6 March 2014 — Sustainable development is becoming the “new normal” for retail and hospitality in the United States, a recently released McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket report states.
Some of the key points from the Green Retail and Hospitality report include:
In 2013, 52 per cent of owners in the retail and restaurant sectors expected that more than 50 per cent of their new projects will be green construction.
All hotel owners surveyed in 2013 were undertaking a proportion of green building...
4 March 2014 — The largest distribution centre in the southern hemisphere, Sydney Markets Limited, has won the Best Renewable Resources: Recycling award at the Global Sustainability Leadership Conference and Awards held in Mumbai, India.
The markets were selected from over 2500 international entries. Some of the strategies that made them stand out include a recycling program that has reduced the markets’ waste disposal costs by over $7 million since 2005.
The markets generate 20,000 tonnes of...
27 February 2014 — Registrations for the International Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction are now open. The awards are open to projects in architecture, building and civil engineering, landscape and urban design, materials, products and construction technologies.
It is a two-stage competition, with the first stage comprising a regional competition in each of the five world regions: Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa Middle East and the Asia Pacific. The 15 projects that receive...
26 February 2014 — Standards Australia has released a draft standard (AS 1546.4) for onsite domestic greywater recycling systems for public comment, as the number of people using recycled domestic greywater for watering gardens and other non-potable uses grows.
The standard aims to address the concerns health authorities and environmental protection authorities have in terms of disease risks and pollutant loads, and also creates a set of guidelines that offer consumers protection in terms of quality...
26 February 2014 — Consumer organisation CHOICE has joined forces with ClimateWorks Australia to urge the Federal Government to introduce a best practice light vehicle CO2 emissions standard, bringing Australia into alignment with policy in Europe and America.
ClimateWorks executive director Anna Skarbek said that Australia currently had no minimum standard for fuel efficiency [and therefore no standard for the resulting CO2 emissions].
“Our analysis [in conjunction with transport analysts Rare...
25 February 2014 — A creative director is being sort for Australia’s first festival celebrating the contributions of landscape architects to the natural and built environments.
The Festival of Landscape Architecture will take place in Brisbane from 16–18 October 2014, and is designed to engage the profession, students, universities, government and the public by exploring and celebrating the role and benefits of landscape architecture.
The festival will feature a range of events including a...
20 February 2014 — Research by carbon advisory firm RepuTex has found that Direct Action could be more effective at reducing domestic carbon emissions than the carbon tax. The key, however, is designing it appropriately.
According to RepuTex, the government’s Emission Reduction Fund is likely to result in domestic abatement of 123 million tonnes of CO2-e by 2020. This could increase to 243Mt if the ERF were to be supported by “absolute” emissions baselines, and if it were made obligatory...
19 February 2014 — The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme will have zero impact on household power bills, according to an analysis released this week by the REC Agents Association, an industry body representing companies that trade in renewable energy certificates.
The analysis was released as speculation grows that the federal government intends to cut or wind back the Renewable Energy Target. This week the government appointed climate sceptic Dick Warburton to head the RET review, in a sign...
11 February 2014 — The fifth edition of Your Home, a consumer guide and technical manual for creating sustainable homes, has been released by the Department of Industry.
Your Home contains practical, detailed information on environmentally sustainable design and building to homeowners and the building industry, with the latest edition incorporating the newest research on sustainable design and technology. Read More
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11 February 2014 — A unique nationwide GreenPower and carbon offsets scheme that promises consumers lower tariffs for electricity from renewable sources was officially launched at Woodend in Victoria by Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters this week.
The Community Climate Chest, also known as C3, will provide a mechanism for customers to save up to 50 per cent on current GreenPower tariffs, which are set at higher rates than standard coal-generated power by all major power retailers.
C3 is a joint initiative...
10 February 2014 — The federal government is set to begin an Inquiry on the “role of public transport in delivering productivity outcomes”.
There will be hearings in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth next week, and, according to a Greens spokeswoman, the Secretariat is still happy to receive submissions for the next few days, and submissions can be as little as a one page covering letter with a recent report, body of work or article attached.
For those in Western Australia, it was a big opportunity...
10 February 2014 — Global certification and assurance company Bureau Veritas has been recognised as one of the top certification bodies for sustainability in the Green Quadrant Sustainability Assurance Global 2013 report by analyst firm Verdantix.
The study was based on assessing the preferences of 15 key decision makers from heavyweight firms across seven countries, with the assurance providers assessed across 63 criteria. Other firms that rated highly included accountancy firms KPMG and Deloitte.
10 February 2014 — Relocation company Two Men and a Truck has launched a corporate social responsibility program designed to embrace environmental and community initiatives within the business and wider community.
Two Men and a Truck founder Richard Kuipers said CSR had become increasingly important over the 20 years the company had been around, and that his company’s “Moving Together” program channelled the business’s environmental and social activities into a strategic, workable model.
5 February 2014 — It’s a bit of a good news-bad news week in terms of the pursuit of fossil fuels in fragile areas, with Shell announcing the scrapping of their 2014 Arctic drilling plans following a US court ruling, while our own Barrier Reef has had its wellbeing gambled for the lure of increased coal exports.
The World Heritage-listed reef and marine park, already suffering coral bleaching and die-back from ocean warming, is under further threat from dredging works required for the expansion...
23 January 2014 – Brief: The United Nations Global Compact and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will jointly develop a best practice toolkit for the real estate and construction sector in a move to improve responsible business practices.
“The collaboration marks the UN Global Compact’s first initiative to address corporate sustainability in a specific sector following the recent launch of its Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture,” a joint media statement by the...
22 January 2014 — A contract to supply a hybrid grid energy storage system to SP AusNet for its electricity distribution network in Victoria has been won by ABB. The system has the potential to manage peak demands like those recently seen in southern Australia.
The grid energy storage and diesel generation system features a one megawatt-1MWh battery energy storage as well as 1MW diesel generator power, and will function as a pilot plant for potential future grid-integrated generation and storage...
20 January 2014 — Good Environmental Choice Australia cleaning and paint products have been approved by the Green Building Council of Australia, meaning they can now contribute towards achieving Green Star credits.
Products certified under GECA’s Cleaning Products standard can contribute to achieving credit points to projects being certified under the GBCA’s new Green Star Performance tool.
Products certified under GECA’s Paints and Coatings standard:
contribute to achieving credit points...
15 January 2014: The National Association of Women in Construction has launched a new Australia-wide NAWIC International Women’s Day Scholarship.
The scholarship, valued at $14,000, provides funding for a research paper that challenges existing industry thinking and outlines practical recommendations to enhance the Australian property and construction industry.
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8 January 2013 — The Australian construction industry has experienced its fourth straight month of growth in December, with the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index at 50.8 (readings above 50 indicate an expansion in activity).
December signalled a slower pace of expansion, down 4.4 points from November, but was ahead of the year’s average (43.9).
House building recorded the second highest rate of expansion since the survey’s inception...
19 December 2013 — It appears the “Scrap the Tax” mantra has not generated an upsurge of post-tax optimism among many businesses, with The Executive Connection’s quarterly confidence index showing that 52 per cent of small to medium sized businesses nation-wide expect the Federal Government’s repeal of the carbon tax will have little impact on their business. Just over 15 per cent believed it will have no impact at all, while only five per cent believed it will have a “very significant”...
12 December 2013 — The Energy Efficiency Council has launched a professional certification scheme for people leading and managing energy retrofits of commercial buildings.
“The Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme will recognise genuine professionals in the energy efficiency sector, helping building owners find quality providers and developing the next generation of experts,” said Luke Menzel, manager, sector development at the Energy Efficiency Council.
The council says the scheme:
11 December 2013 — The third and final instalment in the LEED in Motion report series has been released by the US Green Building Council.
Impacts and Innovation highlights the technologies leading to a new generation of green buildings.
“Innovation is the backbone of green building,” said USGBC president, chief executive and founding chair Rick Fedrizzi in his foreword. “It’s the reason why modern green buildings are able to make such a dramatic impact in energy, resource and cost savings.
11 December 2013 — Fujitsu’s Noble Park data centre is the first to have been certified under the NABERS Energy for data centres tool, which was launched in February.
The data centre received a 4 stars on the 6 star scale, choosing an Infrastructure rating, which assesses the efficiency of the building services, such as cooling and lighting.
There are two other ratings available, including an IT Equipment rating and a Whole Facility rating for the infrastructure and equipment combined.
4 December 2013 — Randwick Council has taken out the top honour at the NSW Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards for its Sustaining Our City initiative.
The environmental levy-funded program, which has been in place for a decade, has contributed to upgrades to the Coastal Walkway, stormwater reuse programs, new cycling paths, the annual Eco-living Fair, community and school gardens, school holiday coastal and marine programs, and the installation of solar panels on community buildings.
2 December 2013 — Defence Housing Australia’s newest residential development is their first to be awarded Urban Development Institute Australia’s EnviroDevelopment certification.
The development, AE2, is located in Ermington, five kilometres east of Parramatta CBD in Sydney.
The 21.3 hectare masterplanned community has ticked off all six of the EnviroDevelopment boxes – ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community.
DHA managing director Peter Howman said environmental impact...
2 December 2013 — A company in the Blue Mountains has created a guide to protecting homes from ember attack, in light of a drier than normal winter lead to expert predictions of a severe bushfire season.
Jackie Hammond, general manager of Blue Mountain Mesh, said she had seen an increase in calls from people concerned about how to best protect their home.
“The main cause of houses catching fire is not because the fire wall had reached the house, but rather due to ember attack, with winds able...
28 November 2013 — The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia today [Thursday] signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the organisations work more closely to enhance the planning, design, construction and management of sustainable communities and infrastructure in Australia.
Both organisations agreed to increase cooperation and information exchange, and to promote shared interests.
“Our organisations share a common mission to...
28 November 2013 — A gathering of Australia’s top infrastructure leaders today [Thursday] in Sydney has called on government to invest in resilience for buildings and infrastructure.
David Singleton, global planning leader for Arup and chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, called for the building and infrastructure sectors to invest in resilience, rather than resistance, in order to create successful and sustainable urban communities.
“We can no longer design to...
28 November 2013 — CSIRO has joined forces with the Australia’s key disaster management agencies to tackle the problem of how to access and interpret the large amount of information gathered during bushfires and other natural disasters in order to help emergency services save lives and property.
“Currently, there are many ways emergency services and the community accesses official, crowd sourced and social media information during natural disasters,” CSIRO’s digital productivity...
27 November 2013 — The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is seeking community input into its annual review of solar feed-in-tariffs.
Releasing an Issues Paper for public comment today, IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall said the review will determine the subsidy-free value of electricity exported from solar PV units.
“We will determine a benchmark range for solar feed-in-tariffs, which is designed to help customers choose the best combination of electricity prices and feed-in...