Learning Lab

Early Design Decisions for High Performance Buildings

Early Design Decisions for High Performance Buildings

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Kevin Peddie
Regional Manager | Associate
+61.2.8103.4020 x2324 | Mobile:+61 455 545 525
Go to Kevin Peddie's page


October 28, 2020
4:30 PM, Sydney Time (GMT+11)
60 min


As cities grapple with increased density and climate change, designers and planners need to be forward-looking to consider how building design and the urban spaces around them can be created as climate-positive and responsible communities.

High-performance building design requires a multi-factor analysis early during the design process to consider how best to integrate the desired features and avoid costly mistakes, variations or “add-ons” later in the design process. The concept of the building design must consider solar impacts, pedestrian outdoor comfort, noise and vibration, sustainability, occupant usability, local regulations and constructability.

RWDI has developed Orbital Stack to provide an understanding of how the climate and environment impacts a project during early design decisions, enabling early rapid insights on design concepts through to the detailed later-stage analysis.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Explorer different key drivers at the early design phase
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of early design input on achieving project objectives and avoiding downstream problems
  • Understand how environmental factors can be considered and addressed through built form response at the concept massing phase
  • Importance of  holistic design input instead of piecemeal approach to design for our future communities


Kevin is a respected engineer whose project experience includes more than 1,000 buildings, neighbourhoods and campuses across Australasia and the Middle East. Our clients benefit in particular from the depth of Kevin’s expertise in the modeling of pedestrian wind and of natural ventilation in tall buildings. He has undertaken extensive research in modeling techniques to ensure the accurate prediction of airflow movement, and is skilled in on-site verification of natural ventilation performance after buildings are occupied. Kevin’s exceptional modeling capabilities have also helped clients around the world effectively address stack effect in skyscrapers. In addition to his building performance work, Kevin has consulted with numerous councils in Australia on the development of their wind comfort criteria to ensure safe and comfortable conditions for pedestrians.

Managing director of Atelier Ten’s Australian office and global leader of its Benchmarking practice, Paul is recognized for environmental planning and design consulting work on large-scale campus, cultural, and urban projects. Paul’s projects notably balance daylight, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency to exceed client benchmarks and expectations. Paul’s leadership in environmental design has been recognized by the US Green Building Council, who named him a LEED Fellow in 2013. Paul has taught environmental design at the UTS School of Architecture, and environmental design and building services at the Yale School of Architecture. He continues to serve as a visiting lecturer and environmental design consultant for the Rural Studio at Auburn University. In 2019 Paul was appointed to the NSW Government Architect’s State Design Review Panel.

Design is going digital quickly. Generative design and automation are changing the way design happens, especially at the early stage. But human judgement, insight and creativity are still critical. Giraffe is a digital product that is putting the human thinker at the center of a digitized, semi-automated design flow. This avoids the pitfalls of AI, but still has profound impacts on the way design businesses think about their projects, clients and billing.

Rob is an associate at Cox and a CEO and product lead at Giraffe which is used by Cox and other leading design businesses. He coded the prototype and assembled the team that has built the product and business. At Cox Rob has worked on competition winning design schemes in architecture, (580 George St (FJMT), Casey Culture centre (with FJMT), Burwood Pace and 8 Parsonage St) and has developed digital workflows for the planning team.

Since joining the construction industry in 1986, Chris Georgas has risen to Senior Design Manager at Probuild, having acquired a wealth of experience in design management and delivery. Chris will bring his renowned talents for innovative thinking and his ability to foster a collaborative approach between consultants. Not content with his thorough knowledge of construction sequencing, Chris is committed to making every project a learning opportunity. His finest career achievement so far is his role in the delivery of Doncaster Shopping Centre, an example of a quality build that gave the client significant value for money.

Affiliated Associations

  • Atelier ten
  • Cox
  • Probuild 2