AIRAH’s inaugural Building Physics Forum pushes the envelope

Discussions on air movement, thermal performance, and the control of moisture across building envelopes were brought to the fore at AIRAH’s first-ever Building Physics Forum, held last week at Brisbane’s Stamford Plaza Grand Ballroom. 

With close to 80 delegates from across Australia in attendance, AIRAH’s Building Physics Forum provided an in-depth exploration into the ways of controlling flows across a building’s fundamental architectural elements and assemblies.

“Supported by a compelling line-up of expert speakers, I can say with confidence that the inaugural Building Physics Forum in Brisbane was a bona fide success,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. 

“Everyone in attendance was treated to the latest developments on topics relating to air movement and building envelopes, as well as air tightness, ventilation and thermal bridging. And, as always, there was plenty of thought-provoking discussion between presenters and delegates throughout the day – a hallmark of AIRAH’s conferences.”

Headlining the event was a keynote address from the founding director of the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC), Professor Paul Cooper, M.AIRAH.

In his presentation “Pushing the envelope: Building physics and improved indoor environments,” Cooper provided a comprehensive overview on the recent developments and efforts to improve the envelope and ventilation performance of buildings to better control our indoor environment.

Cooper also showcased the recent research findings on natural and mixed-mode ventilation systems and associated control systems, together with the latest research on thermal comfort in residential and high-performance buildings. Innovations and research on building envelope systems, such as innovative wall and façade systems, were also discussed. 

“Energy efficiency and health go hand in hand,” says Cooper. “It’s a real issue in Australia. And, while we’ve come a long way in building physics in just a few decades – we still have a long way to go.”  

A fellow speaker on the day, Mahmudul Hasan, M.AIRAH, from Certis Energy, presented on the NCC Section J Assessment and Compliance of residential aged care in hot and mild temperate climates. As another expert in the building physics space in Australia, Hasan believes the Forum should become an annual staple on the AIRAH conference calendar. 

“The Forum provides a significant insight to practitioners regarding what we do based on Codes, Standards and practices,” says Hasan. “It shows what we need to change and what needs more attention in the future. There is a lot happening in the industry, and many practitioners are not aware of these. Rather than just ignoring the issues, we must be more proactive and educate the building practitioners so they can make things right.”

Also providing their expert insight and expertise to the Building Physics Forum on the day were presenters Brett Beeson, M.AIRAH, from Lehr Consultants International; Dr Mark Dewsbury, M.AIRAH, from the University of Tasmania; Sean Maxwell, AM.AIRAH, from Efficiency Matrix; Andy Russell, M.AIRAH, from Proctor Group; Dr Clyde Anderson from Anderson Energy Efficiency; Jessica Hogg from Inhabit Group; and Chris Killoran from Arup.

Providing MC duties on the day was AIRAH executive manager – government and external relations Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH. He says that conferences such as the Building Physics Forum are ultimately about informing and educating the industry.

“At the end of the day, we want to deliver better indoor and outdoor environmental quality, and improve the overall comfort, wellness, and performance of people,” says Wilkinson. “It was important to hear from those at the forefront of local research, but it was also enlightening to get an international perspective. The inaugural Building Physics Forum provided everyone in attendance with a smorgasbord of technical information, but it also outlined a pathway to a healthier built environment overall.”

AIRAH thanks major sponsors Architectural Window Systems Ventient, as well as supporting sponsors the Australian Passive House Association, Bradford, Kingspan and Pro Clima.

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