19 October 2010 – Australia’s first carbon neutral office building the Grocon Pixel Building in Melbourne has taken out the built environment award at this year’s Banksia Awards, with Fuji Xerox Australia and Beyond Zero Emissions also taking out major sustainability honours.
Held at the Sydney Town Hall on Friday 15 October, this year’s Banksia Awards were the 22nd since inception and featured more than 50 finalists from across Australia.
The Pixel Building, which achieved a perfect score of 100 points under the the Green Star rating system for building design, beat out fellow built environment finalists that included Mirvac’s Harmony 9 and the
GPT Group’s Rouse Hill Town Centre.
Built on the site of the former Carlton United brewery on the northern fringe of the Melbourne CBD, the Pixel Building’s standout sustainable feature is an anaerobic digestion system for heating and cooling that is powered by captured sewerage gases.
The building also features a vacuum toilet system that reduces water consumption to an “absolute minimum”, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, a sophisticated energy capture system that only distributes and uses fresh air, reed beds to cool the air on its northern and western facade as well as reduced car parking.
The Pixel Building is also being assessed under the USA LEED and UK BREEAM rating systems, aiming to exceed the highest score yet achieved under either of those tools.
Fuji Xerox Australia was awarded the Leading in Sustainability Award for large organisations, recognised by the Award’s judges for its “commitment to reducing the impact of their products and customers’ footprint, as well as their total approach to product innovation and supply chain management.”
Taylors Wines of NSW were awarded the Leading in Sustainability Award for small organisations. The judges praised their “cradle to grave approach to the Eighty Acres range of wines culminating in the world’s first wine 100 per centcarbon neutral wine range.”
Beyond Zero Emissions took out two awards including the Mercedes-Benz Australian Environmental Research Award for their Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan conducted in partnership with the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute.
The first installment of a five sector plan for Australia to reach a zero-carbon future within a decade, the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan saw the collaboration of top renewable energy researchers from the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Oxford University, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Sydney.
Award judges praised the Plan for demonstrating that “the transformation of Australia’s stationary energy from coal and gas generation to a 100 per cent renewable energy system is feasible and affordable and possible within a decade.”
Beyond Zero Emissions founder and director Mathew Wright also took out the Environment Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year award.
The Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year award went to Russell Seaman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Australia, who is environmental manager of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Program.
The Origin Gold Banksia Award went to the the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation of the Northern Territory for their Yellow Crazy Ant Management Project run in partnership with the CSIRO abd Rio-Tinto Alcan.
One of the world’s worst ant pests, the Yellow Crazy Ant has ravaged parts of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and have the capacity to spread as far as Broome, Western Australia. Since the project started the Yellow Crazy Ant has now been declared eradicated from 21 sites covering 246 hectares which amounts to twice as many eradications covering five times more area than all ant eradications published globally for the past 100 years.
Other Banksia Award winners include:
Peoples Choice Award – Kids Teaching Kids: Firestarter Pty Ltd, VIC
The Banksia Community Grant – SecondBite, VIC
Land  Biodiversity Award – Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth – a Government/Community
Partnership to ensure a Future for the Lower Murray, Department of Environment & Natural Resources South Australia
Water Award – Bringing Back the Fish: Industry and Investment NSW in partnership with Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Agriculture & Food Award – Project Catalyst: The Coca-Cola Foundation, Reef Catchments, WWF, QLD
Indigenous Award – Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, NT in partnership with CSIRO, Rio-Tinto Alcan
Clean Technology Award – Mini-Hydro Project: Melbourne Water Corporation, VIC
Education Award – Switch Your Thinking! Program: South East Regional Energy Group, WA in partnership with Cities of Armadale, Gosnells and Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire
Transportation, Warehousing & Logistics Award – Flexicar, VIC