Opera House concert hall lighting

Star sustainability performers from across New South Wales including Mirvac, City of Sydney, Green Strata, the Sydney Opera House and Grocon and FJMT Architects, were recognised at the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage Green Globe Awards held in Sydney on 30 October.

Mirvac and Wagga Wagga City Council both won 10-year Sustainability Awards in recognition of their ongoing commitment to the environment.

The Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence went to The Observatory, Port Macquarie a boutique apartment hotel operated by Southern Cross Resorts that was also one of the winners in the small to medium enterprise category. The Observatory was certified as carbon neutral in 2012, and has a 56-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. It also offers eco-programs including tree planting in rainforest regeneration sites, wild koala “adoption” through the local Koala Hospital and a Bike-n-Hike iPod audio tour.

Grocon and fjmt Architects won the Commercial and Residential Properties Award for Legion House at Liberty Place.

Gosford City Council and Warringah Council were joint winners of the Built Environment Infrastructure Award.

Gosford’s stormwater harnessing for sustainable water management project involves two stormwater harvesting and reuse schemes that will save 8.2 million litres a year of potable water. Warringah Council retrofitted a disused building as a creative space for artists, workshops and performances, using almost exclusively second-hand materials. The project saved $650,000 on new construction costs, and resulted in only one cubic metre of waste going to landfill.

Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall lighting upgrade won the Built Environment Heritage Award. The lighting retrofit of the Concert Hall to the use of bespoke design long-life LED lamps and high-tech control systems has reduced energy use by 75 per cent. Cutting 455 tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually and saving $75,000 on power bills. The lights are guaranteed for 50,000 hours, saving more than 2000 lamp replacements annually, and the project has a payback period of six years.

Westmead Hospital won the Energy Efficiency Award. The hospital has undertaken a two-year $6.6 million upgrade to lighting and cooling systems that has resulted in $450,000 a year in savings on lighting costs that can be directed towards the patient care budget, and an initial 28 per cent saving on energy costs for cooling. Phillips used the hospital to trial an innovative new energy dashboard that calculates instantaneously the level of savings being achieved through lighting control measures.

Not-for-profit association Green Strata won the award for Community sustainability. The association is governed and managed by owners and residents in strata-titled properties, and is focused on helping owners’ corporations address issues including energy and water use, waste, transport support, materials, gardens, food, community building and all those elements of strata legislation and governance that can impact on change.

City of Sydney won the Local Government Award for its sustainable fleet program. The four-year program has resulted in a 26 per cent decrease of greenhouse gas emissions to 2014. The continuous review of vehicle use and the promotion of resource sharing has seen the fleet reduced from 600 vehicles in 2006 to 440 vehicles today, and more than 40 hybrid cars and 66 diesel electric hybrid trucks have been added to the fleet, which provide savings of up to 30 per cent on greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle. All electric vehicle charging is offset by 100 per cent clean energy generated by Council’s own solar PV installations. And more than 7000 kilometres of council business travel was by bicycle over the last 18 months.

Other winners included:

  • Earthwatch Australia’s ClimateWatch and Hunter Business Chamber, Newcastle City Council and Hunter TAFE – Energy Hunter energy efficiency program for SMEswere joint winners of the Climate Change Leadership Award.
  • Water Efficiency Award: MAURI ANZ – recycled process water beneficial reuse
  • Waste and RecyclingMars Petcare – Zero waste to landfill
  • Medium to Large Business awardDe Bortoli Wines – Re-engineering our future for a carbon economy
  • Small Business – Joint winners – The Observatory Port Macquarie and Serendipity Ice Cream – Carbon neutral ice cream
  • Sustainability Champions – joint winners, sustainability consultant Karen Retra from Albury-Wodonga and Tim Silverwood co-cofounder of clean beach initiative Take 3 and co-founder of Circular Economy Australia.
  • Public Sector AwardSouth East Local Land Care Services – Oyster industry partnership program
  • Sustainability Innovation AwardStabilCo NSW – MatrixBase – 100 per cent recycled road pavement construction materials.
  • Natural Environment – joint winners, Sydney Fungal Studies Group Incorporated – Endangered fungi, and Tweed Shire Council – Tweed Byron koala connections
  • Young Sustainability Champion – Holley Somerville-Knott. Holley founded Stardust Entertainment a charity foundation at the age of 8, to focus on helping people, the planet and animals. Now aged 12, this young sustainability firecracker has raised thousands of dollars and awareness on many issues, including coal seam gas mining, climate change, sustainability, homelessness, koala populations and deforestation. Along with live performances, lobbying and making a documentary, she has formed partnerships with a global youth movement called Earth Guardians, the US TV network HBO, the Lock The Gate movement and the Uplift Festival.