UNSW PhD student Maria Kordjamshidi has won the Australian Institute of Energy's national award for the best Alternative Energy Pathways Project for her research into energy-rating schemes for houses.

Explaining her research Maria said "There are significant differences between efficient design for houses that have to be heated and cooled using artificial methods, and efficient design for houses that are more climate responsive, so that for instance they can control their summer temperature through natural ventilation. I have used these findings to create a new house rating framework which can deliver significant benefits in terms of energy demand reduction and sustainability.

"Climate change poses a fundamental threat to sustainable development. It is not only the responsibility of leaders but also the public to develop and employ sustainable advices. Personal actions taken by people will slow climate change, so public cooperation is required to save the future and our next generation. Rating schemes have to better inform the public about what they can do."

The accolade is Maria's second major award. In early 2006 she won the best project award in the Energy in Society category of the NSW - ACT Postgraduate Student Energy Awards.

Maria is a student in the Faculty of the Built Environment and her research is supervised by Stephen King and Professor Deo Prasad.