Hello 2018, we’re back! And what better way to jump into the groove after a great break than to take on another big event commitment. That’ll sharpen the mojo every time.

Mind every event is big deal for us. The aim is to bring together fabulous speakers, and a great mix of audience and hand-picked “sleepers” in the crowd, primed for provocative interventions.

What we want to do is fan the creative spark so that it turns into a bonfire of ideas, and then zips around the universe of great minds that have flocked to this industry.

A bit theatrical? Maybe. But it’s the emotional quotient that sets off the chain reaction and we have our ebooks and reporting channels to provide the deeper dives and wider reading.

So for our next event. The topic is healthy, happy offices, scheduled for late March, and it will build on the huge work we did in collaboration with CitySwitch for the Healthy Offices ebook (still one of the most popular ebooks yet).

More details will filter out soon but the program will include how to convince the C-suite to get on board. As we know the C-suite can be the last to move even when the evidence is clear and present, not because they are particularly contrarian but because well … they’re busy.

So to get your message across you need to be concise, sharp and totally compelling. Our job is to bring together the experts that can share that insight with our audience both on the day and online when we share the proceeds with our wider audience.

Hello Brisbane, at last!

And the venue? We’re delighted to report it will be in Brisbane, our first event in the capital city of this hugely important state, with its critical biodiversity hot-spot, the Great Barrier Reef and you know what else. So, vitally important for the future of this country and this planet.

We’ll keep you posted on details but for now we can share that supporting sponsors will be fabulous architects Bates Smart, who we met with for a briefing on Tuesday in their Brisbane Street offices in Surry Hills, Sydney; Wood & Grieve; and the CRC for Low Carbon Living. Venue host is Corrs Chambers Westgarth offices at its fabulous 111 Queen Street in BNE (designed by Bates Smart).

Bates Smart team, L to R: Tamara Young, Kellie Payne, Jane Foley

CRC for Low Carbon Living V2

Speaking of the CRC for Low Carbon Living, we also caught up this week with CRC chief executive Deo Prasad at UNSW, who says his team has a stockpile of great evidence to share on why healthy, green offices makes sense (and thereby delivers the happiness bit we’d hope, all other things being equal of course).

We also got a sneak peek at what CRCV2 might look like.

The current model runs until mid next year, so Prasad and his team of supporters are working up now what the new version might look like, and yes, it’s a great time to jump in with your notion of breakthrough sustainability.

So far the shape is around sustainable cities – so big data, mobility, resilience, health and wellbeing. This will move the CRC from the micro level of sustainability in buildings to the macro environment that will facilitate and support them.

We know how to do sustainable buildings

Because let’s face it, we have made big progress in how to do sustainable buildings. We now know how to make them biophilic, we know how to build high-rise timber. We have brilliant new materials, and we’re starting to tackle the supply chain, including understanding and quantifying embodied energy.

And now some of us know how to build 40 storey towers off grid.

Yes. Repeat: off grid. We hope most of you didn’t go away for Christmas so early that you missed our exclusive and hugely uplifting story in the last edition of 2017 that a major project of possibly two 40-storey towers that will be built in Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

The project is the brainchild of the bright sparks at Brookfield Scientific Solutions and Sydney Architecture Studio, kickstarted just last year by Ken McBryde and Tom de Plater.

  • See Plans for game-changing off-grid high-rise revealed

Stay tuned for more details as they come to hand.

On the timber side, just this week we revealed there will soon be a 13-level timber hotel built on top of an existing four level building in Sydney. Now isn’t that a good idea? You keep the existing building and save its embodied energy and you save land space by going up.

According to Adam Strong, from Strongbuild, another milestone will likely be an office building that will be the biggest timber building by volume in the world (Don’t we just love that epithet? Biggest/best/tallest/greatest/greenest in the world. Go Aussie Go!)

What’s missing though is doing more of these amazing buildings.

Which is where the CRCV2 will hopefully kick in by spreading the great breakthroughs at the micro level to the enabling level of the macro.

Prasad’s vision is to bring in even more collaboration across the sector, through industry, government and academia.

The “transformative” impact needs to continue and the evidence is there that the government’s investment has paid off in spades.

“We’ve ticked all the deliverables,” he claims, including fostering the space to see now 104 higher degree students beavering away in more groundbreaking work.

Deo Prasad, CRC for Low Carbon Living

The next phase is all about finding “new platforms for urban scale impacts”. Areas such as water infrastructure, waste and transport.

Big data will be key to solving these problems and then there is the story of autonomous vehicles with its massive potential impacts that will feed through.

Part of the work is to create templates and knowhow so Australia can signal leadership to the world on cities and lend a hand. Already Prasad has been working to build connections in Asia and through the UN.

The CRC is a foundation member of the Global Alliance for Building and Construction that came out of COP21 and was consolidated in COP22 and it’s also playing a key role in Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals for the UN, which is all about cities.

It’s so important to be ahead of the pack, Prasad says.

And yes, we have to agree. In the race to save this planet it feels like it’s the right place to be.

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