Mark Dewsbury, M.AIRAH
University of Tasmania

The modern conundrum: Greenhouse gas emissions versus building physics

For the last 14 years, University of Tasmania (UTAS) researchers have been at the forefront of condensation and mould risk associated with the development and application of energy-efficiency requirements to lessen the use of heating and cooling energy via the design and construction of thermally improved envelopes and air-tightness measures. This has included extensive reviews of the regulatory development in other nations; the use of non-transient simplified calculation methods; and, since 2017, the use of transient hygrothermal simulation tools. Much of this research has been made possible through funding from the government of Tasmanian – a place where the differences between indoor conditioned temperatures and outdoor temperatures can vary significantly. 

The last five years has seen extensive collaborative development of hygrothermal modelling and the development of a hygrothermal material testing laboratory. These activities have included co-authored research by UTAS, the Fraunhofer Institute of Building Physics, and medical researchers from Massey University. This year sees the completion of a four-year funded PhD project that has focused on a detailed analysis of the hygrothermal and human health impacts of the residential buildings’ energy-efficiency regulations since 2002. The findings have been used to inform state and national regulatory development within the Health and Amenity section of the National Construction Code. Similarly, 2021 will see the completion of three-and-a-half years of research within the hygrothermal testing laboratory, where soon to be published results are highlighting significant deficiencies in the current international standard and ASTM vapour resistivity testing methods. 
Dewsbury will provide an overview of the development of the UTAS research, current activities, and significant findings and future directions of the hygrothermal research program.  

About Dewsbury:
Dewsbury is passionate about the pathway to zero energy and sustainable buildings. His professional experience includes more than 30 years within public and private sectors. As a senior lecturer and post-doctoral researcher within Architecture & Design UTAS, his research focuses on methods of designing and building to improve construction, thermal performance, and indoor environmental qualities and minimise condensation risk in buildings. 

Dewsbury’s research provides input for NatHERS, building simulation programs, and the National Construction Code. Research collaborators include industry partners, CSIRO, and government agencies.