Innovators lauded at Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards

Bonnie Herring (Breathe Architecture), minister for energy, environment and climate change Lily D'Ambrosio, and Angela Perry (Nightingale Housing).
Bonnie Herring (Breathe Architecture), minister for energy, environment and climate change Lily D'Ambrosio, and Angela Perry (Nightingale Housing).

The Nightingale Housing team added another feather to their cap last Friday, taking out the Built Environment Award at the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards for their Nightingale 1 apartment project in Brunswick.

Designed by Breathe Architecture, the first 20-storey project in what is now becoming one of the nation’s hottest new development models is due for completion in December this year.

The award recognised the multi-faceted nature of the sustainability approach, which incorporates environmental, financial and social sustainability and a design-led approach to development.

The model is an alternative to speculative, high-risk development, instead enabling housing with a key focus on community, the judges said.

The major award of the night, the 2017 Premier’s Recognition Award, was won by eWater Systems. The company also won the award in the Innovative Product or Services category.

The company has developed a chemical free way of cleaning and sanitising water for facilities including hospitals, schools, restaurants and manufacturing facilities.

In 2016 the “water splitting” technology negated the need for these types of facilities to use a cumulative seven million litres of chemicals and led to the diversion of about 10 million plastic containers from landfill.

The Premier’s Regional Recognition Award was presented by energy, environment and climate change minister Lily D’Ambrosio to Exemplar Health, the consortium that developed the new Bendigo hospital.

The team, comprising Lendlease, Capella Capital, Spotless and Siemens, also took home the award for the Large Business category.

Bendigo hospital Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards 2017

Sarah McAdie (Bendigo Hospital), Michele Morrison (Exemplar Health), Ms D’Ambrosio and David O?Shaughnessy (Lendlease).

In addition to designing and building the new facility, the consortium also financed the project and has a 25-year maintenance contract with the government.

A multi-faceted plan for mitigating the urban heat island effect gained Moreland City Council the government award.

Its Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) Action Plan 2016–2026 maps out a range of projects that will assist the area to transition to being greener, cooler and more liveable.

The judges noted that the plan will benefit the city in a number of ways, including increasing the community’s resilience to climate change; creating health, environmental and economic benefits; and improving overall quality of life for residents and visitors.

The plan incorporates work already underway in the area to minimise urban heat and also sets out new programs for improving council projects.

The community is also being brought along for the journey, with support mechanisms to encourage tree-planting, installation of rainwater tanks for garden watering and upgrades to homes including adding cool roofs, insulation and shading.

Sustainability Victoria’s interim chief executive Stephanie Ziersch said the awards showed how management of environmental issues was of growing importance for not just individuals, but businesses.

“Each year, the Premier’s Sustainability Awards continue to discover Victoria’s best and most inspiring Victorian individuals, organisations and businesses which are developing and implementing new sustainable practices,” Ms Ziersch said.

“Victoria has an excellent track record of delivering innovative projects that benefit our environment and the community, particularly in relation to efficient waste management, resource recovery and new technologies for clean energy.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Your contributions will have positive long-term effects on our society and our way of life.”

Other category winners:


The Nature Conservancy Australia – Shuck Don’t Chuck Recycling Project (Greater Geelong): A reef restoration project that is regenerating the natural environment by rebuilding shellfish reefs with leftover oyster shells collected from local seafood restaurants.


CERES – Sustainability and Alternative Pathways (East Brunswick): This sustainability leader celebrates 35 years of community-based learning and action. CERES’ work benefits the environment, is socially just, economically and culturally satisfying and helps to deliver better ways of living together.

Environmental Justice

Friends of the Earth – Coal and Gas Free Victoria (Collingwood): An awareness campaign run across regional Victoria through more than 100 forums alerts communities to the potential threat of fracking and addresses the question of unconventional gas drilling.

Environmental Protection

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park – Orange-bellied Parrot Breeding for Recovery Program (Mornington Peninsula): Development of a 20-aviary complex for up to 40 breeding birds resulted in 25 offspring from 12 pairs in the first season. This project is helping to save this endangered species from extinction.


Western Health – Single Use Metal Instruments Recycling Program (St Albans): This program recycles single-use metal instruments (SUMIs) which are an obvious waste of high-quality metals. The program has recovered around 500kgs of recycled steel, representing approximately 80 per cent of all SUMIs purchased. This project can be used in any hospital.

Small and Medium Enterprises

Kingfield Galvanizing – Sustainable Hot Dip Galvanizer (Somerton): A large, sustainable and highly automated galvanizing plant produces significantly low emissions through a fully enclosed facility that re-uses waste, reclaims furnace heat and recycles.

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