Tony Arnel

Awards – 19 March 2010: The Green Building Council of Australia Chair, Tony Arnel, received the inaugural Australian Institute of Architects’ Leadership in Sustainability Award last night for his part in the  “dramatic improvement in the standards of sustainable building practice” Australia-wide.

Mr Arnel, an architect, is also a founding director of the GBCA, chair of the World Green Building Council, and Victorian Building and Plumbing Commissioner.

AIA national president Melinda Dodson said Mr Arnel received the honour in recognition of his “extraordinary leadership” over the past two decades “in the area of policy development and regulation at local, national and international levels, which has seen a dramatic improvement in the standards of sustainable building practice within the Australian building industry”.

In Victoria Mr Arnel led the national regulatory reform for energy efficient housing with the introduction of the 5 Star energy rating for homes in 2002.  And he was instrumental in leading the policy reform that resulted in the inclusion of sustainability principles into the National Building Code for the first time.

The jury citation said: “As governments and citizens around the world mobilise to advance sustainability, the important role that the built environment can play in this is being increasingly understood. The Leadership in Sustainability Prize recognises excellence in the enhancement of individual and community well-being and welfare, now and into the future.

“There are individuals and groups showing leadership at local, national and international levels and this prize acknowledges that the advancement of sustainability in the areas of architecture and urban design can, and is happening through a range of inputs, all of which play their unique and valuable part.

“It is a rare occurrence then that someone trained as an architect steps outside the conventional careers of either practice or academic work, to take on a leadership role in the wider construction industry.

“Tony Arnel is just such a person, who has provided extraordinary leadership in the area of policy development and regulation at local, national and international levels, which has seen a dramatic improvement in the standards of sustainable building practice within the Australian building industry.

“After initially demonstrating his leadership working with the City of Melbourne, for over a decade Tony has overseen Victoria’s building industry during a period of dramatic growth as the Victorian Building Commissioner. His leadership of the Commission culminated in the introduction of a 5 Star standard for new homes, making it the first state to achieve this goal.

“As the longest serving member of the Australian Building Codes Board, he has been instrumental in leading national policy reform which has resulted in the adoption of sustainability principles into the Building Code of Australia, and a significant improvement in the minimum standards of energy efficiency of all building types; ultimately leading to a better environment for all Australians.

“In 2008, Tony was elected as the chair of the World Green Building Council, whose mission is to accelerate the transformation of the global built environment into a sustainable one. It is a remarkable international achievement to have an Australian architect and policy specialist leading this strategically important global organization. Tony Arnel, through his dedicated leadership over the last two decades, is a highly worthy recipient of the inaugural Leadership in Sustainability Prize awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects.”

Chief Executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew said Mr Arnel had been “instrumental in driving the green building agenda both domestically and internationally.”

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au