After two fantastic workshops in Melbourne and Sydney; after great insights from the most interesting people working on tenant engagement, sustainability and advertising; and after more than 100 people from the biggest property companies and consultancies in Australia proved that promoting sustainability is not just a good thing to do, but loads of fun as well, the NABERS team on Thursday announced it had picked a winner for its Creative Stars Competition.

And the winner is Ausnviro, with a concept presented on behalf of its client Cbus property at 171 Collins Street in Melbourne.

The winning idea is a fluid hologram of a tree that can be displayed in office lobbies and will change in foliage and branches to reflect the building’s sustainability achievements.

To the winner go the spoils: up to $10,000 in matched funding to turn the concept into reality.

A spokesperson for NABERS said the winning idea was exciting because it “challenges the status quo and demonstrates a unique and creative way to conceptualise how a building performs and its environmental impact”.

“We look forward to watching this idea unfold and we hope it will inspire others to explore creative ways to demonstrate NABERS ratings. We thank all of the participants and we specially thank those who submitted a project idea.”

Equal runners up were Dexus and City of Melbourne.

Dexus presented a laser light display inspired by Vivid Sydney and the Gertrude Street projection festival in Melbourne. The idea was for projections of images of various Melbourne iconic buildings to symbolise achievements in each of the NABERS ratings targets. For example, for water an image of Albert Park Lake would be displayed and images of boats inserted as an indicator of water savings. The waste rating would use the Melbourne Cricket Ground filled with waste to indicate the diversion from landfill.

City of Melbourne designed a concept that could turn a lift ride into an immersive, sensory experience of lush, red-veined leaves and tropical rainforest.

A huge thanks from The Fifth Estate team to NABERS, our collaborative partner and sponsor in the Mad Men (and women) workshops, and a very special thanks to all contestants who made time in their day to come and to bring a great deal of good will and enthusiasm with them.

It needs to be said that all of the ideas offered for the competition were creative and fully engaging, and there is also an important observation that has to come into play.

The way the teams worked in Mad Men events in Sydney and Melbourne underscored what we’ve heard so often about the property industry in Australia – it works competitively and collaborative at the same time, and that’s why it’s leading the world in so many sustainability metrics (at least at the top end).

The judges (including a representative from The Fifth Estate) reported it was very hard to make a decision – all the entrants had strong merits, creativity and were clearly inspired, engaged and determined to win.

In fact it, would be good to see all the concepts find their way into daily use.

The event also raised $950 for Women’s Property Initiative.

We chose this charity in collaboration with NABERS for its obvious connection to the built environment as well its nod to the social sustainability that is absolutely essential in environmental and climate targets; that is we know that ethical and equity issues are fundamental to any meaningful success we have in our work for the built environment, sustainability in general and climate action.

The winner: Ausnviro

Here’s how Ausnviro managing director Jay Gualtieri headed the entry:

Let us take you on a journey

It’s Wednesday night and you’ve had a particularly long week. Half of your team was struck down with the flu so you’ve been working extra hours to make your deadlines. For the last 30 minutes, you’ve been staring out of your window hoping that it will still be light by the time you leave tonight. You’re stressed, you’re distracted and now your throat is scratchy. The clock finally ticks over 5:00pm and you’re up out of your seat, switching off your computer, keen to put the day behind you. You race down the corridor and into the stairwell triggering the lights to flash on as you fly past the motion sensors. You reach the ground floor, burst into the foyer and stop.

You can hear tweeting birds, water bubbling and bees buzzing. If you didn’t know any better you would have thought you were in the Botanic Gardens on a summer’s day. The sounds are getting louder and louder, prickling you with curiosity and then you see it. There is a large eucalyptus tree glowing in the foyer. It instantly brings a smile to your face and you make a beeline for it, joining the crowd milling at the base of the trunk. You take photos, you call your colleagues who are still in the office to tell them to come quickly. You’ve forgotten all about scratchy throat.

As you get closer you take a look at the base of the tree trunk and learn that your office has a 6 Star NABERS Base Building Energy rating. Your building performs more efficiently than 100 per cent of buildings in Victoria! Your mind has been blown. You are overcome with pride for your workplace. You upload a photo to your Facebook page with the hashtag #MyNABERSarebetterthanyours. You giggle to yourself as you tag John, your actual neighbour, knowing that his building’s NABERS rating is nowhere near this good. His office doesn’t even have windows! Man, will he be jealous!

And the details:

A hologram in the shape of a eucalyptus the foyer. The tree will come to life with colours, sounds and moving images.

The building’s weekly energy performance will dictate the health and size of the tree.

If the building’s energy consumption during the previous week is maintained or reduces, the tree will appear in full health and at full height (24 feet, or 7.3 metres). There will be birds, insects, lush green foliage, animals, flowers and blue skies.

If the energy consumption during the previous week is greater than the baseline energy consumption, the tree will deteriorate. The tree will exhibit a degree of poor health for every 0.1 NABERS stars that the building loses during that previous week.

First the birds and the insects will fly away. Then the branches will droop, the leaves will fall, the sky will darken and the tree will lose some height.

Gold star increments reflecting the current energy rating will coincide with the height of the tree:

  • A 6 star NABERS energy rating will cultivate a 24ft (7.3m) tall tree
  • A 5.5 NABERS star energy rating will cultivate a 21ft (6.4m) tall tree
  • A 5 star NABERS energy rating will cultivate an 18ft (5.5m) tall tree and;
  • A 4.5 star NABERS energy rating will cultivate a 15ft (4.6m) tall tree, and so on and so forth.

The base of the hologram will be made from reclaimed timber where a screen displaying the full NABERS certificate including the star rating, NABERS logo and rating expiration.

There will be a secondary interactive screen which provides information on how the building compares to other buildings in the state and how many emissions are used/saved each week and what that equates to in trees logged/planted each week.


Runner-ups Harleen Bysterveld and Trudi Cummins of Dexus present their ideas

Dexus chose laser light displays to demonstrate NABERS ratings.

Its proposal was for each display to be unique to each building and driven by the architectural constraints. For instance, “Where there is no clear wall for external/internal display we might look at installing on the entrance floor so that building users need to walk over it rather than past it.”

At 385 Bourke Street the idea was to to use either the façade around the lower level retail area or a landing.

A Melbourne-based image such as the Art Centre Tower or the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Albert Park Lake would be used to demonstrate achievements in various NABERS metrics of energy, waste and water. The MCG would fill up with rubbish, or empty, for instance.

“By showing images of local Melbourne iconic locations the users of the building can instantly understand how the building is performing in all areas of sustainability.

“Everyone is driven by different motivations and this picks up on several areas, including local pride and patriotism, a sense of competition, as well as being entertaining and aesthetically pleasing from the street.

“By providing the right motivation the users of the building will begin to take more personal responsibility for the performance and will look out for the improvements in the landmarks each week or month.”

The City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne’s entry was entitled SensiLift, described as a “fully immersive, sensory experience to remind you of your place on this beautiful planet”:

Take a ride and recognise the calming and rejuvenating benefits of a superior indoor environment with all the hallmarks of the sensory wonders of our beautiful natural world – a living forest, the mysterious rustle of lush, red-veined leaves.

Feel cool as you are transported to a clear alpine stream on a hot day. Luxuriate in the heady warmth of a tropical rainforest on a cold winter’s eve.

We will create a space far removed from office and city, from the mundane, from the din and pall of our pressured modern existence. The humble 3 x 2 metre lift will transform into the world of our ancestors through our visual, auditory and olfactory sensors. The space will bring a sense of peace and wonder, a brief moment of sanctuary.

To complement the sensory experience the lift will boldly display the NABERS IE rating and a QR code will take lift riders to a dedicated landing page featuring:

  • information about NABERS IE and the other NABERS rating tools
  • key features and milestones in CH2’s social and environmental sustainability journey
  • important information about the health and productivity benefits of “green buildings”
  • a link to the NABERS homepage

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