28 January 2014 — [Updated 30 January 2013]: Leading sustainable built environment researchers Professor Deo Prasad and Professor Peter Newman have been awarded the Order of Australia, the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service to country.
Professor Deo Prasad received the Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to architecture, particularly in the field of sustainable urban design, as an academic and researcher, and to the solar renewable energy sector”.
Professor Prasad, who is the chief executive of the CRC for Low Carbon Living, is particularly well known for his work on high performance buildings and the challenge of bringing sustainability research into front-end design and construction.
“It is an absolute pleasure to receive this honour,” said Professor Prasad. “As someone who was born and raised overseas, it’s wonderful to think that I can make such a valuable contribution to Australia, and that my contribution can be honoured by my adopted homeland in such a meaningful way.”
Professor Prasad was the driving force behind a bid for the development of the CRC for Low Carbon Living in 2012, which focuses on developing a globally competitive low carbon built environment sector within Australia. The bid saw him bring together 50 industry partners to join forces in finding real-world solutions to pressing environmental issues relating to the built environment.
Professor Prasad said that the fragmented nature of the built environment sector made the CRC a particularly challenging prospect.
“Researchers and organisations tend to focus on one element of a larger problem – they’re interested in buildings or they’re interested in cities or in precincts,” he said.
“But the reality is that creating buildings and cities is a multidisciplinary process, and so we need to approach it holistically if we’re serious about building better cities. That has been the focus of my research career, and it really underpins what we’re doing at the CRC.”
See articles in The Fifth Estate:
- Busy first year for CRC for Low Carbon Living
- CRC for Low Carbon Living official launch: look who’s on our side!
Professor Peter Newman, who is director of Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute in Fremantle, and who also leads the Greening the Built Environment program as part of the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre, received the Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to science education as an academic and researcher, through contributions to urban design and transport sustainability, and to the community”.
From 1989 to 2007, Professor Newman was director of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Western Australia, joining Curtin in 2007. He is on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and is a lead author for transport on the IPCC.
Professor Newman has also been a government advisor through three secondments to the Western Australian State Government. In his final secondment, he was the director of sustainability policy in the Department of Premier and Cabinet where he managed and wrote the State Sustainability Strategy: the first in the world at the state/province level. He was also the New South Wales Sustainability Commissioner in 2004–05.
Professor Newman is member of the Global Research Network on Human Settlements Advisory Board and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO SCOPE Ecopolis Project. He also acts as senior consultant at Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark.
See articles in The Fifth Estate:
- Peter Newman: Why climate whingers and climate deniers need to get real
- How will your energy get greener? Depends where you live
There were a number of other recipients in the wider sustainability and built environment field.
Architect Peter Muller was awarded Officer in the General Division for “distinguished service to architecture, to the adaptation and preservation of Indigenous design and construction, and to the integration of the built and environmental landscape”.
Mr Muller is known for his organic conception of architecture and use of natural materials.
Architect Professor Richard Johnson was awarded Officer in the General Division for “distinguished service to architecture, particularly the design of iconic Australian public buildings, to the visual arts and the museum and galleries sector, and to professional associations”.
Professor Johnson has worked on the Museum of Sydney, the Australian Museum, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart.
Architect Louise Cox was awarded Officer in the General Division for “distinguished service to architecture as a practitioner, through executive roles with international professional organisations, and to architectural education and heritage conservation”.
Ms Cox was previously awarded Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1999, and in 2011 she was awarded Chevalier d’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of the highest honorary distinctions granted by France.
She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of NSW, and has been director of McConnel Smith and Johnson for 17 years, and was as an architect and associate for 12 years prior.
Solar researcher Dr David Mills was awarded Member in the General Division for “significant service to science in the field of applied physics, particularly solar energy research and development”.
Dr Mills has been working in the field of solar energy research since 1975, specialising in solar thermal. He was co-founder of solar thermal company Ausra, now Areva Solar.
Renewable energy researcher Emeritus Professor Graham Lindsay Morrison was awarded Member in the General Division for “significant service to science in the field of applied physics, particularly renewable energy and solar thermal technologies”.
Professor Morrison was also a founder of solar thermal company Ausra. He is Emeritus Professor at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of NSW and has been involved in solar thermal energy research and education for over 35 years.
Tasmanian science writer Peter Boyer was awarded Medal in the General Division for “service to conservation and the environment, particularly in the field of climate science”.
Mr Boyer runs the website Climate Tasmania and is an Al Gore-trained Climate Project volunteer.
The late academic Dr Paul Mees was awarded Medal in the General Division for “service to public transport and urban planning as an academic and advocate for creating sustainable cities”.
Dr Mees specialised in urban planning and public transport, and was an Associate Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University.