The NSW Government Environment and Heritage Department has announced the winners of the 2014 Green Globe Awards which celebrate environmental excellence, leadership and innovation in the sustainability industry across the state.

Nineteen awards in total were handed out by the Minister for the Environment Robert Stokes at an awards gala on Thursday 30 October, including four prizes for projects in the built environment.

Legion House at Liberty Place by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp continues its recent awards success, coming off the back of a commendation at the 2014 Sustainability Awards and a category prize at the World Architecture Festival to take the Built Environment Sustainability - Commercial and Residential Properties award.

Legion House fought off competition from the University of Technology Sydney’s Engineering and IT building and ‘North Sydney eco house’ by Claire Hanley and Zenya Adderley for the prize. 

 Receiving little sun or wind, Legion House at Liberty Place receives its energy from a process called biomass gasification. The technology coverts plant sourced materials into a combustible gas that used to generate electricity. This is effectively a carbon zero energy source as the greenhouse gases released in the energy production equal that absorbed in creating the biomass. (Images: John Gollings)

 A stormwater harnessing system crafted by the Gosford City Council took the Built Environment Sustainability – Infrastructure prize and was awarded for its success at mediating the effect of a city-wide drought and ability to save 82.2 million litres of non-potable water a year.

Another architecture related category prize, the Built Environment Sustainability - Heritage Buildings award was given to the Sydney Opera House – Concert Hall lighting upgrade which saw the Sydney landmark reduce its energy use by around 75 per cent, cutting 455 tonnes of its greenhouse gas emissions and slashing its power bills by $70,000 a year.

Visitors take a tour of the Opera House's grand Concert Hall. (Supplied: Sydney Opera House/Jamie Williams).

The lights for the Opera House were custom-made to fit heritage requirements, including the use of existing openings and rigging points and maintaining the lighting’s warmth and dimming capabilities. The new lights are guaranteed for 50,000 hours, which equates to more than nine years of life, saving more than 2,000 lamps every year.

Whilst on the topic, the top prize for ‘Energy Efficiency’ went to the Western Sydney Local Health District – Retrofitting Hospitals initiative, which saw $6.6 million spent on energy-efficiency upgrades to Westmead Hospital’s lighting and cooling systems in the last two years.

Glen Hadfield, Asset and Sustainability manager displays his award with Mary Bong, Endoscopy Unit nurse unit manager.

A total of 12,683 light fittings have been replaced and a new motion sensor lighting control system installed. At current levels, 36 per cent of lighting energy is being saved by automation on approximately 4,000 lights in corridors and other public spaces. The lighting upgrade is projected to save $450,000 a year which can be redirected to patient care. The cooling system upgrade has resulted in savings of 2,462 megawatt hours a year, representing a 28 per cent saving in electricity consumption, with further savings expected.

From the 19 categories, 16 were chosen by the public and three by the government.

Botique hotel The Observatory, Port Macquarie won the Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence for their range of resource saving initiatives and environmental engagement with hotel guests. 

Gosford City Council won the Regional Sustainability Award for their stormwater recycling project designed to conserve valuable Central Coast drinking water.

The property group Mirvac and Wagga Wagga City Council received 10-year Sustainability Awards for their ongoing commitment to the environment.

The full list of category prizes and projects from the NSW Government:


Energy Efficiency

  • Western Sydney Local Health District – Retrofitting hospitals to be more energy efficient

Water Efficiency

  • MAURI anz– Recycled process water beneficial reuse

Waste and Recycling

  • Mars Petcare – Zero waste to landfill



Medium to Large Business Sustainability

  • De Bortoli Wines – Re-engineering our future for a carbon economy

Small Business Sustainability

  • Serendipity Ice Cream – Carbon neutral ice cream
  • Southern Cross Resorts - The Observatory Port Macquarie

Public Sector Sustainability

  • South East Local Land Care Services – Oyster industry partnership program

Community Sustainability

  • Green Strata Incorporated - Advancing the sustainability agenda in residential strata

Local Government Sustainability

  • City of Sydney – Sustainable fleet program

Built Environment Sustainability - Commercial and Residential Properties

  • Grocon and fjmt Architects - Legion House at Liberty Place

Highly Commended

  • City of Sydney Better Buildings Partnership – A competitive collaboration
  • University of Technology Sydney – Engineering and IT building
  • Claire Hanley and Zenya Adderley – North Sydney eco house

Built Environment Sustainability - Infrastructure

  • Gosford City Council – Stormwater harnessing for sustainable water management

Highly Commended

  • Transport for NSW – Transport Projects
  • John Holland – The Devil’s Pulpit Highway upgrade project
  • Waverley Council – Tamarama Park and Kiosk upgrade

Built Environment Sustainability - Heritage Buildings

  • Sydney Opera House – Concert Hall lighting upgrade

Natural Environment Sustainability

  • Sydney Fungal Studies Group Incorporated – Endangered fungi
  • Tweed Shire Council – Tweed Byron koala connections



Sustainability Champion

  • Karen Retra – Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga
  • Tim Silverwood – Take 3 – a clean beach initiative

Young Sustainability Champion

  • Holley Somerville-Knott – Stardust Entertainment

Climate Change Leadership

  • Earthwatch Australia – ClimateWatch
  • Hunter Business Chamber, Newcastle City Council and Hunter TAFE – Energy Hunter energy efficiency program for SMEs

Environmental Innovation

  • StabilCo NSW – MatrixBase