By Mike Purtell

17 February 2010 – There has been an avalanche of negative news about the Federal Government’s Green Loans Program in the past few weeks. I have a very different view and wish to respond to that unwarranted criticism.

I strongly support the Green Loans Program’s household sustainability assessor course. It has made incredible achievements in a short and tight time frame (having had to fit in with the three-year Federal Government election cycle), especially in having trained 10,000 assessors in little more than a year. What an achievement!

Some people who are not closely involved with the Green Loans Program have given the impression of a poorly run program; in my experience, the opposite is true.

I have presented the Green Loans course in Sydney and Coffs Harbour under the auspices of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors, and to two community colleges in Sydney.

It is a comprehensive, four-day program that covers the science of buildings in relation to sustainability and delivers in-depth information on thermal performance (namely, why buildings overheat in summer and are too cold in winter); water efficiency, and energy efficiency in existing housing.

As well as attracting experienced practitioners from the architectural, building, photovoltaic and hot-water industries, the course draws new people from many other different industry backgrounds.

Most attendees are mature students seeking new careers in sustainability and it is a privilege to work with people who are so enthusiastic and committed to learning about sustainability. By sharing their professional experiences, and in their relentless questioning, participants complete the course with a solid understanding of the issues and challenges that lie ahead.

The ABSA has done a superb job is designing the course and getting it up and running within three months. To its great credit, the course is now a nationally accredited course that will soon be offered throughout Australia.

I don’t think anyone anticipated the extent of interest the course offering would generate and politicians would be wise to build on the early success of the Green Loans Program. ABSA, take a bow!

Mike Purtell is a member of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors, a Green Loans assessor and an accredited building designer.

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