The 2017 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards program has recorded the highest number of entries for the built environment section along with high levels of innovation, and a strong community element, according to interim CEO Stephanie Ziersch.
The entries included projects at the planning, design, construction and operational stages, individual buildings, precincts, master planned communities and mixed-use developments, new builds, the re-imagining of existing form, deep renovations and fit outs, and infrastructure such as transport, water, sewerage, energy and telecommunications.
According to Ziersch, there is growing interest in sustainability across the community, which means the Premier’s Sustainability Awards are having to “work hard to encourage all levels of the community to get involved and take action on climate change and use resources wisely”.
“Sustainability Victoria is financially supporting research programs which are creating new and better building materials containing waste rubber, glass and plastic. We are also running programs to encourage the upgrading of older commercial buildings.”
“Some 75 percent of Victoria’s commercial buildings were built before 2000”, or in other words, “prior to modern standards,” says Ziersch.
However, regardless of these aging buildings, Ziersch says research has found that buildings in this group can cut energy use by 29 percent, on average within 12 months, thereby providing a very encouraging three-year return on investment.
Asked as to how awards such as these promote sustainability, Ziersch says firstly that “Projects like these are giving designers and tradespeople new materials to work with and opportunities to generate business and jobs.”
“By showcasing some of the best projects we’re able to say sustainability is not just about doing the right thing, but it also provides commercial benefits right across the economy.”
“You don’t have to sacrifice comfort or style. You can have a positive impact on families, workers and the general community,” she says.