Ngaire McGaw, Aline Taylor
Ngaire McGaw, Aline Taylor

It was great to see our two winners for the tickets to Transform get so much out of the content. 

Huge thanks to the Green Building Council of Australia for making these sought after prizes available for our members and Greenlisters. We hope it will not only spread the message of the GBCA’s work but also the value of becoming members of TFE! (Click here to see details of how you can support our work.)

Our winners were:

Aline Taylor, JLL’s senior risk analyst, commercial compliance and quality, valuations & advisory based in Sydney and Ngaire McGaw, a Green Star Associate and environmental sustainability officer at Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Brisbane.

Aline said she had recently become strongly interested in sustainability and in particular the opportunities to repurpose office furniture and fittings (see our special feature office recycling on The Green List for a list of companies in Sydney who are kicking off a network for this work under the auspices of the Better Buildings and the City of Sydney). 

Aline said she also found the climate change risk session, especially the presentation from Jeremy Mansfield director of Green Cross Australia, very interesting.

And on the session on repurposing waste… (Transforming materials for future products and sustainability by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Professor of Materials Science, University of New South Wales) I could have stayed there for another day listening to this panel.”

The work by Professor Sahajwalla, including “creating new materials from waste that is not waste, just another material,” was mind blowing. In particular the use of coffee ground to make tiles. 

For Ngaire the big message was how to make the business case for change and how to fund programs creatively. The thinking she picked up would be immensely useful for her work at the hospital in health promotion and sustainability.

And there was a lot to learn, she said.

“Over the years I’ve been to a lot of conferences but I was surprised at how much new content I came across.”

“I participated in the energy contracting, energy efficiency and climate risk sessions; all so relevant for my role. 

Making a big impression as someone “who’s got it all” was Davina Rooney, the recently announced new chief executive of the GBCA.

“Also unbelievably refreshing was to hear Davina say she is understanding more each time whenever she hears finance and investment experts talk! I really related to that. 

“It was a way of saying we might all be in this environmental sector but if we understand how the money works [then we can make change happen much faster].”

For instance, in the health sector, there was a great deal of focus on life saving machinery for people who come in the door; “but what about the individuals in the community?”

The classic tussle between long term and short term impact were no less in the health sector than in the property sector, it seems. 

Ngaire planned to share more of what she learned at Transform with the climate and health groups she belongs to, in particular the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, through networks, regular webinars and “my own words”.

The energy sessions were also inspiring.

“You can never learn too much about energy. I don’t come from an engineering background. Maybe for other people there was old news but for me it was gold.”

“It will make me a better advocate for energy saving.”

And governance was yet another highlight.

“There was a fantastic diagram they posted yesterday. You start with the metrics and work out towards the broader circle of governance.” This was something that could definitely be borrowed from strategic work her hospital was working on.

And the winning questions:

Ngaire McGaw: In the next twelve months, Australia needs to establish policies, incentives and learning opportunities (with the help of green building products and standards) which will drive a push to ensure our entire built environment to decarbonise as quickly as possible, while simultaneously offering affordable and appealing buildings, places and green spaces for our diverse community needs.

Aline Taylor: the most urgent thing we need to do for sustainability in the built environment in the next 12 months is repurposing/recycling building and fitouts and materials.

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