Present at the 2019 National Sustainability Conference

The 2019 National Sustainability Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane over 1 – 2 April and applications to present at the conference are currently open The educational program will include sustainability research, participation from diverse industry sectors and topics of integration, technology, automation, climate risk, procurement, renewable energy and sustainable construction. The conference will be looking at current topics and also looking forward to emerging sustainability considerations. Applications to present in 2019 are open until Friday 9 November 2018.  Invitation to Submit Your Presentation Individuals and organisations are invited to submit an abstract to deliver a 30-minute oral …

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Is it time to move beyond the limits of ‘built environment’ thinking?

The constructed world around us provides the stage for our daily life. The term “built environment” is in the past tense, describing a scenario after the fact. What does it actually mean beyond the obvious connotation of buildings and parks? Yet when we pay respect at a formal occasion to the traditional peoples of Australia it is generally referred to as Acknowledgement of Country. Here we acknowledge the environment (country) first and then the custodians of it. Today we are at pains to integrate environmental concerns into our building efforts. We are discussing how to meet climate targets, reduce heat island …

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How to Use Queensland’s New Container Recycling Scheme

There are doubts within the waste industry that Queensland’s new recycling scheme can be ready for launch at the start of next month. From November 1, Queenslanders can claim a 10-cent refund for most plastic drink containers, beer bottles and aluminium cans at one of 232 collection points from Coen to Coolangatta. The state’s first-ever container exchange refund scheme is run by a not-for-profit company called COEX (Container Exchange) and branded as Containers for Change. Recycling companies see future recycling business from “cleaner” recycled glass, plastics and cardboard that comes in through the collection depots. But some large waste lobby groups, represented by …

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Opera House Goes Carbon Neutral Five Years Ahead of Schedule

The Sydney Opera House was notoriously behind schedule on most things during the 14 years it took to build but will be five years ahead of schedule when it meets its target to reduce emissions and become carbon neutral. This move puts it up there with New York’s Empire State building and Paris’s Eiffel Tower as global architectural icons which are actively working to become world symbols of energy efficiency, its Environmental Sustainability Manager Emma Bombonato said. … Officials at the Sydney Opera House have been working to increase its energy efficiency and decrease its waste for the past decade. In 2014 it replaced incandescent bulbs …

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Antarctica’s ‘moss forests’ are drying and dying

The lush moss beds that grow near East Antarctica’s coast are among the only plants that can withstand life on the frozen continent. But our new research shows that these slow-growing plants are changing at a far faster rate than anticipated. We began monitoring plant ecosystems 18 years ago, near Australia’s Casey Station in the Windmill Islands, East Antarctica. As we report in Nature Climate Change today, within just 13 years we observed significant changes in the composition and health of these moss beds, due to the drying effects of weather changes prompted by damage to the ozone layer. Living on the …

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Australia set to run on 100% renewable energy within 15 years

Australia is set to reach its target of 100% renewable energy by the early 2030’s, provided current uptake of renewable energy options in the residential and commercial sectors remains strong. The Australian renewables energy industry will install more than 10 gigawatts of new solar and wind power before the end of 2019 and if that rate is maintained, Australia would reach 50% of its renewables target in 2025. The reduction target, set under the famed Paris Agreement into global climate change, forms part of a commitment made by Australia in 2015 to cut carbon emissions nationwide by up to 28% of 2005 …

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Act now on health impacts of climate change: experts

Public health professionals welcome a state plan addressing the health impacts of climate change, but say national action is ‘urgently needed.’ The Queensland Government’s new Human Health and Wellbeing Climate Change Adaption Plan provides guidance to health, aged care and childcare services on ways to manage the threats that climate changes poses to human health through extreme weather, drought and increased disease outbreaks. Consultation with various stakeholders to inform the plan revealed concern among health professionals about the “policy gap” in the area. The Public Health Association of Australia says that Queensland’s plan is an example of the type of …

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Great Barrier Reef Foundation chief scientist: science will lie at the heart of our decisions

Much has been made of the federal government’s decision to invest A$500m into management of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), A$443.3m of it to be administered by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, of which I am the chief scientist. If my conversations with colleagues in the reef research field are any guide, there is still a lot of confusion over the intended use of these funds, the disbursement process, and whether big business will interfere with how the reef is managed. Filling funding gaps Over the past five years, the foundation has funded or managed multiple research projects that aim to support long-term …

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Sustainable House Day 2018

BASSENDEAN building designer Romona Sandon will be opening up her sustainable home for the first time for Sustainable House Day on September 16. The day is part of an Australia-wide event where about 250 houses across the country are opened to the public. Ms Sandon’s James Street house is one of three which will be displayed on a bus tour organised by Environment House in Bayswater and guided by Alternative Technology Association WA committee member Kim Wilkinson. The bus will leave Environment House at 9am and visit each house for 45 minutes, where the features, building materials, sustainability features and …

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New developments in Victoria to harness photovoltaic glass, battery power

Melbourne will be home to not one but two Australia-first initiatives to make living in an apartment cheaper and more environmentally sustainable. Tenants in apartment buildings could soon have access to solar power and battery storage if a new government-funded initiative is successful. Energy company Ovida will use $980,000 from the state government to retrofit three yet-to-be-selected buildings with solar panels on their roofs and connect extra power-infrastructure like batteries. That would produce power they would sell back to residents for a cheaper rate than grid power. The service would have no upfront cost, and the body corporate could buy the …

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