Jack Tan
University of Tasmania

Retrofits for 2050 zero carbon housing – Some thoughts on interior environmental qualities

For the last few decades, the international focus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy used to heat and cool houses has looked at new buildings. For the last 10 years, this has increasingly included the retrofit of existing housing. In Australia, and to meet long term carbon emission reduction targets, recent discussions have started to include the need to legislate energy-efficiency upgrades for existing owner-occupied and rented housing. To-date, the (singular) approach has been very similar in nature to methods adopted for new housing. This has led to significant condensation, moisture accumulation, and mould growth problems in housing constructed since 2005.

Tan’s research explores the dilemma of the urgent need to improve the energy-efficiency of existing dwellings, while also ensuring high indoor air quality. The IAQ approach has been taken as it not only requires appropriate air temperature, but also requires minimal harmful gases, adequate ventilation, and the mitigation of mould growth and spores.

The first stage of the research has explored national and international methods that measure energy-efficiency and IAQ, with a focus on the tools a design professional could use to inform the design and documentation processes, and to demonstrate regulatory compliance. The research has identified distinct gaps in these tools and significant risks to consumers, such that the IAQ of retrofitted homes may become significantly unhealthy. This presentation will start to explore and explain some of these gaps.

About Tan: 
Tan is a PhD student in Mark Dewsbury’s architectural science lab at the University of Tasmania. His research area is in improvement strategies to existing housing in achieving healthy indoor environmental qualities and energy-efficiency. Tan has been a registered architect in Singapore since 2005. His passion is in the technical execution of architectural design to bring out the beauty of architecture.  

Before embarking on his research, he worked for over 25 years in private practices in Singapore, Paris, Shanghai, and Beijing on high-density residential and non-residential projects. Since 2018, he is a member of Singapore Institute of Architects (SMAP) committee.