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Joint PhD with KU Leuven: EPiC Europe: a construction material environmental flow database for Europe

Chancellery Research and Enterprise

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Assoc Prof R Crawford No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Melbourne Australia Construction Management Pollution

About the Project

Our buildings and cities are responsible for a significant proportion of global environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, waste and pollution. Efforts to address these issues have predominately focused on operational performance such as improving the energy efficiency of building use. The environmental issues associated with material production are rarely considered as part of building and city design or construction. However, they represent an increasingly significant issue. Global interest in addressing these issues is rapidly growing.

For example, the World Green Building Council has called for all new buildings and infrastructure to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which includes material production‐related, or embodied emissions. Reliable and comprehensive data is essential for informing decision‐making to reduce these and other embodied environmental flows (e.g. energy, water etc.) associated with material production.

The recently released EPiC Database was developed to provide embodied energy, greenhouse gas emissions and water coefficients for the production of common construction materials in Australia, which had previously been lacking. While applicable to Australia, this database is less relevant to other regions of the world due to variations in material types, fuel mix and manufacturing processes. This project will develop a similar database for common construction materials used in Europe. Material production and national environmental account data will be collected for a number of European countries, beginning with Belgium, and used to develop the coefficients using the same unique and comprehensive hybrid technique used to produce the existing EPiC Database. The coefficients will then be analysed and tested on building projects in Belgium.

Funding Notes

The Universities of Melbourne and KU Leuven have created a new, joint PhD program. Joint PhD candidates spend a minimum of 12 months at each institution. PhD candidates engaged in the project will be enrolled at both institutions. Successful candidates will have access to support funding which includes tuition fee waivers, a full living allowance, health insurance and relocation support.


The project will be complemented by the project on Environmental benchmarks for residential buildings in Belgium based on a hybrid LCI and modelling approach and the collaboration will ensure a successful completion of the project.

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