Matt Webb, M.AIRAH
What is an effective thermal envelope and does nature do it differently?
Australia’s building industry is gaining an understanding of a key component to energy-efficient building design: a well-insulated, airtight thermal envelope appropriate to local conditions. This is reflected in the update to the National Construction Code 2019, with an increased focus on Section J energy efficiency.
In light of recent market shifts, changes to the building code and an increased interest in Passive House, Webb and Hubbard ask the question: What is an effective thermal envelope?
The fundamentals of an energy-efficient building envelope appear generally consistent. Furthermore, animals and plants in the natural world employ similar strategies to achieve a shared objective: maintenance of comfortable temperatures with minimal energy exposure. This presentation reviews current approaches to building envelope design and contrasts these methods with heat-transfer strategies that have evolved in the natural world.
Webb completed his undergraduate studies with a double degree (Honours) in engineering and science at the University of Melbourne. After working in automotive manufacturing, HVAC consulting and in the biotechnology industry, Webb joined Umow Lai Consulting Engineers. For several years, he also undertook research into biomimetic building facades at the University of Melbourne, where he achieved his PhD in infrastructure engineering.
Webb continues to work at Umow Lai as a senior sustainability consultant and leads sustainability services on projects, specialising in energy-efficient design and data management. He continues to research biomimicry, biophilia and their application to the built environment – all the while tinkering with his crazy design concepts.
Hubbard achieved his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) and Associate Degree in Engineering Technology (Mechanical) from RMIT University. With more than three years of experience, Hubbard has engaged with sustainability consulting since completing an internship in the field.
He has since pursued his interests in efficient building envelopes and low-energy building design by becoming an accredited Passive House Designer.