As the Sustainability Manager – Residential for Frasers Property Australia, Rory Martin knows sustainability when he sees it – and he also knows very well what ‘greenwashing’ looks like, especially in our ever-growing residential construction sector.
That’s just one reason why he is on the judging panel for the 2018 Sustainability Awards and also why his ideas have helped influence how this years’ entries will be evaluated.
What are you looking for as a judge?
As a judge I’m hoping to see more verified outcomes, I’m hoping to see submissions that are quantifiably demonstrating positive impacts on people and the environment.
Actual energy consumption data relative to typical buildings, blower door results, thermal imaging, etc. all help verify that a design is performing as intended. I believe it’s essential that we move beyond design intent to actual outcomes.
How much do you think sustainable design has changed over the past couple of years?
Energy cost and security, and carbon are back on the agenda, as are the areas of resilience and responsible supply chain, while the concept of regenerative design has continued to gain momentum. The signing of the Paris agreement has also ushered in a new phase of urgency that parts of the industry are starting to align with.
What do you think is the most pressing sustainability issue at the moment?
I think there are two key areas. The first one is the Paris agreement and the necessity to keep to within the 1.5 degrees C target to prevent detrimental climate change and the second one revolves around social and environmental resilience, to enable us to adapt to and/or mitigate current shocks and stresses that are unavoidable.
Do you think sustainability is an add-on or should it be incorporated holistically?
I think this still depends very much on the organisation in question. I believe there are some leading firms of different scales that are integrating it earlier in the design process, while there are some organisations and bodies who are including it in the early stages of planning.
As a whole though, I believe there remains large parts of the industry who still see compliance as the target for sustainability. I believe we still need the combined carrot and stick approach for it to be incorporated holistically.
Where do you see sustainable design heading in the next few years?
I see a shift from sustainability for sustainability’s sake to a more customer centric approach. For example we’re seeing an explosion in solar, and to a lesser degree storage, not necessarily because it’s the “sustainable” choice, but because it’s the customer’s choice.
The more sustainability initiatives that directly support client’s needs, then the more meaningful they are going to be for them and the more likely we will see their mass adoption.