Buildings contributing to a zero carbon grid


Like major economies and institutions around the world, owners and operators of large commercial, residential and institutional buildings in Australia are increasingly committed to Net Zero Carbon targets. Such targets raise optimisation questions (for individual buildings, organisations and institutions) that arise when the increasingly dynamic nature of energy generation, distribution and usage is considered.

This research will draw upon a large (and constantly updating) database of energy and other metering, weather and IoT data from hundreds of commercial and institutional buildings across Australia and internationally managed by Buildings Alive. The research will focus on analysis of this unique dataset in the context of its real-world energy and carbon implications and will be rooted in questions of energy engineering. However, the research process could draw on methods from any of applied statistics, machine learning, computer science, building physics, social science and economics.

This PhD will also be supported by an Industry Reference Group (IRG) throughout the project.

The specific area of research will be determined in consultation with the industry partner, research supervision team and IRG during the first 6 months of the PhD and may relate to one or more of the following:


  • Operational/engineering methods for harnessing the ‘active efficiency’ potential of buildings;
  • The scale of opportunity considered from various perspectives, e.g., commercial, economic (societal), environmental;
  • Significant statistical challenges associated with forecasting and feedback;
  • Application and benefit of various technologies, in particular controls, sensors, IoT devices.
  • Implications for network management, energy market design and policy



  1. Scholarships are available for Australian residents and citizens. We encourage femaleidentifying or Indigenous applications. Offshore applications will not be accepted.
  2. Applicants should have a first-class Honours or Masters degree or equivalent in a related discipline, OR a combination of an upper second-class honour’s degree or equivalent in a related discipline together with a minimum of five years equivalent full-time professional work experience in a relevant field.
  3. Applicants must be eligible for enrolmment in a PhD program at UNSW, including minimum entry requirements and English language requirements.
  4. Applicants must study full time. 





$38,000 + $3,000 pa expenses