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New 3D modelling an urban-planning game-changer for carbon neutrality

New 3D digital prototyping promises to be a game-changer for planning future city precincts, or engaging the community, to ensure they are both sustainable and carbon neutral. (15 September 2017)

The Precinct Information Modelling (PIM) research, funded by the CRC for Low Carbon living (CRCLCL) and involving industry and academic partners, is being discussed today at a special industry symposium: Using Precinct Information Modelling (PIM) to Support Carbon Management.

The concept of PIM is an extension of the currently used Building Information Modelling (BIM), a 3D digital modelling process that is used widely within the building design, construction and facility management professions.

CRLCL Project Leader, Jim Plume said the new research shows that by adapting this current technology within an open source PIM structure, there is enormous potential to make a serious difference in reducing carbon emissions and ensuring future city precincts are sustainable and carbon neutral.

“After three years of research looking at how this data can be structured and operated in an open source model, we are now at the threshold of putting it into practice.  The next step is for industry and the community to start using PIM,” he said.

PIM is not a software tool, it is an open-source, public information modelling standard that, by its nature, cannot be commercialised, but is designed to provide a framework for representing the data required to achieve carbon neutrality of the urban assets that constitute a precinct.

“PIM entails a process that is supported by a digital database technology that can be used by a wide range of industry practitioners responsible for the planning, design, delivery and operational management of the built environment,” Plume explained.

In addition, the same information can become a resource for the community who are interacting with the built environment, allowing them to contribute to the planning process and outcome – so it is not limited to industry alone.

“In a nutshell PIM can lend critical support for the smart cities and communities that are emerging in response to the challenges of rapid urban growth in Australia and urbanisation across the globe,” said Plume.

“I believe PIM will make a major contribution for communities who aspire to having better, liveable, sustainable, resilient and safe cities for all, not just in Australia but across the globe.

“We are actively part of international efforts to use better information access and sharing to address sustainability issues around the world. A key outcome for us would be an opportunity to implement and refine these technologies in selected, strategic precincts in Australia, keeping us abreast of best global practice,” he said.

Overall, the National Position Paper being discussed at today’s Industry forum, describes the development of PIM as an open data model designed to represent a precinct in a format that can be shared across all application software tools used in the process of managing the built environment, with a focus on carbon management.

The discussion will be grounded in the context of precinct planning and development, drawing on interactions with a range of CRCLCL projects from the Low Carbon Precincts Program.

CRC for Low Carbon Living Sharon Kelly
E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au|
M: +61 414 780 077

Australia’s first official guide to cooling cities launched

Australia’s first national guide designed to keep city dwellers cooler during hot weather by helping landscape architects, urban designers, planners, local authorities, government agencies and developers mitigate urban heat islands and microclimates created by cities, was launched today at the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s (CRCLCL) Cooling Cities National Forum. ( 4 August 2017 )

UNSW’s Dr Paul Osmond and CRLCL project leader, who led the research and industry team that compiled the Guide to Urban Cooling Strategies said it covered different climate zones that define cities across Australia.

“The range of urban landscapes that the Guide covers include dense inner cities, middle ring and outer suburbs with a focus on design intervention, including streetscapes, plazas, squares and malls,” he said.

Dr Paul Osmond presents at the Forum

“The importance of design which embraces vegetation cover, particularly tree canopy;  the use of shade to minimise heat; and the orientation of these elements are also key to cooling. Interventions may be active, such as misting systems and awnings, or passive, like street trees, green roofs, water bodies, cool roofs and facades.

“All these elements have an effect on urban temperatures.  For example, radiant temperatures in urban parks with sufficient irrigation can be 2-4°C cooler compared with adjacent unvegetated or built-up areas, while air temperature reduction may be up to 2°C according to a park’s extent and the proportion of trees.  This is is known as the park cool island effect,” explained Dr Osmond.

“The Guide also highlights the fact that street trees contribute to radiant and air temperature reduction by evapotranspiration and shading over buildings and street surfaces.  A streetscape with heavy tree canopy can enjoy up to 15°C cooler surfaces and 1.5°C cooler air temperature compared with a street with no tree canopy and shade,” he said.

Three dimensions contexualise the effectiveness of urban cooling strategies are used in the Guide: urban form, climate type and the nature of intervention. This matrix provides the Guide’s framework in terms of process (methods) and product (the design outcomes).

Dr Osmond explained that urban climates are ultimately created from a balance between the heat of the sun and heat lost from walls, roofs and ground; by heat exchange via air movement between ground, buildings and atmosphere; and by heat generation within the city itself, for example from motor transport.

Global climate change and the urban heat island phenomenon – where cities absorb and release more heat than the surrounding countryside – carry growing potential to make urban life at particular times and places an exercise in low-grade misery. Studies across the world’s major cities show that a systematic higher average temperature of 2°C to 12°C exists in highly-urbanised areas compared with their rural surroundings,” Dr Osmond said.

“Improving liveability, health and wellbeing are critical challenges for our cities, especially in light of our rapidly changing climate. This guide will provide built environment professionals with evidence based design strategies that can be directly applied to projects, no matter what scale, and ultimately help keep our cities cool,” said Brett Pollard, Principal at industry partner in the project’s HASSELL Studio.

CRCLCL CEO, Professor Deo Prasad AO, said the Guide was also a major milestone in the CRCLCL’s work as it brings together data from a three-year Urban Microclimates project it has funded.

“This publication is unique, as it not only draws on our painstaking three year research along with global research, it cross-references to our Microclimate and Urban Heat Island Decision-Support Tool project and benefits from relevant research at the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities,” said Professor Prasad.

“The Guide combines high quality research with the input of industry and government partners. Government and industry partners of the CRCLCL, such as HASSELL, AECOM and Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) were instrumental in producing a Guide which reflects the needs of end-users.

“Our research is driven by the needs of end-users and I believe the Guide to Urban Cooling Strategies should be read by all those involved in creating built environments so they can plan and design for the future, to ensure generations to come will be living in cities that minimise the effects of climate change, particularly when extreme heat is an outcome,” said Professor Prasad.

Roger Swinbourne, Technical Director at AECOM noted that as a multidisciplinary infrastructure firm, AECOM is proud to be an industry partner of the CRCLCL.

“We see the benefits of bringing academic rigour to the way we plan our public domain and how it can influence the way cities deliver open space,” he said.

For an advanced copy of the guide and to arrange interviews please contact:

CRC for Low Carbon Living Sharon Kelly
E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au|
M: +61 414 780 077

New report: Regulating the Transition to a Low Carbon Built Environment

A new report by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) says Australia’s energy efficiency policy and regulation is not keeping up with market realities and best practices in other OECD countries, and has called for a comprehensive review to help Australia transition rapidly to the economically attractive low-carbon built environment of the future. (26 May 2017)

According to Philip Harrington of Strategy.Policy.Research., who prepared the report (Best Practice Policy and Regulation for Low Carbon Outcomes in the Built Environment) on behalf of the CRCLCL, Australia has some examples of best practice policy and regulation, but there is much room for improvement.

“Australia has some excellent initiatives in the built environment, including the voluntary rating scheme, NABERS, which is recognised around the world; the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) scheme that requires mandatory disclosure of the energy performance of larger office spaces; as well as ambitious local and state government carbon reduction targets, and initiatives requiring above-minimum energy and sustainability performance standards via some local government planning schemes,” said Mr Harrington.

“However, some of the best measures are limited in scope, while the list of poor policy and regulatory practices in Australia’s built environment is long. One key reason we are falling behind is that we have not updated regulatory measures, such as minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for buildings, since 2009, and they are not currently scheduled to be updated until 2019 or 2022.  Similarly, product and appliance standards have been largely frozen for many years, due to government-imposed processes such as regulatory offsets.  The interests of consumers in high and cost effective standards is not being put to the fore.

“There is a strong case for expanding and updating existing national measures including the MEPS, Commercial Building Disclosure and the NABERS ratings tools, in the shorter term. Opportunities to take action on this include through the National Energy Productivity Plan and the 2017 Climate Policy Review process, to which the CRCLCL has recently made a submission.

“There is also an argument for looking to policy models commonly found overseas, of which Australia has previously been wary, including national energy savings targets and related schemes, and market transformation initiatives that bring down the cost of high-performance equipment,” he said.

CRCLCL Deputy Chair Sandy Hollway AO, said there were economically-attractive opportunities to move Australia towards global best practices in built environment policy and regulation.

“ASBEC recently estimated the potential for building energy efficiency improvement to be at least 50 per cent by 2050[1], and we are also seeing reductions in the cost of solar and other renewable energy sources which we must ensure we take advantage of,” said Mr Hollway.

“The report shows that what’s needed is a thorough review and rationalisation of policies and regulations in consultation with states, territories, industry and the community. It is only through a nationally-led, concerted effort that we can hope to achieve an effective policy framework for the low-carbon built environment of the future,” he said.

CRCLCL Chief Executive Officer, Professor Deo Prasad AO, said because Australia’s regulations have not been updated over a period when energy prices have been dramatically rising and technology costs for low carbon solutions, such as solar, have fallen, Australian residents and businesses are paying for it in higher energy costs.

“Setting a forward trajectory for regulatory settings under the National Construction Code could help remove regulatory uncertainty and decrease the riskiness of business investment in low-carbon products, services and business models,” said Professor Prasad.

“The CRCLCL works with government and industry partners to develop applied research projects that address current and emerging policy and practice challenges and opportunities.  With more than 80 research projects covering low carbon buildings, precincts and communities, we are delivering a high quality evidence-base for low carbon planning and policy, as well as the tools, technologies and strategies that will help ensure the Australian built environment sector remains globally competitive,” he said.

For a full copy of the report Best Practice Policy and Regulation for Low Carbon Outcomes in the Built Environment, and the associated Policy Guide Note, visit the CRC for Low Carbon Living website.

[1] ASBEC, Low Carbon High Performance, April 2016, p. 61.

 

National energy-efficiency education, increased incentives and new government policy recommended for building industry – new research

To help Australia reach its carbon reduction targets, developing a coordinated national built environment education platform; bridging gaps between research, training and policy; developing an industry coordinated approach to training incentives; and preparing a future building workforce, are four key recommendations made in new research published today by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL). (10 October 2016)

Entitled Policy impediments and incentives for effective education and training the research analysed current building industry continuing professional development (CPD) sustainability and energy-efficiency education programs, CPD policy incentives and impediments, international policy and interviews with industry leaders and researchers.

The research found that there are more impediments than incentives to Australian education policies for sustainability, energy efficiency and low carbon living for trades and professionals working in the built environment.

CRCLCL Research Node Leader, Professor Peter Graham of Swinburne University, said that incentives only embraced professional standing and risk minimisation but the impediments included a lack of government leadership and adequate long-term policy; limited research cooperation, communication and implementation of findings; deficits in CPD policy and program synchronicity; and inadequate industry engagement in CPD, with limited mutual recognition and human capital adaption.

“Overall there are minimal if any legislative or professional requirements to engage in CPD, and almost none relating specifically to sustainability, energy efficiency or carbon minimisation up-skilling programs.  Australia lacks a government legislated or voluntary built environment council with the proper resources to lead and implement CPD policy or programs through industry and government collaboration,” said Professor Graham.

“The analysis of current training policies raised major concerns about the lack of incentives. The report therefore recommends that the Commonwealth Government and industry leaders collaborate to initiate an independent, national built environment education and CPD platform to consistently develop the capability of professionals and tradespeople to deliver sustainable built environments.”

The research also found that to bridge the gap between research, CPD and policy, key industry stakeholders have the potential to eliminate confusion and inconsistencies in CPD programs and develop a collaborative CPD policy framework.

Report author and researcher, Tomi Winfree, explained that ultimately knowledge and skills across the supply chain need to be integrated for consistent practices to emerge between various job roles.

“Similar to measure 25 in the COAG Energy Council’s National Energy Productivity Plan 2015-2030, we recommend that built environment experts from government, industry, research and educational institutions collaboratively identify the knowledge and skills required to foster a low carbon built environment,” she said.

“The knowledge and skills need to be specific to each identified role within the supply chain, being planning, design, engineering, construction and facilities management, as an integrated overarching industry framework. The framework should be promoted nationally as a tool to facilitate a consistent industry-wide approach and used to review vocational, tertiary and CPD education programs to identify and eliminate the gaps and inconsistencies in current policies and programs.

“Trades and professionals need evidence based knowledge available on the job, in a format that can foster skills development and integration into practice. This expert group, with specialist support, should also be tasked with the development of a set of open educational resources building on existing information and explore the potential for new delivery programs. However, these should not be more of the same, being long wordy information sets and seminars. New delivery methods must be engaging, user friendly, context specific and readily transferable into practice to be successful,” said Ms Winfree.

Report author, researcher and labour market economist, Dr Alexis Esposto, argues that in order to maintain and improve our national and international competitiveness in the built environment, our labour force needs to match the skills requirements to the industry challenges.

“Everyone at work has to be conscious, capable and accountable in their job.  Every individual has a role to play and needs to become a contributor to a sustainable future. One way of doing this, is by creating a set of green job capabilities that helps to transform every job, skill and competency,” explained Dr Esposto.

Professor Graham concluded by saying it was time to prepare the sustainable building workforce.

“Up until now formal education programs have had an ad-hoc response to industry demand, based on the perspective of peak industry groups, but this needs to change especially as knowledge and technology grows and the sustainable built environment sector broadens.  We need to be ready to meet future knowledge and skill demands through a solid, agreed education policy process. The challenge is the need to integrate new initiatives into trade and professional qualifications at the same time as prioritizing CPD opportunities and engagement incentives for the existing workforce,” he said.

 Low carbon living programs achieve national impact as CRC on target to reduce 10MT of CO2  by 2020

Annual Participants Forum:  15-16 November 2016, Australian National Maritime Museum

As Australia ratifies the Paris Agreement at COP22 in Marrakesh, back home the largest low carbon living organisation – the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) – is on track to meet its cumulative reduction target of 10 megatons of CO2 by 2020, with many of its 85 programs achieving national impact. Funding of just under $0.5 million for a new national zero energy homes (ZEH) project was also officially announced today by CEO Professor Deo Prasad at the opening of the CRCLCL’s annual Participants Forum.

“As the CRC reaches year four of seven, I am pleased to report that we are on track to meet our carbon reduction goals and the funding of this new national program to ensure zero energy homes are part of our low carbon cities future, will play a key role in achieving these goals,” he said.

“This project, which will be directed by Josh Byrne of Josh’s House fame will focus on developing an agreed position amongst stakeholders on the current barriers put forward by the housing industry to make ZEH part of our future,” he said.

“There will be extensive data collected to measure consumer interest in ZEH features comparative to more typical value add items in a home.  Ultimately once armed with data through coordinated end user engagement and communications, the program will engage and inform the development and construction industry of the market potential for ZEH so change can occur.”

Byrne, a Senior Research Fellow with Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute, has been on board with the CRCLCL from the beginning. His CRCLCL funded work has grown  from an initial two building project, where low carbon systems were set up and daily data produced that proved running a zero energy home is easily achieved, to a whole precinct and now a national impact program.

According to Byrne the project – which also includes building three ZEH display homes in partnership with land developers in new housing developments around Australia – will help make important steps in taking Australia in the right direction towards a zero carbon future by 2050.

“Around 100,000 detached houses are built nationally each year. With the average operational greenhouse gas emissions in the order of seven tonnes per dwelling, if all new homes were built as ZEH, total emissions would be reduced by around   700,000 tonnes of CO2-e per year,” he said.

“As Australia works towards meeting its carbon reduction target of zero emissions by 2050, the housing sector is seen by many as low hanging fruit to help meet this goal. Internationally the European Union and the State of California in the United States are ahead, with regulations in place to adopt ZEH for all newly constructed homes by 2020. Meanwhile, Australia lags behind and we intend to change the situation via this program.”

The project will draw on the experiences of Josh’s House and other ZEH buildings plus related CRCLCL activities such as RP3029: Driving a National Conversation on Energy Efficient Housing which is another project achieving national impact and making headway.  In this five-year project the intended outcomes are to reinforce and create positivity about sustainable housing.  This will be done through engagement and digital conversation whilst supporting how participants learn as they go along.

Professor Prasad said that the National Conversation program is focussed on helping to change how people approach housing and educate them about the benefits of living with increased comfort and health, whilst reducing running costs.

“This national program is ambitious as it really is about shifting social patterns so that ultimately having sustainable housing will become the first ask of home owners, tenants and investors,” said Professor Prasad.

A third national impact program the CRCLCL has recently provided funding is a community co-design of low carbon precincts for urban regeneration in established suburbs.

From 2016-2018, this new collaborative regeneration initiative will prototype an innovative model for delivering sustainable, liveable medium-density housing in regenerating middle suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, also known as ‘greyfields’.

“As our population continues to urbanise as more people move into cities, there is still a stumbling block for governments to support providing more diverse, properly located, affordable and environmentally friendly accommodation and this needs to change, particularly as trends suggest 70% of all new dwellings will be built within existing urban areas, with the focus of this infill often high-profile, large scale renewal projects,” said Professor Prasad

The project will establish Greyfield Renewal Precincts as a viable option for liveability, sustainability and housing choice in metropolitan strategies, whilst working with local and state government to determine the criteria for precinct assessment, statutory regulation and concessions that can be earned through more effective use of land.

The project members will also liaise with land owners and land amalgamation professionals through a collaborative governance process to consolidate lots, and then, in conjunction with local government, assist landowners design and validate their regeneration precincts.  Finally it will establish a formal and certifiable process for implementing the process nationally.

“As the IEA said in its recent report, energy efficiency needs to be central in energy policies around the world, and to do this the mind-sets of consumers, governments, policy makers and importantly the building industry must change.  Sustainable buildings are better and can be cost effective whilst delivering healthy places to live and work.  The CRC’s many programs are making this change a reality,” concluded Professor Prasad.

For full program for the CRLCL’s Participant’s Forum click here.  For the CRCLCL’s annual highlights please click here.

before-and-after_siggys-house

90 Victorian storm-hit homes benefit from new roof ‘shrink-wrap’ technology – but more fitters need training as help flown in

After devastating storms hit the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, on 9 October 2016, more severe weather followed, but 90 homes initially affected were protected from further damage by StormsealTM  – a new, state-of-the-art, patented material, designed to heat-seal buildings and roofs against wind and rain when damaged by storms or left open during construction.  But more accredited fitters need training.

Nick Hatch, Director of Insurance Roofing Services – which looks after securing damaged homes following storms, said after more bad weather hit they received no calls to resecure covers from homes fitted with Stormseal™.

“When tarpaulins are used to cover storm-damaged roofs when more bad weather hits we are usually inundated with calls to come and resecure them.  But this has not been the case with Stormseal,” he said.

“Importantly residents that initially had tarpaulins covering gaping roof holes said they felt more secure and safer in their home after Stormseal was fitted, plus reporting it was quieter as there were no more tarpaulins flapping about.

“This is a product that really works but the challenge is to get more people accredited to fit Stormseal, especially as storm season is upon us. For Victoria we had to fly in 15 trained fitters to meet the demand,” said Mr Hatch.

Stormseal™ inventor and Managing Director, Matthew Lennox, said the company is working with Pinnacle Safety and Training and offering Stormseal national accredited training programs to tradespeople while Australian insurance companies are hopeful more tradesman will be trained sooner rather than later.

“We need more people trained across the country as Stormseal™ will revolutionise the way tradespeople cover a house awaiting repair following a big storm or during construction, using a method that can allow residents to stay in the house because it is a water and wind tight system, whilst providing protection from further damage if storms continue,” he said.

Mrs Sugi Wignesan from Upwey, Victoria is one storm victim that now has Stormseal™ protecting her home after two massive gum trees crashed into the back of her house in the first storm.

“When the storm hit it was really scary as the wind was cyclonic. I knew in my heart I had to get into the garage, which is beneath the house, as within five minutes I heard the trees hit, taking out the study, my laundry, son’s bathroom and bedroom.  The sound was terrifying but I had opened three doors to let the air through leaving the security doors closed, otherwise the whole house would have exploded with the internal pressure,” she said.

“The SES and insurance company were very busy, so it was a whole day and many phone calls until finally the next day I had the tree removed and I many temporary tarpaulins installed, which was followed the next day by Stormseal™. I found this was far more secure, protective, less noisy and neat, plus it let in light and brightened up my gloomy destroyed home with no electricity to date.

“I am so grateful for Stormseal™ as more torrential rain and winds followed but not a drop of water came into my home.  I sat under it feeling safe with no roof or ceiling and the rain just bucketing down salvaging remnants of my contents which were secure and safe from further water damage.

“Stormseal has made me feel safe and secure in my devastated home.  I can get on with the clean-up and preparation for rebuilding without worrying about any more bad weather hitting.  Even my builder was very impressed and interested in the product, he said that with the present unpredictable weather conditions he planned to work under it without removing it,” said Mrs Wignesan.

The idea for Stormseal came to Managing Director Matthew Lennox when he was overseeing repairs and reconstruction on behalf of several insurance companies following storm episodes and during continual wet and windy conditions, where he saw damages claims multiply fourfold due to failing tarpaulins. He also presented his invention on the ABC’s New Inventors show and it took off from there.

“It has been a long process but now we are now underway, especially as the Australian Government recently awarded us a grant of $450,000 to fund training and taking the product further to market which will benefit not only home owners but insurers as well,” Mr Lennox concluded.

Photo c/o Stormseal:   Sugi Wignesan house before and after Stormseal

For media inquiries please contact Sharon Kelly on 0414 780 077 or email sharon@gemaker.com.au

 

Consumers want energy-efficiency facts on homes – new research shows

Overwhelming support for a national voluntary home energy efficiency disclosure system, designed to empower consumers to rate and value homes with lower running costs and health, comfort and sustainability benefits, was revealed in new research published today by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL). (1 August 2016)

Results show that 92 per cent of housing consumers want energy efficiency details revealed in building inspection reports; 82 per cent at open inspection and 72 per cent in property advertising, with half of home buyers and renters willing to pay for this information.

Funded by the CRCLCL, industry members of the EnergyFit Homes initiative* and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the two-year research project also revealed that 90 per cent of building professionals and tradespersons supported providing this information at the time of sale or lease.

Called the EnergyFit Homes Project, the research was carried out by teams from the CSIRO and Common Capital and overseen by CRCLCL program leader Dr Stephen White.

“The research’s key focus was to understand industry and consumer support for a national voluntary disclosure system that would measure, benchmark and communicate information on the energy performance of existing homes, especially at the time of sale or lease, and provide recommendations on how to implement such a system,” said Dr White.

“The results overwhelmingly show that such a system would be accepted in Australia.  It would also bring financial benefits.  For example, in Europe and North America where mandatory home energy rating schemes exist, the value of energy efficient homes rose between 3 per cent and 14 per cent when high energy efficiency performance was disclosed to buyers.”

“The research echoes this overseas experience.  Using a simulated property marketing website as part of our research, Australian home buyers expressed more interest in visiting high energy-efficiency star rated homes than homes without a rating, and placed more value on these homes as well.” he said.

The study’s key recommendation was that a single, national home energy rating system be established and delivered by the market with credible, independent oversight by government, industry research and consumer groups.  This system would provide ratings, information and tips on the energy efficiency and comfort of homes, and could be delivered at low cost, by a broad range of trained existing building trades and property professionals.

The recommended system design is estimated to deliver a net public benefit of between $42 to $535 million, 158 GWh to 1,827 GWh in annual electricity savings and $63 million to $733 million in annual household bill savings, and $437 to $5,068 million for industry from additional investments in household energy efficiency.

Lead research author, Henry Adams – a policy specialist on the project and director of Common Capital – said it was time an energy rating system for consumers was introduced, similar to what has been created with GreenPower or NABERS for commercial buildings.

“A national home energy ratings system is a no brainer: Government, industry and consumers alike agree that we need a common language to understand and communicate the comfort, efficiency and running costs of existing homes,” he said.

Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) – which recently launched Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook and also helped fund the study – said that smart energy use can drive economic growth and improve health and wellbeing across the board,  including the residential property market.

“Disclosure of home energy performance is a basic consumer protection. A national voluntary disclosure scheme would help inform home buyers and renters on two critical issues – comfort and ongoing energy costs – that are really hard to judge before moving into a new home,” he said.

For more information email info@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au

*The EnergyFit Homes Initiative is a collaborative approach to unlocking the value of energy efficient homes for buyers, renters and investors. This project examines the factors that motivate the purchase and lease of low carbon homes. It involves industry (CSR, Stockland, the Australian Windows Association, Fletcher Insulation, Knauf Insulation, AGL Energy, the Clean Energy Council, the Energy Efficiency Council, Low Energy Supplies & Services and the Centre for Liveability Real Estate), government (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage) and research organisations (CSIRO, Swinburne University and UNSW).

 

CouncilJobs_Jetty_LogosCouncils and jobseekers disagree on work flexibility and corporatisation – first research highlights new challenges

Disagreements between Councils and jobseekers on work flexibility and corporatisation –  where Councils’ see corporatisation as creating flexibility and jobseekers view it as mercenary cost cutting –  is part of new research that also reviewed external hiring, skill shortages, legislative impacts and digital strategies.

These six topics make up this first comprehensive research study on trends and challenges for Australian Council recruitment over the next 5-10 years.

Officially launched today (19 October 2016) and presented at the Queensland Local Government Managers Association, the research was commissioned by CouncilJobs and executed by Jetty Research.  This involved a focus group to firstly determine the relevant questions and two nationwide surveys of 540 Council Human Resources (HR) Managers (220 completed) and 5600 jobseekers on CouncilJobs.com (536 completed) which revealed six key findings.

James Parker of Jetty Research said the first key findings on workplace flexibility revealed that Council HR Managers have a very different view to employees.

“For example, 71% of HR managers believed that moving from full-time to part time employment was as a flexible working arrangement, whilst only 29% of Council job seekers felt the same way,” he said.

“The research also showed that flexible work will be in more demand, particularly from women, over the next ten years and supply needs to match.”

Secondly, hiring from outside Council ranks is a continuing trend, particularly in finance and corporate services, although smaller, regional councils find this difficult to achieve in most areas with some saying just getting their job advertisements responded to was a challenge.

“We found that directors and culture and arts positions were more frequently hired externally in metro regions compared to remote areas – 44% to 25% – while regional and metro areas were most likely to hire outdoor and field staff externally – 31% regional, 33% metro and 6% remote,” said Parker.

“Overall 70% found that the external hiring process was a positive experience,” he said.

However escalating salary expectations through external hiring is considered a drawback in NSW and ACT compared with Victoria and South Australia – 39%, 21% and 24% respectively – in metropolitan Councils compared with remote – 38% and 28%; and large Councils (>100k residents) – 43% compared to 28% among smaller Councils.

“Remote and smaller Councils however were more concerned with employees not understanding the realities and legislative constraints of Council – 75% compared with 64% regional and 65% metro,” Parker said.

The third major finding was the need for a national approach to skills shortages, with research showing there were too few good candidates available, particularly in the areas of engineering, health and planning.

“We also found that the most significant movement in demand from now to over the next five years in 11 different employment categories, were in Aged Services, Health Inspectors (and Rangers,” Parker said.

Differing attitudes between employers and employees to the rise and implications of Council corporatisation was the fourth area the research investigated.

“There was a 12% difference between HR managers and Job seekers as to whether they felt Councils were becoming more corporate, but overall both groups agreed corporatisation was happening,” said Parker.

“Another difference was that some Councils see corporatisation as meaning greater flexibility but jobseekers see this as mercenary and cost cutting.”

The research also revealed different views between sex and age, where 71% of males compared to 60% of females and those aged 45- 54 (76%), compared to those aged less than 35 (56%), were more likely to feel that Councils they are familiar with are behaving in a more corporate manner.

Mr Tony Miller, Managing Director of CouncilJobs said these results show a potential cause for conflict and may make it harder to attract certain talent to Councils.

“If employers and jobseekers have a very different view of how they compare on a corporate scale this can be off-putting for jobseekers, who may be searching for a certain calibre of role which they feel a Council will not offer them,” he said.

The fifth key research outcome that goes hand in-hand with corporatisation is legislation which was also viewed as a ‘handbrake’ on pay and attracting and retaining talent, although this differed across states.

“Interestingly it was NSW and Victorian HR managers that felt the most constrained (>50% entirely or largely) and Queensland councils which did not feel constrained,” said Miller.

Lastly the research confirmed that recruitment methods had well and truly shifted from print to online.

“The research was clear that the shift in recruiting from print to online will continue. Councils will need to think harder about their digital strategies, and better promote their brand to attract quality staff,” he concluded.

For a copy of the final report – available at the end of November at cost but free to CouncilJobs clients – please contact Tony Miller on 0401 004 004 or email tony.miller@counciljobs.com. For media inquiries call Sharon Kelly on 0414 780 077 or email Sharon.kelly@bigpond.com.

The research will also be presented on 16 November at the LG NSW conference (16-18 November) in Sydney.

About CouncilJobs
CouncilJobs is the oldest specialist online recruitment resource for Councils, having started in 1999. It is a small Australian owned and independent company without links to large corporations or industry groups.

They have the most up to date, largest and targeted lists of council job seekers in Australia, covering thousands of current and former council staff and private subscribers.

The current national profile of CouncilJobs is as follows:

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About Jetty Research
Jetty Research, established in 2006 in Coffs Harbour, provides simple, credible and useful market research insights. Its client base includes the three tiers of government, businesses of widely varying sizes, and a range of academic and training institutions. It provides a variety of research approaches from online, paper and face to face to suit all requirements.

 

energy-efficiency-154006__180Consumers want energy-efficiency facts on homes – new research shows

Overwhelming support for a national voluntary home energy efficiency disclosure system, designed to empower consumers to rate and value homes with lower running costs and health, comfort and sustainability benefits, was revealed in new research published today by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL).

Results show that 92 per cent of housing consumers want energy efficiency details revealed in building inspection reports; 82 per cent at open inspection and 72 per cent in property advertising, with half of home buyers and renters willing to pay for this information.

Funded by the CRCLCL, industry members of the EnergyFit Homes initiative* and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the two-year research project also revealed that 90 per cent of building professionals and tradespersons supported providing this information at the time of sale or lease.

Called the EnergyFit Homes Project, the research was carried out by teams from the CSIRO and Common Capital and overseen by CRCLCL program leader Dr Stephen White.

“The research’s key focus was to understand industry and consumer support for a national voluntary disclosure system that would measure, benchmark and communicate information on the energy performance of existing homes, especially at the time of sale or lease, and provide recommendations on how to implement such a system,” said Dr White.

“The results overwhelmingly show that such a system would be accepted in Australia.  It would also bring financial benefits.  For example, in Europe and North America where mandatory home energy rating schemes exist, the value of energy efficient homes rose between 3 per cent and 14 per cent when high energy efficiency performance was disclosed to buyers.”

“The research echoes this overseas experience.  Using a simulated property marketing website as part of our research, Australian home buyers expressed more interest in visiting high energy-efficiency star rated homes than homes without a rating, and placed more value on these homes as well.” he said.

The study’s key recommendation was that a single, national home energy rating system be established and delivered by the market with credible, independent oversight by government, industry research and consumer groups.  This system would provide ratings, information and tips on the energy efficiency and comfort of homes, and could be delivered at low cost, by a broad range of trained existing building trades and property professionals.

The recommended system design is estimated to deliver a net public benefit of between $42 to $535 million, 158 GWh to 1,827 GWh in annual electricity savings and $63 million to $733 million in annual household bill savings, and $437 to $5,068 million for industry from additional investments in household energy efficiency.

Lead research author, Henry Adams – a policy specialist on the project and director of Common Capital – said it was time an energy rating system for consumers was introduced, similar to what has been created with GreenPower or NABERS for commercial buildings.

“A national home energy ratings system is a no brainer: Government, industry and consumers alike agree that we need a common language to understand and communicate the comfort, efficiency and running costs of existing homes,” he said.

Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) – which recently launched Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook and also helped fund the study – said that smart energy use can drive economic growth and improve health and wellbeing across the board,  including the residential property market.

“Disclosure of home energy performance is a basic consumer protection. A national voluntary disclosure scheme would help inform home buyers and renters on two critical issues – comfort and ongoing energy costs – that are really hard to judge before moving into a new home,” he said.

For more information email info@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au

*The EnergyFit Homes Initiative is a collaborative approach to unlocking the value of energy efficient homes for buyers, renters and investors. This project examines the factors that motivate the purchase and lease of low carbon homes. It involves industry (CSR, Stockland, the Australian Windows Association, Fletcher Insulation, Knauf Insulation, AGL Energy, the Clean Energy Council, the Energy Efficiency Council, Low Energy Supplies & Services and the Centre for Liveability Real Estate), government (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage) and research organisations (CSIRO, Swinburne University and UNSW).

Media Contacts:
CRC for Low Carbon Living
Sharon Kelly, E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au; M: +61 414 780 077

 

Robert Hill ACAustralia’s low carbon future strong says Robert Hill on eve of COP21

Research, business and industry collaborations are helping Australia take strong strides and positive action towards a low carbon future whilst supporting the Australian emission reductions required to meet projected COP21 targets said CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) Chair, The Hon Robert Hill AC on the final day of the CRCLCL  Participants Annual Forum in Sydney today (27 November, 2015).

“On the eve of COP21 in Paris where Australian government, interested groups and business will meet to discuss action on climate change, we believe the CRCLCL is on track to deliver its 10mg carbon reduction target.  This is a significant contribution to Australia’s overall goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26–28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030,” he said.

“To meet Australia’s COP21 low carbon target a large proportion of the reduction must come from improvements in the built environment such as changes to building practices that result in lower carbon cities.  We represent the broadest community of researchers in Australia that through our 74 projects to date are significantly contributing to developing the tools and knowledge required to enable industry to deliver on lower carbon options.

“This work includes developing low carbon building products, new design tools for precincts and the community engagement research required to discover what is necessary to change community behaviours, where communities become the drivers of change rather than just the responders to government requirements,” said Mr Hill.

In 1997, when Environment Minister, Mr Hill was leader of Australia’s delegation at Kyoto. Many considered this agreement to be the first step in the ongoing process to stem the climate change threat.

CRCLCL CEO, Scientia Professor Deo Prasad AO said the expertise offered by CRCLCL participants was of great value to Australia covering the range of low carbon activities – from next generation technologies, design planning and policy innovations, while creating momentum for change in the community.

“The CRCLCL is working with industry to improve Australia’s competitiveness in the low carbon global innovations market. Our participants have knowledge in a variety of areas from how to create a zero carbon home through to how to monitor energy efficiencies in the residential and commercial sectors,” he said.

“This year for example, the Josh’s House project showed we can create homes that are energy self-sufficient and can add power to the grid, instead of take from it. This is just a snapshot of what future housing design and regulation can be about and where we should be heading.

“A new project announced at the forum and about to commence, will take the Josh’s House successes and apply them to a precinct which will be monitored by the minute and occupants surveyed providing extremely valuable information on how to create zero carbon suburbs and ultimately cities.

“Our social engagement projects are also linking up researchers with the community to find out how people view low carbon living and give advice on what steps can be taken to make this a reality.  On another level we are also finding out how we use power and what can be done to reduce consumption both residentially and industrially,” said Professor Prasad.

The first day of the Participants Forum focussed on how different levels of government can utilise low carbon technologies and tools to reduce emissions in the built environment, with presentations on key projects that provide this support. In the morning attendees heard from representatives of City of Melbourne, Fremantle City Council and Waverley Council about their vision for carbon neutrality and the great work being done at a local level to realise a more sustainable future. The afternoon featured a keynote speech from The Hon Ian Hunter MLC, South Australia Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation who talked about the recently announcement to take South Australia to zero carbon emission targets by 2050 for the state plus the challenges and opportunities this presents.

Today, the final day, attendees heard from John Alexander MP OAM, who spoke on behalf of the first Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, The Hon Jamie Briggs, MP. Following was International speaker Professor Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Research Professor and Dean Emerita of Management, University of California Davis.  Professor Biggart provided insights into their research into low carbon buildings and cities plus examples of how working with business can break down barriers to energy efficiencies and create opportunities to utilise the University’s research and innovation.

“We have worked with a dream team of business leaders and innovators like Walmart and Microsoft to develop technologies not just for their own use, saving energy and dollars but also for the general market. Microsoft and UC Davis have in turn developed patent technology to facilitate data sharing, which is key for our energy efficient future,” said Professor Biggart.

The CRLCL’s research projects cover three areas integrated building systems, low carbon precincts and engaged communities. The results of these projects are increasingly being taken up by industry and government partners, leading to better policy outcomes and a more competitive Australian industry.

Green buildingEnergy costs hit low income hardest and housing affordability stifles ability to pay – new study

A new study of household expenditure and energy use confirms that over the past two decades (1993-2012) low income households and those caught in the housing affordability trap felt the brunt of energy costs whilst higher income households were unaffected because income rose above inflation and in line with prices (25 August, 2015).

For low income families, energy costs rose from 5.2% to 5.6% of their household income and young singles, households with many children and renters were seen to be particularly vulnerable. A key issue for those struggling to pay bills was not the cost of energy itself but the cost of housing, with 63% of renters and 43% of purchasers having payment difficulties.

The report, produced for the CRC for Low Carbon Living by Professor Terry Burke and Liss Ralston, of Swinburne University and published online today, challenged the concept that freeing up the electricity industry markets has created new levels of hardship across the board.

“After analysing energy costs from 1993 to 2012 it is clear that for most energy costs have kept in line with income although lower income earners have felt the pinch more.  Also due to the time period of the research many households had the opportunity to adapt their behaviour to reduce the impact of price rises on the household budget,” said Professor Burke.

“Overall we found the strongest indicators for the inability to pay energy bills in the low income group were those receiving financial assistance from the government or paying more than 20% of their income on housing. This indicates that even the relatively wealthy can struggle to pay their bills if they have a large mortgage,” he said.

The study also found that during the two decades the proportion of the low income group paying more than 10% of household income on energy grew from 11.7% to 18.5%, but only 24% of these seemingly worst affected people reported difficulty paying their bills.

Professor Burke also explained that the type and size of dwelling had an independent effect on energy consumption.

“Large houses resulted in higher energy costs even with low number of occupants.  For example for a couple in a detached house in 2012 the median costs for energy rose from $22 per week for a one bedroom dwelling to $36 per week for four bedrooms,” said he said.

In addition the study investigated the impact of fuel costs and the inability to pay bills.

“We found that the cost of petrol was higher than the cost of energy in all income groups with lower income earners paying 6.9% of their household income on petrol. The data also showed that when prices were high there was a reduction in fuel expenditure indicating that adaptive behaviours took place to manage the price rises,” said Professor Burke.

“The report concludes with observations about why there is not more attention paid to the fact that petrol costs have a higher impact on household expenditure than gas and electricity, with explanations suggesting that motor vehicle users have different choices to utility users.  This could be to choose to walk, bicycle or take the train as opposed to driving,” he concluded.

 

Smart CityNew study reveals air-conditioning and pools drive residential electricity demand

The first comprehensive modelling study to pinpoint the highest drivers of a typical Sydney household’s daily electricity demand has been published online in Elselvier’s international journal Energy and Buildings, revealing that ducted air-conditioning and pools are the top culprits (17 August 2015).

Undertaken by the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), the study used data from Australia’s first large-scale smart grid project (Australian Smart Grid Smart City) and associated household surveys conducted on driving factors such as household demographics, dwelling type, utilities, white goods, weather, behaviours and attitude.

CRCLC Integrated Buildings Systems Program Leader and study co-author, Associate Professor Alistair Sproul said the results will help policy makers and planners measure the impact of different housing types and housing trends on local electricity demand.

“We found that air-conditioning and pools were the top two drivers as the study showed households with ducted air-conditioning used on average 79% more electricity than those with none, while those with a split air-conditioning system consumed only 34% more.  Pool pumps were also a big energy user as 15% of households surveyed had a pool and their annual average daily electricity demand was 93% higher than those without,” he said.

“Overall the data collected showed a variety of patterns and behaviours for different households and residential building types so when planning for new dwellings we can accurately measure the future energy demand and find ways to make a residential building project more energy efficient.

“A key reason for the study was that in the residential sector, which represents around 30% of global electricity consumption, the underlying composition and drivers of energy use have until now been poorly understood,” said Professor Sproul.

Between 2010 and 2014 the Australian Smart Grid Smart City project collected electricity readings at half-hour intervals from 9903 households in six major towns or regions and 730 smaller towns across New South Wales.  The study used this detailed material to build a household electricity consumption model which was then linked and compared to detailed demographic information and housing survey results from some 3400 households to paint a detailed picture of consumption.

PhD student and lead co-author Hua Fan explained that the model looked both at individual households and household groups.

“This statistical model investigated the consumption of both individual households and communities. There are limits to what can be achieved modelling single households given the myriad factors that go towards overall  consumption including, importantly, the behaviour of the people living there. However, the model tested extremely well for forecasting the overall electricity consumption of communities,” said Mr Fan.

“We concluded that models like this are useful to a range of stakeholders, including individual households striving to understand the implications of different choices they might face such as whether to put a pool in, utilities looking to better forecast the impact of different residential trends as they plan their networks, as well as policy makers seeking to improve energy efficiency.”

Of all the homes surveyed 79% owned the home they lived in either outright (40%) or were mortgaged (29%); 19% had ducted air-conditioning, 50% split-system, 3% other and 28% no air-conditioning; 23% had a pool pump; 13% were units, 2% semi-detached and 85% were separate houses; and the average size of a trial household was 2.8 people.

Associate Professor Iain MacGill, Electrical Engineering, UNSW and another co-author, noted that the study was undertaken in the context of a largely unexpected fall in Australian residential electricity consumption over the past decade.

“This fall in residential electricity demand caught the industry and policy makers by surprise given near continuous growth in consumption over the 100 year history of the electricity industry in Australia. While very welcome in terms of households reducing their electricity bills, slowing excessive network investment and contributing to falling greenhouse gas emissions, we don’t fully understand what drove this fall and how we might even facilitate greater improvements.

“Studies such as this can also make a useful contribution towards assessing recent efforts by some of the network businesses, under pressure from falling revenue due to lower sales, to change their tariff arrangements. In particular, how can we ensure that households undertaking energy efficiency activities or putting on solar home systems are not penalised for doing the right thing in saving both money and the environment, whilst still ensuring reliable and secure supply,” he added.

 

Elderberry_webUnique elderberry formula protects air travellers from colds

Results of a large, human clinical trial reveal that a proprietary elderberry formula can provide protection to air travellers from colds as well as stabilise overall health during long-haul flights (23 July 2015).

A standardized membrane enriched elderberry formula made from the Haschberg variety and produced by Italian company Iprona AG using a unique proprietary process, was the focus of a two year randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The study involved 312 economy class passengers travelling from Australia to an overseas destination, and was conducted by Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo and Dr Shirley Wee of the School of Pharmacy, Griffith University, Australia.

Initial results reveal that the elderberry formula had beneficial effects for respiratory health. The findings were presented at the 21st Annual International Integrative Medicine Conference in Melbourne, Australia. A detailed research paper is due later in the year.

As well as jet lag and fatigue, passengers may experience upper respiratory symptoms as a result of international flights. So the trial’s results are a positive step towards developing a product to help keep air travellers healthy. At the conference, the university researchers explained how the information was gathered including recording of cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms before, during and after they travelled.

“We found that most cold episodes occurred in the placebo group, and that this group also had a significantly larger number of cold episode days,” Professor Evelin Tiralongo said.

“The symptom score in the placebo group over these days was also significantly higher. This suggests that elderberry significantly reduces the duration and severity of the cold.”

“The results indicate some benefit for air travellers, and may be due to the high anthocyanidin and magnesium content of the tested elderberry formula,” she concluded.

The Griffith study follows a recent European research trial in which findings suggest that a combination of Echinacea herb, root extract and elderberry can be as effective as the conventional antiviral medicine Tamiflu for the early treatment of influenza. The results of this clinical trial were published online in April in the open access journal, Current Therapeutic Research.

Iprona´s Technical Director, Anthony Jacobs, added that the promising results of earlier in-vitro studies conducted by Iprona AG, using the same Haschberg elderberry variety, had prompted the decision to go ahead with the extended human trial using the membrane ultra-filtration-enriched product.

“The first in-vitro study, which was the precursor to the long-haul flight human study, was conducted and published by Dr. Christian Kravitz and his team in Germany at the University of Giessen. Here, in-vitro tests were conducted on the two major flu viruses, Influenza A and B, as well as on four bacteria known to cause upper respiratory infections. Ultimately the researchers found that the elderberry liquid extract was active against human pathogenic bacteria as well as influenza viruses,” Jacobs said.

He also explained that Iprona’s unique extract production method and the use of the Haschberg elderberry variety in particular are the keys to the potency of this elderberry extract.

“Iprona uses a membrane ultra filtration technology, which is a proprietary technology that no one else uses. Unlike many extracts that use chemicals during the extraction, we use a purely mechanical separation process, which enables the separation of substances according to their different molecular sizes using semi-permeable membranes — so no chemicals or heat are required.

“In essence, it is an enrichment process, because it increases the effectiveness of the powder product by increasing the concentration of all the desirable nutrients, thereby preserving most of the original food matrix. The product is a holistic compound, rich in a vast array of phytonutrients present in the fresh fruits, hence taking advantage of their synergistic actions,” Jacobs concluded.

To find out more about the ancient uses of elderberry, read Anatomy of the Elder, originally written in 1677 by the German physician Dr. Martin Blochwich, and edited into a modern English edition in 2010 by Anthony Jacobs and Fredrik Stipps, published by BerryPharma®.  The book is a great reference, including seventeenth-century recipes for a variety of curatives, from the common cold to stomach ailments.

 For media, information and a copy of the book contact:

Sharon Kelly
Writing & Publicity
T: + 61 414 780 077
writingandpublicity@gmail.com

or

Britta Busch
IPRONA AG/SPA
Business Unit BerryPharma® Extracts

T: +49 2174 307 62 13
Britta.busch@berrypharma.com

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAustralia urged to embrace building manufacturing to save jobs from the auto industry

A significant opportunity now exists for Australia to expand its capacity for building manufacture to both strengthen the building sector and transfer the skills of auto industry workers said Professor Peter Newman, former NSW Sustainability Commissioner in Sydney and Project Leader for the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) today (16 June 2015).

“The modular building industry is growing at a great pace. The key reason for this is that buildings can be erected 30-40% faster than conventional buildings, meaning less cost and more affordable housing. However only 3% of Australia’s building industry is currently modular and there is a huge opportunity to develop this industry, transfer skills from our dying auto industry and provide jobs, and compete with a growing level of manufactured building imports from the region” he said.

“In 2012 the modular construction was estimated to be a $90 billion global industry and in Australia we estimate that the industry will grow to 10% by 2020. Modular building also means less waste and lower carbon emissions, so we really want a piece of this pie.

“With demand for affordable housing on the increase in Australia and elsewhere, investing in developing the modular building industry makes sense so we can meet that demand,” said Professor Newman.

However Professor Newman warned that his research team had found good reason for Australia to move quickly.

“Our team has found that there are off shore building manufacturing plants that are well ahead of us by importing Australian electrical and plumbing components to ensure that standards and codes are met when shipping to Australian customers. If we do not seize this building manufacturing opportunity now, foreign companies will certainly continue to bring them to market which could ultimately lead to job losses in the building sector and its supply chain,” he said.

“The CRC can also help transition skills and workers form the automotive sector into the building sector over the coming decades, impacting reduction in greenhouse gases, reduce waste and improve thermal performance of the buildings.”

Professor Newman made the points while launching two videos Modular Manufactured Building and Carbon Structural Adjustment which succinctly outline his team’s low carbon research, developed through a collaboration between the CRCLCL and the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc).

The second video outlines a key project which aims to ensure greater inclusion of low carbon related items in the tender process for major infrastructure projects. Collaboration with industry and state government to investigate ways to do this is the research project’s focus.

“Through this work the CRC and SBEnrc are playing a trusted third party adviser role that can liaise with both state agencies and industry to maximize the benefits of low carbon whilst aligning and strengthening capacity and aspirations on both sides,” said Dr Charlie Hargroves, project leader for the low carbon tendering project.

“The next stage of the project is to undertake an investigation into the low carbon readiness of members of UrbanGrowth NSW civil contractors based on current the industry standard low carbon rating tool. This will identify low carbon trends and development of the procurement process.”

Full written reports are also available at

Manufactured Buildings: http://www.sbenrc.com.au/research-programs/1-29-strategies-and-solutions-for-housing-sustainability/

Low Carbon Tendering: http://www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-3-engaged-communities/rp2010-informing-and-trialling-low-carbon-inclusions-state

Coverage in Fifth Estate:  http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/innovation/building-construction/peter-newman-on-prefabs-transformative-potential/75224/comment-page-1

Green buildingPositive impacts of high performance buildings needs more promotion, industry concludes

The positive effects of high performance buildings on people’s health, wellbeing and productivity needs much greater public promotion, leading building industry partners of the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s Closing the Loop Project concluded following workshops held in conjunction with the Green Cities 2015 conference (25 March 2015).

Internationally renowned green design architect and researcher Professor Vivian Loftness of Carnegie Mellon University, who spoke at the conference and took part in the workshops, outlined the power of implementing the triple bottom line plus the financial, environmental and human benefits of good design choices.

Brett Pollard, Head of Knowledge and Sustainability at HASSELL said that there was plentiful research and evidence from academic experts such as Professor Vivian Loftness, however the message about the benefits was still not getting through to people who are procuring buildings.

“Ultimately if you construct a building that does not take advantage of the evidence, organisations and businesses are missing out on the opportunity to create workplaces that are healthier and more effective,” he said.

Lauren Haas, Australasia Sustainability Manager for Brookfield Multiplex added: “For business, a low performance building can mean disengaged employees with low performance, higher levels of absenteeism and many thousands of dollars wasted per year in lost productivity. If office workers, students or patients in hospitals are more informed about what can be achieved through high performance buildings they can help drive demand for these buildings.”

Lester Partridge, Industry Director – Building Engineering at AECOM also took part in the workshops and said: “Vivian Loftness showed us a very powerful example in the workshop by comparing the decision making processes for a car, laptop and a building. People know more about the features of a car which may only be owned for 3-5 years or a laptop which might last 2 or 3 years than they do about the features of a building that will last in excess of 30 years. The conversation about high performance buildings needs to change and people need to be more aware of the true cost of buildings.”

The Closing the Loop project will continue to work with leaders like Vivian Loftness and other industry partners to develop measures such as public promotion of high performance buildings to that our built environment and its occupants have positive outcomes for business and the community.

loftness_2013Invest in triple bottom line – building industry leaders told

Building Industry leaders were told today (17 March 2015) that investment in the triple bottom line will not only deliver sustainable cities it will increase business productivity, profitability and wellbeing for employees.

Speaking at Green Cities 2015 in Melbourne, internationally renowned green design architect and researcher Professor Vivian Loftness of Carnegie Mellon University outlined the power of implementing the triple bottom line plus the financial, environmental and human benefits of good design choices.

“Investing in architecture and urban design that addresses the triple bottom line that includes Indoor Environment Quality, sustainability and employee health is the key to business productivity and profitability,” said Professor Loftness.

“Many leading Australian property owners are committed to sustainability however not all are, so much more is needed to fully address the triple bottom line.  There is still a great deal of architecture and land use that still is not green,” she said.

“Substantial property owners have a responsibility to their community to plan for the future. If the first bottom line – cash – is the focus, our future cities, and the businesses they house, will not be sustainable.

“The second bottom line looks at environmental benefits of doing things differently. By reducing energy use for society at large we will see carbon footprint reductions, air quality benefits and water use reduction.  The third bottom line is designing with social wellbeing in mind. Unfortunately, corporate profit and loss accounting does not incorporate the second (environmental) and third (human) bottom lines unless the company is socially responsible, seeks to give back to the environment, and plans for the long term,” Professor Loftness said.

Professor Loftness also emphasised the breadth of global research and information that exists to help educate decision makers and urban designers about what is needed for green cities.

“There is an abundance of expertise on the processes required to build greener cities and adapt existing buildings, but policies must lead in order to remove barriers and create a culture of sustainability,” she said.

Professor Loftness’ visit was sponsored by the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s Closing the Loop Project which aims to connect decision makers with the wealth of evidence in support of high performance, sustainable buildings. The Closing the Loop Project is supported by three industry partners: Brookfield Multiplex, HASSELL and AECOM.

Brett Pollard, Head of Knowledge and Sustainability at HASSELL said the project is pulling together the research and evidence of academics and industry experts like Professor Loftness to provide clear evidence based strategies for the next generation of workplaces, schools and hospitals.

“The Closing the Loop project presents a unique opportunity to not just further drive down the carbon emissions and environmental impacts of the built environment but also to have a substantial, positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the people who inhabit our buildings, towns and cities,” he said.

“Industry leaders like Professor Loftness are key to this process and why bringing all the information together necessary for the benefit to future generations.”

 IMG_8704 (Large)

Professor Ross Garnaut speaks at launch of first low carbon community ‘cluster’ – the ‘Livewell Yarra’ Project

Melbourne: Today (Thursday, 5 March, 2015) climate change analyst Professor Ross Garnaut was keynote speaker at the ‘Livewell Yarra’ Project launch, the first in a series of ‘Livewell Clusters’ initiated by Curtin University. The Project will engage members of the Yarra community in a collaborative trial focussed on reducing carbon emissions.

Professor Garnaut discussed how Australians can contribute to avoiding dangerous climate change.

“Australia has richer renewable energy resources than other developed countries. Reductions in the costs of solar, wind and batteries mean that many Australians are now able to greatly reduce their emissions while reducing what they pay for energy,” he said.

Funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), the ‘Livewell Yarra’ project – which will initially run from March to September – was initiated by its leader Dr Robert Salter of Curtin University and is supported by Yarra City Council and the Yarra Energy Foundation.

According to Dr Salter, community members joining the program will decide on and collaboratively work towards carbon-reduction targets with support from the CRCLCL, university researchers, the Yarra Energy Foundation, Yarra Council and other local organisations.

“There are many ways to live a low carbon life, such as draft-proofing your house, switching to energy-efficient lights or starting a food garden. You can walk, cycle or take public transport to work, install solar panels, switch to green power or share tools with your neighbour. There are many options, and they won’t reduce your quality of life,” Dr Salter said.

The ‘clusters’ refer to different types of groups and activities. For example in ‘Decarb Groups’ six to 12 people will work out what their carbon footprint is, get information on how to reduce it, set targets then help and support each other on the way. ‘Project Groups’ will each focus on a project to make carbon reduction easier for everyone, such as organising working bees to do simple retrofitting jobs, bulk buying low carbon products or encouraging food gardening.

Professor Deo Prasad, CRCLCL CEO said that the CRC “is very interested in how local communities can move towards low carbon living. A better understanding of what resonates at that level is important to support programs and interventions to lower carbon footprints.”

City of Yarra Mayor, Cr Phillip Vlahogiannis, who officially launched the project said: “Council is delighted to have the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) undertaking this important project in the City of Yarra”.

Yarra Energy Foundation CEO, Sarah Johnson, said her organisation, which is a not-for-profit, would provide information and promotion for the project.

“The success of this project relies on getting people involved so we will be helping with promotion and reaching people who have already shown an interest in reducing emissions and living low carbon lives. We are delighted to be working with Livewell on this collaborative project,” she said.

Once the CRC phase is over it is intended that the Livewell Clusters will become a fully autonomous movement run by participants – independent, yet well connected with like-minded organisations and sources of expertise, and embedded in local communities.

To get involved contact Rob Salter at rob@livewell.net.au or his Project Researcher, Darren Sharp on darren@livewell.net.au

Greg HuntMinister announces 4 new draft methods for government’s $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund plus new board member elected

Sydney: Today (Friday, 14 November 2014) the Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP announced four additional draft Emissions Reduction Fund methods that will provide increased capacity to partake in the $2.5 billion fund, passed through the Senate earlier this month.   He made the announcement during his keynote speech on the second day of the CRCLCL Participants Annual Forum.

The four draft methods, which are up for public consultation, embrace household energy efficiency, industrial energy efficiency, soil carbon and improving the efficiency of fertilizer use in irrigated cotton. All embrace a variety of ways to reduce carbon emissions in these areas.

At the event Minister Hunt said the Emissions Reduction Fund supports a model which incorporates two key incentive mechanisms – crediting and purchasing plus safeguards.

“The crediting and purchasing mechanism is the opportunity for reducing emissions through an incentive based acquisition system and is a direct market method for purchasing emissions reductions through a variety of actions,” he said.

The incentive mechanism will offer industry an opportunity to pitch for rewards in the form of government contracts, should emissions projected be achieved after a seven year period. This will be an auction bidding system where the lowest cost emission reduction is key.

“You [successful bidders] are given the certainty of a government contract and regular payments. In turn, we have the certainty of reductions as payments are made on delivery and this is a very exciting proposition. It is more secure than legislation as it is contracted and therefore can survive changes in government,” he said.

The safeguard is that while offering incentives for those that come under target those that do not meet targets are provided with disincentives.

CRCLCL Chairman, The Hon. Robert Hill (AO) said the overall approach offered both opportunities and challenges.

“The incentives around the Energy Emissions Reduction Fund are positive in that emissions reductions will no doubt be a result. For the CRC for Low Carbon Living it also offers a unique opportunity to bring the research, technology and industry it works with to work collectively to bid in this arena,” he said.

“The challenges are to engage all of industry to play a role in the new system. However this in turn offers the CRCLCL another opportunity to use its Engaged Communities program to work harder on educating industry as well as the general population about the importance of low carbon living and making the changes necessary to create a cleaner, safer and more productive built environment.”

At the CRCLCL AGM last night, held at the close of the Participants Forum’s first day, the new government representative board member was formerly announced. Megan Antcliff – former scientist turned architect – is Director, Strategic Projects and Innovation for the Department of State Development, South Australia. Her key role is to create innovative partnerships that are outcome-focused whilst building high level industry support.

“What excites me about being a member of the CRCLCL board is that I can play a role in the research project decision making process. I am particularly passionate about applying research to real life and more specifically how we can use it in city and precinct living,” said Ms Antcliff.

“Ultimately research and its outcomes should play a key role in the development of precincts and cities that meet the triple bottom line – social, environmental and financial.”

This is the second of the CRCLCL’s participant’s forum which marks two years of operation.

“The CRC for Low Carbon Living has made significant progress since it was established in 2012 and is focused on the clear goal of taking research and technology using it practically in the community and industry to bring about emission reductions throughout the built environment. With a total of 51 diverse projects and 54 associated higher degree student places spanning 44 active partners there has been much research conducted with results on the horizon,” he said.

To review the annual report highlights go to the website www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au

About the CRC for Low Carbon Living Ltd

The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) is a national research and innovation hub that supports Australian industry to be globally competitive in the low carbon built environment sector.

It brings together property, planning, engineering and policy organisations with leading Australian researchers. CRCLCL develops new social, technological and policy tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

A key aim of the CRCLCL is to help cut Australia’s residential and commercial carbon emissions by 10 mega tonnes by 2020, which is the environmental equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road each year. This will be achieved through developing low carbon building construction materials and increasing the evidence base for government policy and planning, among other measures. Australia has set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 2000 levels.

When the 2020 carbon reduction targets are met, the CRCLCL will have delivered a direct benefit of $250 million per year to the economy, while reducing risk to the $150 billion per year construction industry as it adjusts to a carbon-constrained economy.

Ultimately the CRCCLC will help unlock barriers to cost-effective carbon reduction opportunities, empower communities and facilitate the widespread adoption of integrated renewable energy. This will enable the sector to transition and contribute to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets while maintaining industry competitiveness and improving quality of life. It is supported by the Cooperative Research Centres program, an Australian Government initiative.

Media Contact:

Sharon Kelly E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au  M: +61 414 780 077

 

Denis Else speaks

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Industry called on to seek opportunities in our built environment’s sustainable future

Professor Dennis Else, who chairs the Research Advisory Committee for the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), today (13 November 2014) called for industry to lead the way in making a low carbon, energy efficient future for the built environment.

Opening the second Participants Annual Forum of the CRC for Low Carbon Living Professor Else – who is also the Executive Director, Sustainability, Safety and Health, at Brookfield Multiplex Australasia – said collaboration and commitment by the industry is crucial to generate collective impact. While individuals may not desire a common goal, greater momentum can be generated by sharing information and keeping a more holistic view when conducting strategic planning. Both individual goals and better overall outcomes are achieved in this way. The overall outcome of the CRCLCL is to close the low carbon gap.

“By harnessing the technology available to us and conducting further research, our built environment can positively impact on people’s health, wellbeing and productivity whilst improving the building industry’s environmental performance,” said Professor Else.

“We are working to gain higher performance from our built environment as well as simultaneously reducing carbon through lowering the cost of running buildings. We already know ways in which we can build hospitals that heal faster, schools in which kids learn faster and offices where people are more productive, creative and healthy. There are many significant opportunities to share ideas, to use sustainable building materials, renewable energy and other capabilities that exist or are currently undergoing research, to create a built environment that contributes to our well-being in these ways.

“The recent Bradfield Oration highlighted the importance of great engineering and asks for the ‘next John Bradfields to come forth’. The work of the CRCLCL, its partners and the research it funds continues into engineering, materials, technology and low carbon systems to help achieve such goals,” he said.

Being held today and tomorrow (13-14 November, 2014) at the Maritime Museum Sydney, the Participants Forum will feature Australia’s latest low carbon research and visions for the future from industry leaders, the government and top researchers in sustainability and the environment.

On Friday the Federal Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP and NSW Minister for the Environment The Hon. Rob Stokes MP will also speak about Australia’s low carbon future.

Research Fellow at Curtin University and television presenter Josh Byrne also spoke on his groundbreaking new series Josh’s House ‘Star Performers’ (episodes 1 and 2 have just been released). His presentation at 10.30am today showed the very best high performance houses throughout Australia, demonstrating that low carbon high performance housing that save money and create energy, are part of our future.

This and more presentations about the future of the sustainable built environment is just part of the program which can be viewed here: http://www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/events/2014/11/participant-forum-2014

Prof. Deo Prasad, CEO of the CRCLCL said the time is now for national discussion to take place about our sustainable future, particularly in the built environment.

“Just in this last year we have had great results from our projects which show that a sustainable built environment is achievable where we can use less energy, create energy and in the long run save money,” he said.

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly
E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au
M: +61 414 780 077

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‘Low’ or ‘no’ carbon living is the future and predicting change now easier – new data

Today (19 September 2014), Professor Peter Newman AO – former NSW Sustainability Commissioner in Sydney and Project Leader for the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) – said that research is proving that ‘low’ or ‘no’ carbon living is the future and that Australia is charging ahead in cementing ways to make the built environment sustainable.

Professor Newman has 80 PhDs in his group at Curtin University (WA) conducting national research on ways to reduce unnecessary fossil fuel use. Many are funded through CRCLCL. He was in Sydney to deliver a seminar at the University of New South Wales where the CRCLCL is based.

“New data from around the world, especially China shows that the world is much closer to achieving the climate change goals we need to decarbonise the planet. Coal and oil consumption is abating and there has been a spectacular turnaround in China,” he said.

“Over the past 20 years the decarbonising processes has had to fight against markets that were not in its favour, but now the market is working for us and trending towards renewables, energy efficiency and reduced car use. Predicting transformational change now looks much easier as market trends can dramatically switch fuels.

“What the data show is that growth in wealth (GDP) and growth in fossil fuels (and hence greenhouse emissions) are no longer linked, they are decoupling. See graph on China’s coal consumption (below) which has now peaked. Technology and the marketplace are now irrevocably moving away from fossil fuels and the process has strong community support, despite some government signals and actions designed to slow or stop this momentum,” Professor Newman said.

Professor Newman has been involved in low carbon research and community, industry and government action for over 30 years and his new research projects with CRC LCL are all confirming the above trends. His research group is assisting the trend to low carbon or no carbon living through innovative housing in suburban and high rise buildings; carbon structural adjustment in regulations and procurement; urban design that minimises car use; low carbon schools; and community engagement. The work we are doing with the CRCLCL fits into the big transformational picture of a world decarbonising its economies.

“I truly believe that the low carbon movement is unstoppable and our results to date show a clear pathway to the future,” he concluded.

During the seminar Professor Newman also launched a new book – Rethink Building Materials by Dick Clarke the Founding Director of Envirotecture, which had major input by members of the CRCLCL, particularly its Chief Executive Officer, Professor Deo Prasad.
“The book Rethink Building Materials looks at a various aspects regarding materials and sustainability in the building industry. The book has contributions from Australia¹s leading designers, architects, academics and scientists,” Professor Newman said.

Rethink Building Materials will equip consumers, architect/designers and builders with the knowledge and tools to confidently make sound decisions based on science and experience. Written by 35 of Australia’s world-leading thinkers and practitioners of sustainable design and building, it does not tell you what to think, but what to think about.

The book focuses on different themes including what a sustainable future in buildings is all about, a look at the issues behind the choices we make, contested ideas about material impacts and the fast-approaching horizon of new materials. Leaders in the field showcase the process of selecting appropriate materials in some amazing houses. Major manufacturers also demonstrate how they have embraced sustainability and, the characteristics and impacts of building materials are also reviewed.

About the CRC for Low Carbon Living Ltd

The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) is a national research and innovation hub that seeks to enable a globally competitive low carbon built environment sector.

It brings together property, planning, engineering and policy organisations with leading Australian researchers. CRCLCL develops new social, technological and policy tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

A key aim of the CRCLCL is to help cut Australia’s residential and commercial carbon emissions by 10 mega tonnes per year by 2020, which is the environmental equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road each year. This will be achieved through developing low carbon building construction materials and increasing the evidence base for government policy and planning, among other measures. Australia has set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 2000 levels.

When the 2020 carbon reduction targets are met, the CRCLCL will have delivered a direct benefit of $250 million per year to the economy, while reducing risk to the $150 billion per year construction industry as it adjusts to a carbon-constrained economy.

Ultimately the CRCCLC will help unlock barriers to cost-effective carbon reduction opportunities, empower communities and facilitate the widespread adoption of integrated renewable energy. This will enable the sector to transition and contribute to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets while maintaining industry competitiveness and improving quality of life. It is supported by the Cooperative Research Centres program, an Australian Government initiative.

China cleaner grown table

Sources: Compiled from China National Bureau of Statistics and China National Coal Association statistical releases.

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly
E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au
M: +61 414 780 077

 

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Alliance to bring leading cancer therapy to Australia

Australian cancer patients are a step closer to receiving life-changing proton therapy treatment at home thanks to an alliance announced today between Proton Therapy Australia (PTA) and Mater Health Services, Brisbane – a leader in health, education and research (Wednesday, 10 September 2014).

Currently Australians – both children and adults – must travel to the United States, Europe and parts of Asia to receive proton therapy – which delivers radiation directly, painlessly and deeply into tumours, with minimal injury to surrounding healthy tissue. This reduces side-effects and keeps healthy tissue safe – which is a key difference between proton and conventional radiation therapy.

Sue Bleasel PTA Director of Planning and the project’s driving force said the facility will be co-located with Mater and the first patient treatment is anticipated in 2017 – although this timeline depends on a variety of investor agreements being finalised.

“The PTA/Mater Alliance is just the first step of many – but a major step. I have been working to bring proton therapy to Australia for the past 16 years. Now we have a clinical partner it is time to finalise many years of discussion and negotiation with investors – $170 million is required,” she said.

Mater Health Services CEO Dr John O’Donnell said he was excited about being part of building Australia’s first proton therapy facility.

“Proton therapy is needed in Australia and has been a long time coming. We are proud to be the clinical partner to help make this a reality. The project is completely aligned with our values and our aim to provide exceptional care to all our patients,” he said.

Working with Bleasel over these past 16 years is a strong team of experts, including clinical advisors, A/Prof Michael Jackson (Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney) and Dr Martin Berry.

Prof Jackson is recognised as one of Australia’s foremost authorities on clinical proton therapy who said it was an historic day for Australian cancer therapy.

“Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of radiotherapy that targets tumours with great precision and where the radiation dose can be significantly and safely increased to help eradicate the cancer. This precision dramatically reduces side effects which is so important for quality of life during and after treatment. I am delighted that we are finally on our way to making this facility a reality,” Prof Jackson said.

Dr Martin Berry leader and educator in the field of radiation oncology said that not only do protons provide exciting opportunities to explore better treatments for people with cancer, the treatment is painless.

“Protons are positively charged particles, found in the nucleus of every atom but made available in this therapy by stripping away electrons from hydrogen atoms. The great advantage protons provide is that when treating tumours near vital organs, they can deliver their radiation without affecting these organs,” he said.

Proton therapy is not for all cancers, but is vitally important in the treatment of certain cancers in children, tumours of the eye and base of skull and is becoming the treatment of choice for cancers such as in head and neck, brain and spinal, prostate, lung, gastrointestinal and breast.

Overall, proton therapy is beneficial to patients with tumours that are solid and with defined borders that have not spread to other parts of the body.

Apart from the clinicians involved in the project there are those directly affected by cancer that have played a major role by sharing their own experience treating a loved one.

Sue Anderson, a patient advocate, understands firsthand the benefits of proton therapy through the treatment of her then five year old daughter Audrey in Jacksonville, Florida. Her experience has proved valuable to other parents researching for connections to international facilities and identifying the relevant funding criteria for the Medical Treatment Overseas Program.

“Increasing the access to protons in Australia for paediatric patients provides great long term benefit to families and the medical and education system by reducing the late effects of conventional treatments, this is an exciting and necessary development to allow treatment options for children to fall in line with the UK and the USA,” Anderson said.

The design team, architects, Johnson, Pilton, Walker; cost assessors, Davis Langdon; and engineers TTW and DSC have been behind the project since 2007, generously working pro bono because of their belief in the project.

For more information on PTA please visit www.protontherapy.com.au and on Mater Brisbane visit www.mater.org.au

Mater media contact: Jacqueline Hayes +61 7 3163 2378 Jacqueline.Hayes@mater.org.au
PTA media contact: Sharon Kelly +61 414 780 077 writingandpublicity@gmail.com www.writingandpublicity.com

 

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 International sustainability research and urban design leaders join forces with Australian counterparts

An international scientific committee of 10 leading sustainability experts from various disciplines in low-carbon and resilience research and urban design will punch above its weight in promoting, overseeing and guiding transformational research and future city planning for the Australian Visions and Pathways 2040 Project said its leader Prof Chris Ryan today (28 April, 2014).

Funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living(CRCLCL) the Project’s primary objective is to engage with key built environment stakeholders and the community to provide clear pathways towards designing new buildings, precincts and cities that are sustainable across the board – delivering benefits such as lower fossil fuel energy use and pollution and resilience to changing climate and extreme weather events.  This is no easy task and all the complex components that make up a city have to be analysed in a holistic manner.

Professor Ryan, who is also Director of the Victorian Eco-innovation Lab (VEIL) at the University of Melbourne, said the scientific committee consists of people top in their field, many of whom he has worked with for some time.

“The committee, which has members from Europe, the United States and China, will provide an expert overview of our research and engagement work to ensure it is of the highest standard.  It will also position the project internationally providing global exposure and input,” he said.

Professor Ryan says the work is critical: “When we look at systems that support a city they are all interconnected and although there are many projects looking at different components in this complex web, the elements need to be viewed as a whole, to see how they can viably work together to deliver futures suited to a low-carbon economy. This is essential to maintain our future liveability and to position ourselves to take advantage of a massive global market for new innovative initiatives for low-carbon resilient cities,”

“There is a wealth of research and knowledge available to us but we need to pull it together to find cohesive design and creative solutions that work sustainably not just for Australia but for other parts of the globe where needs and resources vary,” he said.

Professor Deo Prasad, AO, CEO for the CRCLCL said the project held key importance in creating a vision for a sustainable urban future.

“Ultimately the project team and the stakeholders’ jobs are to dream about what a low carbon living city may look like in 2040then work out how these dreams can become a reality.  They need to have visions during this process which may also flag disruptive innovations that, like the steam engine, could completely change the way we live.  It is an extremely exciting project with many possibilities,” said Professor Prasad.

“Once we have glimpses of the vision, then it allows us to better understand the transitions and roadmaps in getting there. This then, better enables an understanding of the requirements such as capacity building, research, planning and policy.”

The Visions and Pathways 2040 Project is young and so far has only six months of research and held just one workshop in Melbourne where 70 participants were involved, being encouraged to create visions of the future that have been cohesively documented and visualised as ‘glimpses’ of the future.  The outcomes of the Melbourne workshop will not be revealed until after a similar Sydney workshop is held at the end of May.  Then results of both workshops will be analysed and reported by researchers and by the project partners.   Work in other Australian cities will then follow suit.

The project is funded to March 2017 with a view to an extension once the project’s progress has been determined.

The Visions and Pathways 2040 Project has a host of leading project partners: Aurecon, AECOM, HASSELL, Brookfield Multiplex, City of Melbourne, City of Melbourne, City of Sydney, Sydney Water, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), The University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales and Swinburne University of Technology.

Media Contacts:

Sharon Kelly E: s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.auM: +61 414 780 077

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What drives a successful PR Consultant to turn savvy Escort then Sex Therapist?

A VERY personal journey – new book ‘TRUST’

Sydney, Australia: The intimate and detailed personal story about former PR Consultant, Sex Worker and now Relationships Counsellor – Taryn Harvey – is told in her debut book – ‘TRUST’ – to be officially launched on Wednesday, 9 April 2014, Crow’s Nest at 6pm (invitation only).

This book plunges the reader into the dark shadows of human nature then rises again, with Harvey herself emerging as an empowered woman and empathic healer. Often confronting, funny, sad and angry all in one go, this story firmly puts the spotlight on the inner relationship turmoils and sexual differences between men and women.

Harvey’s experiences are real and open. Her work now helps couples and individuals with their sexual and emotional issues – some being men with erectile dysfunction, caused by stress, low self-esteem, poor life style or following prostate surgery.

According to Harvey, becoming a sex worker – which she was for ten years – helped her both heal and find her true path as a sexuality counsellor and tantric intimacy coach.

“Being able to adopt an alternative ‘taboo’ lifestyle revealed a whole new world to me. It opened my eyes to men and their deep complexities as well as my own judgements and need for self-evaluation – it has entirely changed my life for the better,” she said.

Ironically in her PR work Harvey specialised in the areas of pharmaceutical, nutritional and sexual health where she worked with many experts in the field, including those involved in the launch of Viagra – a leading men’s impotence drug.

Harvey tells of how adrenal fatigue forced her to leave a stressful, corporate PR career to become an escort, where she had better pay and less stress. She was now in charge of herself. With the extra time her new lifestyle provided, she began studying to be a counsellor and gained a clearer understanding of the communication between mind and body.

During her counselling studies, rigorous therapy was a prerequisite in order to graduate, and along with escort work it provided a continual source of information that helped fuel her own psychological research.

“My own addictive compulsive behaviours and self-sabotage in relationships became evident, and through sex work I was able to identify that there is a universal need for intimacy and companionship – not always sexual – in order for our spirit to thrive. Finding balance in our lives cultivates positive self-esteem which helps in the prevention of disease. This in turn drew me to study and practice the art of Tantra which has become a key tool in my work,” she said.

“The sacred art of Tantra encompasses the power of mindful breath work and visualisation which opens up your body to deeper connection and more conscious communication. This practice heightens the level of intimacy as you become aware of your partner’s touch, presence and energy. It’s a very deep and rewarding way for couples to reconnect,” she explained.

Harvey’s aim through her story is for everyone to become more aware of the benefits of being able to express their feelings and relational needs without fearing judgement or shame. She believes that building trust through more open communication is imperative in order to nurture a healthier sex life.

Her focus these days is on helping others improve their sexual health and relationships through her counselling and healing practice – working intuitively with chakra energy centres within the body system.

“My somatic approach – where the body is key, not the mind – is fast becoming the therapy of choice for men recovering from prostatectomy and sexual dysfunction. In most sessions I encourage a person to confront any discomfort, whether it’s physical or emotional, by guiding them toward identifying what may be blocking the positive, life enhancing energy – or chi. Once the block is cleared, awareness and clarity is achieved which optimises healing and creates the space for authentic love to enter – which is what we all really want,” she concluded.

The editorial assessor at publisher Balboa said: “I was reminded of the BBC drama series, The Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which detailed the life of a worker in the escort industry. I actually preferred your storytelling style to hers.”

People can buy a printed copy $28.99 AUD ($18.99 USD) or online version $3.99 AUD of the book at this link TRUST from the 9 April.

Journalists seeking to review the book should make that request and a copy can either be sent by post or a pdf emailed. Excerpts can be reviewed here.

For media interviews or for media wishing to attend please RSVP to Sharon Kelly on sharon.kelly@bigpond.com or calling + 61 414 780 077.

Some coverage here

Coverage from Daily Edition, Channel 7

Cruiser technology

Smart Services CRC launches Cruiser Interactive Company with connected surfaces software – Demo at Connect Expo 2014 (13-14 March)

An innovative software platform from the new spin-off company of Smart Services CRC – Cruiser Interactive Pty Ltd – that turns walls, tables, whiteboards and smart devices into touchscreen networks for group collaboration is set to debut at the Connect Expo 2014 In Melbourne this week.

Developed by Smart Services CRC from research by the University of Sydney, Cruiser is set to revolutionise group collaboration in any domain where visual planning and group collaboration is required, such as the advertising, marketing, property development, architecture, design, government, town planning, defence, and emergency response and education sectors. The platform is already revolutionising business operations for clients such as Victoria Police, Mondelez, Jumptank and Colliers International.

Cruiser adds a new dimension to collaboration, allowing users to flick information from any surface (personal smart devices, tablets, tables, walls and whiteboards) to any other surface located anywhere in the world for dynamic group discussion. Participants can annotate images and video; resize, manipulate and copy media files; contribute additional content; and share and work on information with multiple peers and colleagues anywhere in the world.

Dr Anthony Collins, Product Leader of Cruiser Interactive, said “Cruiser provides users with the ability to engage customers in new ways, transforming the way they do business, and giving them the ability to collaborate digitally with teams.”

“This multi-user software allows the integration of any interactive touch screen device to provide seamless content sharing and collaboration by colleagues in the same room or across the world. It will literally open doors to business and create a deeper understanding of a product or system that’s being discussed or sold to a prospective buyer,” he said.

“The technology is also ideal for staff collaboration, design and brainstorming. For those working in marketing or advertising, who brainstorm on a regular basis, Cruiser is a great way to share thoughts and visuals with each other or their clients.”

See Cruiser in action at Jumptank in Sydney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6-M8pWPMd8

Patrick Higgins, Manager, Property Management Group at Victoria Police said the software was the most advanced touch interface he had come across.

“We‘ve actually established a Cruiser facility at Victoria Police where staff can come together and collaborate on different aspects of building maintenance and property management as a team,” he said.

“We have 800 properties to manage, so this is an amazing tool for us. The Executive Director also sees some important opportunities to use the facility for operational policing to monitor what’s happening in the field and manage and run these operations.”

See an interview with Patrick Higgins here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB9cSSM75ug

Mark McKenzie from Colliers International said the Cruiser technology delivered new opportunities for innovation in group presentations.

“In the residential property industry, we work with clients from around the world, so using such a visual and interactive format helps us to overcome potential language barriers and communicate successfully. And of course, young people who are familiar with touch screen technology love it.”

See an interview with Mark McKenzie here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHHACE86nA4

The Cruiser software is the key to connecting all the hardware which can be purchased through Cruiser Interactive including TableTop, an interactive touch surface that engage collaborators; TouchWall, which turns interactive walls and whiteboards into knowledge-sharing surfaces; and MediaWall, where users interact with information using a series of intuitive gestures.

For media inquiries and to arrange interviews please contact Sharon Kelly on 0414 780 077 or email media@cruiserinteractive.com.au. More information visit www.cruiserinteractive.com.au

For Cruiser demonstrations or technical enquiries please contact Anthony Collins on anthony@cruiserinteractive.com.au

www.smartservicescrc.com.au/products

 

Anikiko_yoga_smallInfinity pool_Karma KandaraNew 3 Day Sounds of Solace Wellness Retreat with music nutrition comes to Karma Kandara – Bali (July & November 2014)

http://www.karmakandara.com/3-day-sounds-of-solace-wellness-retreat-with-music-nutrition/

Change and achieving goals will never be so easy for those attending one of two, three-day, new Sounds of Solace Wellness Retreats with music nutrition in Bali during 2014. The retreats will merge the ethereal voice, music and first-grade kinesiology skills of Australian songstress and composer AniKiko, with the luxurious cliff-top surroundings, amazing organic wellness cuisine, yoga and spa treatments of Karma Kandra, Ungasan, Bali.

This unique three-day program will provide the best kinesiology, mindset and body integration tools plus music nutrition for healing to help you get where you need to go next in life. The retreat is designed for all intentions and goals and suits individuals, couples and groups, corporate or otherwise – which AniKiko works with on a daily basis. There will be two retreats in 2014: 11-15 July and 7-12 November (Karma in-house guests) or 12-13 July and 8-11 November (Karma outside guests).

“This new Sounds of Solace Wellness Retreat I’ve created and recently launched in Sydney, uses a five step system I have used for over 16 years in clinic. It works with our whole being by using specific musical tones and my voice, and is combined with the most effective kinesiology techniques to help integrate the body, mind and soul to secure intentions and allow change to occur, even when you return home. Just like we need food to nourish us, music also has a role – that’s why it’s called Music Nutrition,” said AniKiko.

“The Sounds of Solace music uses an eclectic mix of sounds, ancient frequencies – from tuning forks, Scalar Holographic ‘tones’, crystal singing bowls – and my voice to help people secure their intentions and work through any blocks they experiencing in life. It also uses entrainment whereby the binaural beats and continuous rhythm, similar to the heartbeat of 60 BPM, causes the brainwaves and heart rate to synchronize while the unique melodies engage other brain centres. This differentiates it from other meditation music out there. The effective tools I will also use from my years of clinical kinesiology practise will further help instil intentions and changes on a cellular level in the body.

“The Karma program will challenge, open and launch the intentions of those involved, reaching into their bodies and souls, allowing them to listen to parts of themselves they have never heard before, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings, Karma wellness cuisine and Karma Spa treatments which are all included in the package,” she said.

“Karma Kandara is so special. Its physical location is at the bottom or base chakra of Bali and as in the body, this is where all our base emotions are born and this place reflects that in every way. The Sounds of Solace Music Nutrition program, which is linked to the chakras, fits like a glove with Karma’s amazing wellness cuisine. This is why I am so delighted that Karma Resorts are involved with this program. It is a match made in heaven!”

AniKiko has performed as a singer several times at Karma and guests are already in tune with her music at Karma Spas where her newly devised ‘Karma Rhythm Massage’ is on the menu – which has lifted the concept of ‘spa music’ to a higher frequency.

“We are now starting to pair all our signature rituals with specific soundtracks that are in sync with the actual movements of the treatments,” said Judy Chapman, Karma Resort’s global Wellness & Spa Curator.

“The idea behind the pairings is to offer the guest a deeper and more profound healing experience.”

Per person costs are for four nights (welcome drinks on Friday evening and farewell dinner on Monday) start at $2389 (which varies depending on villa occupancy, numbers and groups). Costs for Karma outside guests and Bali visitors is $1718 per person.

The program includes:

Karma-Stay:

3 x Days’ AniKiko’s retreat package
1x follow-up skype session when home
Sounds of Solace CDs
5 Days/4 Nights’ Accommodation in an appointed pool villa
Daily wellness breakfast at Di Mare Restaurant
3 x Morning Detox Juice
3 x Wellness Lunch (Entrée and Main Course + Healthy Juice)
3 x Afternoon Refreshment (Young Coconut & Refreshments)
3 x Wellness Dinner (3 Course)
3 x Group Sessions
3 x Yoga Sessions
1 x 120-min Detox Salt, Sea & Oil Experience
1 x 120-min Sacred Jade Stone Ritual
1 x 120-min Microdermabrasion + Ultimate Oxygen
Return Airport Transfers
Complimentary Access to Karma Beach Bali includes use of beach facilities
Complimentary Welcome drinks & cold T\towels (On Arrival)
Complimentary Deluxe Fruit Basket (Replenished Daily)
Complimentary Two bottles of mineral water per room (replenished daily)
Complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the resort
Complimentary use of gym

Non-Karma stay:

3 x AniKiko retreat package
1x follow-up skype session when home
Sounds of Solace CDs
3 x Morning Detox Juice
3 x Wellness Lunch (Entrée and Main Course + Healthy Juice)
3 x Afternoon Refreshment (Young Coconut & Refreshments)
3 x Yoga Sessions
3 Days’ Ani’s Retreat Package
1 x 120-min Detox Salt, Sea & Oil Experience
1 x 120-min Sacred Jade Stone Ritual
1 x 120-min Microdermabrasion + Ultimate Oxygen
Complimentary access to Karma Beach Bali including use of beach facilities -complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the resort plus complimentary gym use

All meals to be served in Di Mare Restaurant. Rates are subject to 21% tax and service charge. For inquiries about the program email bookings@truevoiceglobal.com or to book email res@karmaresorts.com or contact Reservations +62 361 848 2200.

You can sample AniKiko’s music nutrition at this link http://www.music-nutrition.com/

For media inquiries and to arrange interviews contact Sharon Kelly on + 61 414 780 077 or email sharon.kelly@bigpond.com

Deo Prasad_2Sustainability leader honoured

A commitment to sustainability and the development of greener cities has resulted in Australia Day honours for Scientia Professor Deo Prasad, CEO of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL).

Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand before settling in Australia nearly 30 years ago, Professor Prasad has made an outstanding contribution to low carbon research through his work on high performance buildings and the challenge of bringing sustainability research into front-end design and construction. He has been appointed as an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia, an honour bestowed on only five per cent of nominees every year.

“It is an absolute pleasure to receive this honour. As someone who was born and raised overseas, it’s wonderful to think that I can make such a valuable contribution to Australia, and that my contribution can be honoured by my adopted homeland in such a meaningful way,” he says.

Professor Prasad undertook a series of distinguished careers as an architect, engineer and scientist before turning seriously to academia in 1985. He has built his reputation on going ‘beyond the baseline’ of low carbon research, moving into new frontiers that challenge contemporary beliefs about the role of the built environment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2012, Professor Prasad was the driving force behind a bid for the development of the CRCLCL, which has a focus on developing a globally competitive low carbon built environment sector within Australia. The successful bid was a major achievement that saw him bringing together 50 industry partners to join forces in finding real-world solutions to pressing environmental issues relating to the built environment.

Professor Prasad says that the fragmented nature of the built environment sector made the CRC a particularly challenging prospect.

“Researchers and organisations tend to focus on one element of a larger problem – they’re interested in buildings, or they’re interested in cities, or in precincts,” he says.

“But the reality is that creating buildings and cities is a multidisciplinary process, and so we need to approach it holistically if we’re serious about building better cities. That has been the focus of my research career, and it really underpins what we’re doing at the CRC.”

In addition to receiving millions of dollars in competitive research funding, and publishing over 250 journal articles and six books, Professor Prasad is a leader within the international built environment sector. His many honorary roles including being an ambassador for the Business Events Sydney , a former Green Globe Award winner (2004), and the winner of Royal Australian Institute of Architect’s Neville Quarry Architectural Education Prize (2006). Internationally, he is member of numerous boards and committees, including the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Solar Buildings Research Network and the United Nations Environment Program’s Eco-Peace Leadership Centre Board (Seoul) and chairing the Global Civil Society Forum for UNEP (Asia Pacific).

According to the Hon. Robert Hill AC, Chair of the CRCLCL, the extent of Prasad’s contribution to industry, academia and the broader community sets him apart as a researcher

“We are lucky to have him working on such complex multidisciplinary research right here in Australia at the CRC,” Hill says.

“While only in its early stages, the CRCLCL is already showing signs of having the capacity to make a major contribution to international built environment research.”

About the CRC for Low Carbon Living Ltd

“We enable a globally competitive low carbon built environment sector.”

The Low Carbon Living CRC brings together key property, planning, engineering and policy organisations with leading Australian researchers to develop new social, technological and policy tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. The CRC will help unlock barriers to cost-effective carbon reduction opportunities, empower communities and facilitate the widespread adoption of integrated renewable energy. This will enable the sector to transition and contribute to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets while maintaining industry competitiveness and improving quality of life.

www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly
E:s.kelly@lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au
M: +61 414 780 077

POG2bOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anikiko’s new album now available online!

AniKiko’s new, independent album – Particles of Goodness – which mixes soft melodies and beats to deliver a selection of songs that touch your heart, filled with soul, funk and fun – is now available to download and buy at www.anikiko.com. Due to current on-going negotiations the album is not yet available on i-tunes.

Recently launched and extremely well received at Candy’s Apartment, Kings Cross, Sydney Australia, the album also features Tony Smith, Jolyon Petch, The Owl (John Devecchis), Tom Tighe, Jotheo, Sicrea, Mosh Cohen, Dave Greene and Ilan Kidron (Potbelleez) and more!

What makes this album so different is that AniKiko has spun unique frequencies into the tracks which research has shown to create mind and body benefits for the listener – a great way to start 2014!

“I’ve created songs and music that link into a person’s psyche while embracing and addressing the particles that make up our world – clustering together to form and create a rich experience and landscape of base-beat tunes and vocals that carry you, the listener out of fear, pain and put you in a place of happiness, otherness, dreams and hope,” she said.

“The album is focused on really celebrating life, love and fun, which will have benefits for all who enjoy this album.”

From the album dedication:

I believe that Love Holds the Key and listening to The Call inside your own heart forges a path that sometimes seems like Light Years to achieve. Following the Whispers in your heart isn’t always easy and it’s the commitment to being a Heart Finder that has led me out of times where I Lost Myself and may have Hurt You and myself because I was in doubt and fear. You are the Particles ofGoodness in my life, I stand Pure and Naked before you with all my music whether it’s a ballad or dance track and I dedicate this album to you and my co-producers as a celebration of life with you in it. Indeed there is Happiness wherever the Music Is Alive and may the Lights never dim or fade for if they do, turn the music up to feel Invincible! In this life, it is Game On.

For more information contact Sharon Kelly, Writing & Publicity on + 61 414 780 077 or email Sharon.kelly@bigpond.com.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Medical Centre on the Moon:
An Australian rural health success story

Photo: Dr Hamish Meldrum, Dr John D’Arcy (who launched the book) and Dr Ross Lamplugh at the launch

Sydney: A rural health success story was told today (19 November 2013) at the launch of a new book A Medical Centre on the Moonby Graeme Brosnan. Officially launched by medical media celebrity Dr John D’Arcy, this is the story of the Ochre Health Group founded by two young doctors just over ten years ago – Ross Lamplugh and Hamish Meldrum – whose energy and enthusiasm for rural medicine, almost by accident, created an astonishing health care business.

“Health care is always a top priority for the community and in rural areas it’s a real and well known challenge. For us it all began in the iconic country town of Bourke when Hamish and I worked together and turned what was essentially a three doctor town about to lose two of the doctors, into an integrated health system which included allied health, nursing staff and four permanent doctors,” said Dr Lamplugh, Ochre Health Chairman.

Ochre Health is now a major medical service provider and recruiter, operating 16 medical practices[1] across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and in Queensland, with more earmarked for the future.

“We believe the key to Ochre’s success is that through our own personal experiences as doctors we have the ability to choose the right staff for our locations and importantly encourage doctors and other medical practitioners to embrace rural medicine. We are able to run their business for them while they deliver quality healthcare services,” he said.

“As our organisation has grown we have built on our experience and developed a recruitment and business formula that works and fits in with the team and family culture of Ochre Health. Everyone at Ochre has a passion for improving health outcomes, and providing health services to communities at need,” Dr Lamplugh said.

Dr Meldrum said that Ochre’s formula importantly has impacts on community health outcomes.

“Independent research conducted by Professor Michael Mira at Sydney University (looking at the pathology results of diabetic patients) and by Greg Hardes, Hardes and Associates (measuring Hospital Utilisation Rates) showed that after Ochre Health (then Australian Outback Medical Services) won the contract to run the medical services the community’s health significantly improved,” he said.

Dr Meldrum said Ochre already has a great reputation and this is the building basis of further development and a way to attract the right staff.

“In another ten years time I would like to see Ochre as an even stronger brand that doctors and medical practitioners seek to work for because they know it will enhance their medical experience and their reputations as well as make a difference to a community’s health,” he said.

“We wrote the book so our personal story, the story of Ochre and the many people involved can inspire non-rural Australian doctors to take the plunge into rural Australia which is, without doubt, one of the most rewarding medical experiences available,” said Dr Meldrum.

Overall the book is the story of Ross and Hamish – their loves, their lives, their influences, how they met and how Ochre became a reality.

For Dr Lamplugh a life changing experience that made him more determined to make a “difference in people’s lives” was when he had a leadership role at the Royal Hobart Hospital in the aftermath of the Port Arthur Massacre, learning many lessons from the harrowing experience – and having to provide care to both a killer and his many survivors.

Dr Meldrum’s experiences and adventures travelling the world while working in different health systems were all part of his journey towards Bourke and meeting the business partner with whom success and health care change would grow.

Ochre Health Chief Executive Officer, John Burns who has worked for the company for the past three years, sees Ochre as setting a standard for integrated health care into the future.

“Ochre Health is the only company to have won three Super Clinic tenders under the previous Federal Government’s Super Clinic Program, and we are proud of these achievements,” he said.

“I don’t think we will ever operate in inner city Melbourne or Sydney but we will take on larger towns, metro peripheries and regional centres. Bourke, Brewarrina and Coonamble will always be the heart of the company and with changing technologies there are always different opportunities on the horizon. The story is certainly not over,” Dr Burns concluded.

The book can be purchased for $24.95 by contacting Ochre Health on + 61 2 8356 3100 of via the website at http://www.ochrehealth.com.au/about – 10% of sales will be donated to the Fred Hollows Foundation.

To organise interviews or a copy of the book for review contact Sharon Kelly, Writing and Publicity, on 0414 780 077 or email Sharon.kelly@bigpond.com.

About Ochre Health

The Ochre Health Group was established in 2002 by Dr Ross Lamplugh and Dr Hamish Meldrum. The duo had been working as general practitioner/hospital doctors (proceduralists) in the town of Bourke, NSW and wanted to attract additional doctors to the area. Once that was established, the company expanded its aim to include rural healthcare services management.

Ochre stands for Outback & Coastal Health & Recruitment. Ochre is a pigment widely found in Australia and ranges from yellow to red, and is the colour of the soil. Ochre Health Group operates as two complimentary business units, Ochre Health and Ochre Recruitment.

Ochre Health operates in 16 rural Australian towns as well as urban areas of Canberra, providing medical centre (GP) and hospital staffing (VMO) services. These towns now enjoy record healthcare staff levels and have demonstrated improved health outcomes within their communities.

Ochre Recruitment is a doctor recruitment agency for both permanent and locum medical jobs. Ochre Recruitment provides locums and permanent doctors to Ochre Health and many other private and government clients.

Ochre Recruitment has Australian presences in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as Wellington, New Zealand.

For more information about Ochre Health go to www.ochrehealth.com.au
For more information about Ochre Recruitment go to www.ochrerecruitment.com

[1] Barnham, Boggabri, Bourke, Brewarrina, Calwell, Collarenebri, Condobolin, Coonamble, Deniliqin, Grafton, Kaleen, Lightning Ridge, Malaney, Montville, Tea Gardens, Eumundi, Sippy Downs.

Weizmann

$0.5+ million for joint Australian-Israeli scientific research

Drug resistance, diabetes, epilepsy and protein behaviour research are set to benefit from grants worth over      $(A) 0.5 million awarded by Weizmann Australia. Funded by Australian philanthropists, Weizmann Australia has established four major joint research projects between scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) Israel and scientists at Sydney, Flinders, Melbourne and Australian National Universities.

Announced today (30 November 2013) by Weizmann Australia’s Chairman, Stephen Chipkin, the $70,000 annual grants over two years for each project, are a key part of Weizmann Australia’s goal to link Australian and Israeli scientific expertise.

“The Weizmann Institute is not publicly well known in Australia but it is well recognised by international scientists as one of the world’s great science research institutes. It has a wealth of knowledge to be shared, which is why these grants were created,” he said.

“Overall the purpose of this program is to facilitate scientific collaboration between the Weizmann Institute of Science and Australian scientists by providing seed funds to initiate or strengthen existing research ties. This will be good for Australian science and it will further strengthen the links between the two countries. If the research leads to significant scientific breakthroughs, all of humanity will benefit.”

The research projects being funded are as follows:

1. University of Sydney and WIS

Understanding pancreatic molecules to help improve diabetes therapies

Pancreatic beta cells play a leading role in regulating our body’s metabolism through their unique ability to synthesise and secrete the hormone insulin, in response to increasing concentrations of glucose. Inadequate beta cell mass or beta cell dysfunctions are major denominators of diabetes.

This research aims to define the role of specific molecules called “micro Ribonucleic Acids” (microRNAs /miRNAs) in pancreatic beta cells dysfunction. This will allow scientists to understand the role of these microRNAs in development as well as treatment of diabetes.

According to A/Prof Anand Hardikar, who leads the research team at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, although it is well understood that miRNA’s play a central role in several biological activities, from embryonic development to cell death, the mechanism by which microRNAs may influence development of diabetes are not well understood.

“Understanding how two specific RNA’s- miR-375 and miR-34a, are expressed in pancreatic cells is a key focus of our research and to determine their regulation by metabolic factors such as insulin, glucose and fatty acids,” he said.

The Israeli team lead by Prof Michael Walker at WIS will focus on the characterisation, control and development of these molecules and the Australian team will address their regulation.

“Together these approaches will provide a better understanding of how miRNAs control beta cell development and function. They may also generate novel insights into the development of beta cell dysfunction which may lead to new approaches to diabetes therapy,” said Prof Walker.

2. Flinders University and WIS

Insights into drug resistance can improve disease treatment

Not all drugs are effective as infectious bacteria can use pumps to block treatment causing multidrug resistance (Mdr) which is a serious threat to human health. The Flinders and WIS research aims to deconstruct these blocks by studying the role of Mdr pumps which play a significant role in antibiotic resistance, for example.

According to Prof Melissa Brown who leads the team at Flinders University, multidrug pumps in the cell membrane are able to remove a range of introduced drugs from the cell before they can act – a serious obstacle to treating many cancers and infectious diseases.

“Our collaborative research into these fascinating complex proteins will hopefully yield results with clinical relevance, a prerequisite for the design of effective antibiotics able to overcome them as well as intriguing insights into the unusual mechanisms that make them so effective,” she said.

Prof Brown’s research partner in Israel, Prof Eitan Bibi added: “In addition to their clinical importance, these pumps are of interest due to their intriguing mechanical characteristics that differ substantially from those of chemically specific transport systems. Our collaborative research program will help us better understand the differences between certain groups of multidrug pumps and how they evolved.”

Overall the multidrug transporters being studied, although prevalent in bacteria are less characterised by scientists than other transport mechanisms and are therefore not as well understood. This research aims to shed light on an important aspect of multidrug transport.

3. University of Melbourne and WIS

New epilepsy gene research to improve seizure understanding and therapies

Following the recent discovery of a new epilepsy gene called HNRNPU from a study of 500 children and adults with severe epilepsies, the University of Melbourne/WIS research project aims to investigate how this gene, once mutated, influences brain development.

Discovered by Professor Ingrid Scheffer’s team at the Florey Institute, University of Melbourne and United States collaborators at the University of Washington, the new gene is opening doors in epilepsy research.

“This form of epilepsy develops during early childhood so understanding the effects of this gene mutation on the brain in early development is important. In this research the gene will be studied in early postnatal mice in a bid to understand how it works,” said Professor Scheffer.

Professor Scheffer’s WIS research partner Prof Orly Reiner said the research is significant for epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders which severely impact on someone’s life, particularly if seizures are frequent. Understanding the effects of this gene on brain development will help improve our knowledge of how and why seizures occur and their impact on development and ultimately pinpoint the best time to introduce therapy to a patient,” said Prof Reiner.

4.   The Australian National University (ANU) and WIS                                                 

‘Seeing’ protein behaviour to help improve drug targeting

Measuring and visualising changes that large protein molecules undergo as they perform their biological function are key objectives of the ANU/WIS project that could ultimately improve drug target analysis according to Professor Gottfried Otting at ANU.

“As atoms and molecules are so small, to see these proteins at work we tag them with molecules that can be seen using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, which is the best physical method to accurately measure the distance between tags on a nano scale and the variability of these distances,” he said.

Prof Otting, who has cutting-edge expertise in attaching suitable tag molecules to proteins will work with Prof Daniella Goldfarb at WIS, who in turn has built one of the most sensitive EPR spectrometers in the world, to take these measurements.

“We will conduct spectroscopic measurements to determine the distance between two specific sites in a protein, each labelled with a specific tag. Such measurements will enable us to track changes in the protein structure as it interacts with another protein or a chemical interfering with its function,” said Prof Goldfarb.

‘Seeing’ protein molecules at work is an age-old dream of biochemists and biophysicists and the team has been working on realising this dream for the past three years. Now they say they are ready to tackle problems of biological significance.

“Ultimately as proteins depend on mobility to perform their biological functions, knowing how they work will ultimately help improve the characterisation of drug targets,” said Prof Goldfarb.

For media information and to organise interviews contact Sharon Kelly on behalf or Weizmann Australia on 0414 780 077 or email Sharon.kelly@bigpond.com or alternatively directly to the universities:

Sydney – Kim Russell-Cooper on (02) 9562 5009 kim@ctc.usyd.edu.au
Flinders – Emily Charison on (08) 8201 5768 or 0478 322 906 emily.charrison@flinders.edu.au
Melbourne : Diana Squires, (03) 8344 6937 or 0432 754 232 dsquires@unimelb.edu.au
ANU – Media Hotline , (02) 6125 7979 media@anu.edu.au

About the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) and Weizmann Australia
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions with over 2500 scientists, lab technicians and research students across five faculties – Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology. Insights that emerge from its laboratories help provide a fundamental understanding of the biological, physical and chemical world and lead to advances in medicine, technology and the environment.

Scientists are encouraged to be bold, think “out of the box” and to draw from multiple scientific disciplines. The Institute’s innate culture of curiosity and collaboration has led to paradigm shifts in thinking and multiple ground breaking discoveries including: :

  • Amniocentesis, a prenatal diagnostic test for the fetus.
  • Sophisticated laser systems for high-precision diamond cutting.
  • A method for growing hybrid seeds that prevents the transmission of disease from one generation to the next and helps protect edible plants from pests.
  • Affinity chromatography, a key tool for purifying biological materials in the biotechnology industry
  • Living polymerization, one of the most fundamental techniques of the modern polymer industry
  • Solving the structure of the ribosome, the cell’s protein factory, and revealing its means of action, for which the Institute’s Prof. Ada Yonath was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her research should speed the development of antibiotic drugs that are more efficient, especially against antibiotic-resistant strains.

Currently there are over 1,200 current projects and 750 patent applications in the pipeline.

Established in 2009, Weizmann Australia supports WIS’s outwardly-focused vision. It aims to facilitate opportunities that promote both the work of WIS and the development of Australian science research and Math and Science education, enabling mutually beneficial engagement between Australian scientists, students and educators and WIS scientists, research and education programs. Specifically, Weizmann Australia focuses on the following key areas:

  • Collaboration – building networks that lead to and support research collaboration between WIS and Australia.
  • Communication – highlighting WIS’s scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to Australian supporters and the general public.
  • Education – delivering public benefit through events, education programs and scholarships that provide unique access to inspirational scientists, cutting-edge research and science education programs.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il (Israel) http://weizmann.org.au/ (Australia)

Infinity pool & Karma SpaAniKiko

Karma Spa to launch Australian-Bali first – a new powerful life-changing wellness program – Inspired Living

Making changes can be a huge personal challenge but now a new, unique, powerful program called Inspired Living that merges the ethereal voice, music and first-grade kinesiology skills of Australian songstress and composer Ani Neradilkova (AniKiko) will assist and facilitate you to make important life-changes. (June 2013)

September 2013 (8-13) sees the launch of this first, not-to-be-missed five-day personal development program and retreat at the exclusive, stunning, cliff-top Karma Kandara Resort, Uluwatu, Bali. The package includes treatments at Karma Spa, yoga, a wellness cuisine, open-air cinema and dinner on its private beach.

“This refined, exciting new program I’ve designed will use specific musical tones and my voice, combined with only the most effective kinesiology techniques to integrate into the body, mind and soul to create life-change and allow this change to continue when home,” said Ani.

“I have recently run an online webinar pilot program of what will take place in Bali and the results were amazing. The Karma program will be even more powerful in a face-to-face group, which is all about the synergy of the group as well as what I will teach. It will challenge, open and launch the intentions of those involved, reaching into their bodies and souls, allowing them to listen to parts of themselves they have never heard before.”

Ani tirelessly worked and reworked specific music tracks, which use an eclectic mix of sounds she has produced, ancient frequencies from tuning forks, Scalar Holographic ‘tones’, crystal singing bowls and last, but not least, her angelic voice, to transport you away from the everyday challenges to places where solutions and even magical possibilities can unfold.

“The music I’ve created helps people shift through limited beliefs, creative blocks and other barriers to living an inspired life of fun, fulfillment and purpose. The music uses entrainment whereby the binaural beats and continuous rhythm, similar to the heartbeat of 60 BPM causes the brainwaves and heart rate to synchronize while the unique melodies engage other brain centres. This differentiates it from other meditation music out there. The effective tools I will also use from my years of clinical kinesiology practise will further help instill change on a cellular level in the physical body,” said Ani.

“Karma Kandara is so special. Its physical location is at the bottom or base chakra of Bali and as in the body, this is where all our base emotions are born, this place reflects that in every way. I am delighted that that Karma Resorts are the first to receive this program. The gift of this workshop at such a star venue is in my opinion a match made in heaven!”

Ani has performed as a singer several times at Karma and guests are already in tune with her music at Karma Spas where her newly devised ‘Karma Rhythm Massage’ is on the menu – which has lifted the concept of ‘spa music’ to a higher frequency.

“We are now starting to pair all our signature rituals with specific soundtracks that are in sync with the actual movements of the treatments,” said Judy Chapman, Karma Resort’s global Wellness & Spa Curator.

“Most spas play random music to treatments but the idea behind the pairings is to offer the guest a deeper and more profound healing experience.”

Per person costs are for six nights (welcome dinner Sunday, 8 September, farewell dinner Friday, 13 September 2013) based on villas selected being at full occupancy, program, spa treatments, yoga, meals and extras are in the table below.

Package Inclusions 2 bed villaPackage for two people for 6 nights 3 bed villaPackage for three people for 6 nights 4 bed villaPackage for four people for 6 nights
5 Inspired living program sessions;daily a la carte breakfast ; daily 3 course wellness set lunch and 3 course wellness set dinner plus one herbal drink; 1:1 kinesiology; 2 hour body scrub; 3 karma massages; Balinese healing experience; 3 yoga sessions; 2 karma treatments; detox juice; infrared sauna; 4 Sounds of Solace CDs; Liquid Love CD. bonus 1:1 coaching session; villa and private pool US$ 9,800++ US$12,500 US$15,760

All meals to be served in Di Mare Restaurant. Rates are subject to 21% tax and service charge.For bookings email res@karmaresorts.com or contact Reservations +62 361 848 2200.

You can sample Ani’s transformational music at this link http://anikiko.com/music/sounds-of-solace/

For media inquiries and to arrange interviews contact Sharon Kelly on + 61 414 780 077 or email sharon.kelly@bigpond.com

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