A spate of recent media releases, by chance, were more related to each other than seemed at first sight as they embodied those feel-good messages of environment, community and access.

ProHomeBlog has a complete property logbook where builders and contractors can keep track of progress and communicate with home owners online, uploading photos, comments and events planned for their property from building start to final sale. Permission has to be given to each party sharing as much or as little information as they choose, and it is securely placed in the cloud to be available even in a natural disaster.  Please note, Adriaan Havenga and his brother Johann developed the site following last year’s bushfires in the Blue Mountains. 

Austral Bricks (Tasmania) Longford facility has made Australia’s first certified carbon neutral bricks under the Australian government’s National Carbon Offset Standard Brickworks Building Products, said the manufacturer Brickworks Building Products. This includes bricks and pavers from Austral Bricks (Tasmania) and Daniel Robertson.

The carbon neutral certification is largely achieved by the use of sawdust as the fuel for kiln firing;  the biomass material is a byproduct of the local Tasmanian timber industry. Steven Mouzakis, Brickworks’ National Energy and Sustainability Manager, said, “The use of low emissions biomass as opposed to fossil fuels is largely responsible for the Longford plant’s low carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions from the biomass are just 215 tonnes per year, about the same as 12 average Australian households.

“In contrast, a conventional natural gas kiln of the same capacity could emit approximately 8,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.”

The Australian Government’s voluntary Carbon Neutral Program requires the measurement, auditing and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the offset of any remaining emissions. It measures all emissions contributors such as raw material extraction, onsite transport, product deliveries across Australia and internationally, water usage, packaging, waste and business operations, not just kiln emissions.

New online learning centre, EOL, launched by Engineering Education Australia on behalf of parent organisation Engineers Australia, hosts hundreds of educational resources which have been purpose-designed by professional engineers, including short courses, technical presentations, webinars, case studios, video footage and written articles.

The site already provides over 500 program topics to choose from, which can be accessed via a tiered subscription program which allows first-time visitors to sample some of the materials for free.

As well as being available 24/7, online learning is convenient for users and means that companies no longer need to fly staff out, or go on long road trips, to workshops or training sessions which are often held in remote locations

“The main idea for EOL is to provide continuous professional development for all engineering-related professionals, no matter where they are,” said Ann Ellis, group general manager of Engineering Education Australia.