Maximising the sustainability of our urban buildings.

Maximising the sustainability of our urban buildings.

Sustainable urban infrastructure

CSIRO's Urban Infrastructure research group is working to improve the whole-of-life built environment performance through the development of new technologies, methods, models and tools.

  • 28 February 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011


CSIRO has a significant capability to research the performance of and development approaches to urban infrastructure.

Our Urban Infrastructure research group is developing and providing the models, tools and technologies to assess the impact of the built environment systems on the natural environment and the economy.

Key science foci include:

  • measuring performance indicators, targets and benchmarks
  • sensing and monitoring of physical performance measures
  • risk modelling and resilience
  • asset and facility management
  • sustainable workplaces and productivity.

The research is helping inform how Australia - one of the most urbanised countries in the world - can work towards greater urban sustainability.

Urban infrastructure research aims

Our urban infrastructure research is directed towards developing:

  • industry relevant technologies, methods, models and tools to improve the design, construction and management of built infrastructure
  • science and technology areas that are of growing interest to industry and government in the development and management of their built assets – from individual components to whole systems and asset portfolios are assessed.

Skills and capabilities

Our key research skills and capabilities are focused on enhancing whole-of-life built environment performance while reducing our urban ecological footprint.

Our key urban infrastructure research skills and capabilities are focused on enhancing whole-of-life built environment performance while reducing our urban ecological footprint.

Skill areas within the group include:

  • service life prediction
  • virtual prototyping
  • performance-based design and assessment
  • engineering science mechanics and system dynamics
  • destructive and non-destructive performance evaluation and health monitoring
  • natural hazards (wind, earthquake, flood/storm surge, etc) engineering risk and reliability analysis
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • consequence-based engineering
  • complex systems modelling
  • network analysis.

Current research

Some current and future research areas and activities include:

  • Zero Emission House (ZEH) - a project to identify pathways and solution configurations towards ZEH’s in Australia, mitigating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst maintaining supply reliability and stabilising demand
  • impact of climate change on wind loading
  • further development of AccuRate
  • infrastructure deterioration and vulnerability
  • co-organiser for the 2008 World Sustainable Building Conference (SB08).


The following industry research achievements have been driven by or largely contributed to by the Urban Infrastructure group:

  • Service life modelling and reliability based design, winner of Wood Engineering Achievement Award by The American Wood Council and the Forest Products Society, USA in 2006
  • Indoor Air Quality Estimator
  • 'Your Building' - a sustainable commercial building web portal
  • Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Timber
  • Australian Life Cycle Inventory Database Initiative (AusLCI)
  • Performance Based Networks in Australia (Aus-PeBBu) and selected Asia Pacific countries (APEC-PeBBu)
  • AccuRate - a nationally implemented software program helping building designers achieve five-star standards for energy efficiency
  • Energy Express - software to calculate the operating energy consumption and cost for commercial buildings at the design stage.

Read about the Urban Systems research program or the Sustainable cities and coasts.