On the rise of net zero pledges that aren’t quite good enough

News from the front desk, Issue 507: So, Australia is on an economic tear so that means there is nothing stopping sustainability, right? Out of our recent Building Circularity came some gems of insights into the urgent tasks to hand to reduce the carbon in our structures. And the immense ambition and possibilities opening up to […]

NABERS has officially moved to the UK!

The super-successful building operational energy performance rating scheme pioneered in Australia has launched in the UK following 18 months of detailed trials to adapt it to the UK environment.

The case for green hydrogen in existing gas-connected homes

Last week’s article on The Fifth Estate arguing that hydrogen for homes is a terrible idea needs correcting. Green hydrogen has a firm place in a zero carbon future. Its author, Gabriel Levy, is confining his argument against hydrogen to its domestic use. It will still be widely used by 2050 in industry and transport. […]

On the real issues in the Queensland election

On the face of it the handling of the pandemic and who might be best to lead the Sunshine State out of the doom and gloom it’s caused is dominating the mainstream coverage of the Queensland election this weekend. But on closer inspection, environmental issues are front and centre in some of the seats that […]

We need slower thinking on climate change?

It’s called co-design in the academic world – where you build the research with community partners. And we know that it’s the most powerful form of creating a pathway to new knowledge. “You go slower, but you produce new ideas.” Australia has been in panic mode on climate for a decade, and has gone backwards, […]

To solve our problems, we should be free of ideologies, right?

A citizen’s jury would capture “a balance of gender, age group, ethnicity, and income” The Covid crisis has evolved into a social-distancing crisis. And this supervirulent member of the Coronaviridae family, couldn’t ask for a more perfect host. We humans are social creatures — we love each other’s company. Viruses have existed for billions of years — […]

We need 3 things to deal with coastal erosion

In these stormy days, one is reminded of Charles Dudley Warner’s quip: “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it”. This past week, much to the exasperation of Wamberal residents as they forfeit a good slice of their back yards, we remain confused about what to do and who should do […]

Australia: an emissions superpower

The not-my-problem attitude to fossil fuel exports in Australia is making the country a major contributor to global climate change. Here’s why supply– not just demand – ought to be the target of climate action.

New Zealand unveils revolutionary green building program to fight climate change

The New Zealand government is making a bold climate commitment with a plan to transform the building sector, which includes aggressive new efficiency standards for energy and water use and mandatory reporting requirements on construction materials and waste. On Friday, the New Zealand government announced its Building for Climate Change Programme, setting out plans to […]

How to green our cities without putting communities at risk of bushfire

The pursuit of greener urban areas in NSW will bring us resilience to climate change and increased liveability but if we’re not careful, urban greening policies could be the kindling for future bushfire events that destroy lives and property. The good news is there are a host of techniques that allow us to vegetate responsibly, […]

On changing our DNA

Looks like this virus has already rearranged our DNA. Acts of extreme kindness are appearing where before there was only cold-hearted neoliberalism.

Hot desking in heatwaves: The workplace in a climate emergency

As global average temperatures continue to rise with increasingly disastrous effects, Sydney-based architect Don Albert considers where and how Australians will work in the future, by re-examining the past.

EY’s sustainability team shows no signs of growth slowdown

There’s a focus on community engagement at EY but the fastest growing service area is climate change work – from climate risk disclosures to gritty strategic work such as decarbonisation plans for governments.

Jobs and business news: Aurecon; WA government; Arup

Job ads for housing and construction sectors are still on the decline but are forecasted to pick back up again in line with rising building approvals, according to the latest SEEK employment report.

A movement that stands up for nature is in growth mode

Environmental organisations are ramping up their activities in the wake of the recent fires, The Wilderness Society among them. TWS is planning to tap consumer sentiment to choose the right products such as recycled fibre, and it wants to grow its network, that currently has a branch in nearly every major city. “We’re looking to […]

Facing the fires – a personal experience

As the fires were still raging in the NSW south coast architect and urbanist Don Albert had first-hand view of two shattered communities when he heeded the invitation to tourists to come to the area.

So you’ve declared a climate emergency? Now architects need to walk the talk

Every Australian (and many people beyond) are now feeling the fear that Greta enunciated just one year ago in her speech at Davos. Much to the surprise of the hopeful, hope has not delivered so let’s assume we need to actually do something now. After all, if not now, then when?

How design of our cities is amplifying urban heat and what to do about it

Most of the time we discuss climate change as affecting cities and the people who live in them. Less well known is that cities – specifically their planning and design – also create climate change through the urban heat island. Encouragingly, this means that cities can provide climate solutions. Why are we not discussing this?

Australia’s survival depends on shifting climate policy

It has been a summer like no other. We have seen loss of life and unprecedented destruction across NSW and much of the rest of the country. Australia has been the hottest place on the planet and Sydney’s air quality has at times ranked as the worst in the world. Climate change is unfolding before our eyes.