their concerted effort to reign in the carbon footprint. Meanwhile back here in Australia leading politicians are yet to decide if climate change is real enough to warrant action. It's just a bit ironic, especially in a country like Australia which is so incredibly climate-sensitive."

Visiting professorships are an essential tool in sharing expertise between leading research institutions with Sydney also receiving visiting professors from around the world. They can deliver lasting benefits, such as when Andreas Wagner, Professor of Building Physics and Technical Building Services from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, developed with faculty staff a new program in Sustainable Building Simulation Concepts.

Contact: John Elliott

Phone: 02 9351 7591

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