De Carolis Constructions Managing Director Matt De Carolis believes there is a double standard when it comes to the application of environmental and sustainability standards to Australian buildings. This discrepancy, he said discriminates against a large number of Australian workers.
While Melbourne consistently ranks as one of the most ‘liveable’ cities in the world, manufacturing workplaces have not kept pace with other workplace environments in terms of their ‘green compliance’.
According to Mr De Carolis, this is because manufacturing has attracted relatively little interest or obligation from green regulators. The manufacturing sector has also been complicit in this by not seeking to improve conditions for its workforce. Consequently there are two types of workplaces in Australia: those that offer their workers the benefits of four-star or above indoor and outdoor environment quality, and those that don’t.
He wonders why manufacturing workers should be disadvantaged in terms of getting the minimum workplace conditions and standards, and why they are treated differently from those who work in offices. To ensure the principles of energy efficiency, healthy working conditions and environmental sustainability apply to all people and businesses across Australia, a green revolution is needed for Australian manufacturing buildings.
Since its introduction in 2002, the Green Building Council of Australia has awarded over 600 Green Star ratings to Australian buildings. Yet only six buildings classified as ‘industry’ have been granted a certificate of four stars or higher. Not one industry building to date has been given a ‘world leader’ rating of six, the highest rating possible.
The Council’s Green Star rating system is one of Australia’s leading environmental rating tools for buildings, and is widely used to review and benchmark environmental sustainability in categories such as air quality, energy use, water use, innovation and ecology.
Australian governments of all jurisdictions enforce compulsory green rating levels for office developments. For example, the City of Melbourne’s Environmentally Sustainable Office Buildings (ESOB) Policy is a planning scheme, which through clause 22.19 requires a four-star Green Star Certified Rating for office developments with a gross area of more than 5,000m².
Despite the green gap within the Australian workplace, De Carolis is leading its own green revolution. De Carolis Constructions, which owns and operates a large office manufacture, build and fit-out company in Melbourne’s North, is updating its manufacturing facilities to comply with Green Star rating standards.
De Carolis Constructions has been building and installing high quality Green Star office fit-outs for its clients for many years. Within their own office, the company has installed green wall systems, window treatments, new light technology, outside and inside dining areas, sleepers and olive trees.
Mr De Carolis is calling on government, peak industry bodies and workers’ unions to close the gap by providing leadership and collaboration on this issue, and ensure the manufacturing green revolution comes to life.