Robert Care has been named Professional Engineer of the Year in the annual Sydney Engineering Excellence Awards by Engineers Australia held last week, while sustainability winners picked up awards at other state based awards for the association.

Other winners included University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra’s Illawarra Flame house, the solar-powered, net-zero conversion of a 1960s fibro cottage. The project was joint winner of the President’s Award,sharing it with the Green Materials project by joint entrants UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, OneSteel and Brickworks.

Dr Care has been a member of Arup’s global board with responsibility for ethics and sustainability, chair of Arup’s Australasian region for many years and a board member for RedR, or Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief. In 2012 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to Engineering, Business, Humanitarian Programs and Athletics.

Professor Paul Cooper, SBRC director and faculty advisor on the Illawarra Flame project, said the project was an example of how anyone renovating or building a home could embrace sustainable materials and technology while maintaining comfort and affordability.

The project won the Solar Decathlon China in 2013, and incorporates student-designed innovations including solar electricity and thermal energy harvesting systems, a thermal mass wall that helps regulate temperature made from crushed recycled terracotta roof tiles, and an advanced domestic building management system that also monitors energy production and consumption.

The Green Materials project involved research and development of novel processes to transform waste, automotive glass and plastics into value-added materials. This project also won the award for Research and Development.

The Young Professional Engineer of the Year winner, Alex Metelerkamp, is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Zenogen, a start-up firm that is developing the next generation of fuel cell catalysts using electrode technology from the University of NSW that enables more efficient hydrogen gas production and commercially viable energy storage for renewable energy systems.

Environment and Heritage Ward for Excellence went to the Tomago Wetlands Restoration Project, by Water Research Laboratory, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Australia and joint entrants Parks and Wildlife Group, Office of Environment and Heritage and Conservation Action Group, NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Green design and construction showcase One Central Park scored the Buildings and Structures award for Robert Bird Group with joint entrants Arup, WSP & Kennovations.

IT innovation is also doing its bit to support sustainability, as Project Caramello by LX Design House, which won the Software and Embedded Systems category, shows.

The team’s development of a koala tracking device that uploads real-time data to the cloud is also more comfortable for the endangered Australian icon as it replaces the former bulky electronic devices that were fitted around an animal’s neck with a small, light, pendant style device that allows them to sleep naturally with their chins tucked into their chests. It also allows researchers to track and monitor them via web interface, reducing the need to disturb their day-to-day activities.

WA

At the Western Australian Engineering Excellence Awards, water was the theme of the night. Two projects that have strong sustainability overtones were major winners across two categories each.

The Mundaring Water Treatment Plant in the Perth hills won the Infrastructure and Building award, as well as the Engineering for Regional Communities award for Joint Venture partners GHD and Acciona Trility, and the Hyde Park Lakes Restoration project in City of Vincent won both the Environment award for Advanteering Civil Engineers and GHD and the Small Company Projects award for Advanteering, a Perth-based firm.

Queensland

In Queensland, public transport and the health sector proved major winners.

The $360 million Richlands to Springfield project by TrackStar Alliance won the major award, the RW Hawken Award, and also an Excellence Award in the Project Management category. The transport infrastructure project comprised 9.5 kilometres of electrified dual-track passenger rail line, two new stations at the new urban growth centre of Springfield and Springfield Central, seven rail bridges, over 1.5km of elevated rail structures including an 815m-long viaduct, and a 5.5km Centenary Highway upgrade.

In the Building and Structures Category the $1.76 billion Gold Coast University Hospital by the GCUH Engineering Joint Venture of Aurecon and Jacobs was awarded the Excellence Award. The project is one of the largest health infrastructure projects in Australia, and was master-planned as a transport-oriented development, with a dedicated health precinct light rail station.

The GCUH also has a precinct-wide ring-main that uses cogeneration to meet energy needs, and utilised passive sustainable design principles including extensive use of natural light, effective solar orientation, facade shading, thermal massing, natural ventilation, as well as extensive landscaping for patient and staff wellbeing and minimal volatile organic compounds in finishes, adhesives and fixatives.

Victoria

In Victoria, RMIT’s Swanston Academic Building won RMIT, Bonacci and AECOM the Building and Structures Award. The project features a wide range of sustainability initiatives including smart automation, extensive vertical greening, operable facade elements for natural ventilation, high-performance glazing and energy efficient electrical and mechanical systems.

The Environment Award for Excellence was awarded to Goulburn-Murray Water for the Hattah Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Project. This project restored an area of national park allowing the natural replication of flooding through a system of channels and gates, receiving strong community support and engagement.

There were two joint winners of the Infrastructure Awards over $20 million, the Eastern tertiary Alliance comprising Melbourne Water, UGL, Black and Veatch, KBR, and Lend Lease; and Melbourne Water in conjunction with Resources Alliance comprising Melbourne Water, LendLease [formerly Baulderstone], UGL, Beca, MWH, and Jacobs [formerly SKM] for the Western Treatment Plant 55E Cover Renewal.