The first half of this year has been a busy one for the climate action space within the Institute, with approximately 50 volunteer Institute members that are in dedicated National Working and Advisory Groups, and National Committees.
We applaud and thank members for the incredible work of they are doing.
A lot of time and effort goes into their continued involvement in developing information that assists in policy, advocacy, and education. A lot of the work is planned to be brought together on the Institute’s website. providing a collaborative central resource of tools, guidance and eventually case studies to allow all members to engage more widely. The intent is that the work being done to accelerate the capacity of members to really start hitting 2030 targets earlier than regulation dictates.
We also have several current members also sitting on task groups such as the National Construction Code, NatHERS, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and Materials Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance.
Further work is being done by members in consulting capacity as the Institute helps them to improve new frameworks for project and skills delivery. This is particularly around embodied carbon and leadership frameworks.
On a side note, the Institute is working in task groups with ASBEC also focusing on high level energy, low carbon, decarbonisation, electrification, policy, and advocacy to support our ongoing positioning as technologies and recommendations for the built environment occur. Also liaising with the GBCA and their team on potential alliances in research and industry skills.
National Residential Sustainability Advisory Group (NRSAG)
The National Residential Sustainability Advisory Group was initiated early 2023, with members from all states setting goals for policy, advocacy and education for the following external stakeholder groups. These goals are on top of the ongoing involvement in the regulation and standards body that they participate.
ABCB NCC Residential Energy Efficiency Working Group:
- Advocacy letters for future residential scenarios based on climate risk, future grid situations, how embodied carbon could be integrated into policy, quality assurance and quantitative metrics for auditing and disclosure and how it should change the scope of design and construction.
NatHERS Technical Advisory Committee:
- Advocacy for the NatHERS Strategy to increase use of simulations as a regenerative design tool from concept design through to building consents, verification targets and for construction to feed into Whole of Home calculations. This whole of site strategy addressing the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity.
- Education and ‘demystifying NatHERS’ and whole of home calculations including libraries, W.O.H using DTS and within software, equipment and electrification strategies. Including the condensation survey in conjunction with the ABCB NCC Technical Working Group on Condensation.
NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group:
- Advocating and education for design tools vs compliance tools, including societal costs and electrification knowledge and enhanced settings to allow better free-running mode.
REEDI Residential Energy Efficiency Disclosure Initiative:
- NatHERS and REEDI Strategy 2 – day Workshop, Feedback has been given to the scheme
Residential Embodied Carbon Working Group:
- Scoping long-term visions on embodied carbon in regulation and within architectural scope and fees, establishing baselines for what is measured in residential and different approaches.
- Advocating design-stage embodied carbon tools for decision making.
Since commencement in January 2023, the group has also provided guidance and submissions on:
- NABERS Embodied Carbon Submission
- Parliament of Australia – Greenwashing Inquiry
- Parliament of Australia – Residential Electrification
- National Energy Performance Strategy (NEPS) – submission
- SA Government Green Paper
- NatHERS 2024-2028 Strategic Plan
- REEDI (Residential Energy Efficiency Disclosure Initiative): Strategic Plan
- Institute Policy Essentials for residential
- Worked collaboratively with the ABCB NCC Condensation WG on the 2023 Condensation Survey.
- Graham Hunt (NSW) – Chair for NRSAG, NatHERs QA group
- Benjamin Keane (SA) NatHERs TAC technical support
- Jane Caught (VIC) Proxy NatHERS TAC
- Andy Marlow (NSW) Proxy for NatHERS SCG
- Robbie Gibson (ACT) Rep for NatHERS Stakeholder Consultative Group
- Timo Bleeker (WA) Rep for ABCB Residential EE WG
- Hamish Bresnahan (NSW) Proxy ABCB R EE WG
- Jim Stewart (VIC) NatHERS TAC & Reedi rep (observer)
- Sophie Solomon (NSW) co-chair for NRSAG EC WG
- Bonnie Herring (VIC) co-chair for NRSAG EC WG
- Adam Hamilton (QLD)
- Chris Barnett (VIC)
- Sarah Williamson (NT)
- Paul Worroll (QLD)
- Lucia Wellington (TAS)
- Luis Schilling (WA)
- Gareth Cole (NSW)
NCASC Meeting July 2023
Formerly known as the Climate Action Sustainability Taskforce (CAST) at National level, the new National Climate Action Sustainability Committee has grown to include more members from around Australia. It also includes voices from EmAGN and SONA to represent the complete link in climate action strategy and skills across architecture in Australia.
The CAST team had undertaken a lot of coordination work to get the Institute ready for implementing frameworks to upskill, retrain, assist in clear advocacy and identify pathways for improvement across the whole profession including University, Registration and in practice. This also included the carbon neutral campaign, beginning the development of a framework of ‘good design’ leadership and NSCA competencies.
The new team welcomes members who sat on the old CAST, and those new that have joined recently. The first meeting of the new committee was held in July and runs monthly.
In the first meeting the NCASC gave introductions around the membership to initiatives and goals that they see as being crucial to ensure the Institute supports members to achieve decarbonisation and growth in measurable climate action outcomes.
As the group has just sat for the second meeting in August, they are now narrowing their goals and providing structure to implementation and working to endorse position statements for new and emerging technology.
Their growing consensus that works initiated under the old CAST team has provided the basis for the new group to really pull things together and ensure that there are opportunities to coordinate more skills growth and knowledge across Australia and providing a global position on working with Country and regenerative design.
Currently early work is underway reviewing the sustainability checklist based on previous entries and centralising resources, case studies, and advocacy to support practice and chapters better in climate action. We’re also liaising with the GBCA, MECLA, ASBEC, AILA and other associations on future work, aligning advocacy and policy recommendations. This includes a position on the current energy technologies that are planned in the Federal government’s energy transition to zero-carbon energy.
There is also heavy focus on embodied carbon as a keyway that the built environment sector can start facilitating lower whole life carbon reduction. There are Institute members on liaising with both ASBEC, MECLA and NABERS on this topic.
More updates on the planned execution of goals in the next update as well as planning a refuel relaunch with members for designing now for future 2030/2050 needs.
- Sandie Anghie (WA)
- Stefan Preuss (VIC)
- Gabrielle Pellitier (NSW)
- Helen Lochhead (NSW)
- Alison Potter (VIC)
- Ross Donaldson (WA)
- Caroline Pidcock (NSW)
- Callum Senjov _
- Andrew Noonan (QLD)
- Kevin Milller (ACT)
- Blake Hillebrand –SONA + VIC
- Jeremy McLeod (VIC)
- Deo Prasad (NSW)
- Alexandra Morrison (VIC)
- Melinda Dodson (ACT)
- Jamileh Jahangiri (NSW)
Intersection Climate Action Meeting
In July we had a recommencement of chapter coordination with an Intersection Climate Action Meeting, whereby we have one representative from each chapter’s sustainability group reporting back and sharing informally, work each chapter is doing, their wins and updates.
This is a really good way for chapters to share back to the Institute:
- the many quirks of practice in sustainability for their climate zone and codes
- capture what is the best approach to education and working groups for members.
- identify the work being undertaken in each chapter so that we can learn from each other.
- how short-cuts to workflows in the chapters and get their key goals off the ground quicker.
The members from the states and territories summarised their chapters approach to advocacy, education and lobbying for policy change. We discussed the conduit within the Institute bringing information, assistance on policy, advocacy, and education both:
- upstream to the new National Climate Action Sustainability Committee, and externally to extend partnerships with ASBEC, GBCA, ATTMA, AIRAH, MECLA, LFI, AHURI, UNSW, UTAS, PIA etc
- and downstream to Chapters, National Residential Sustainability Advisory Group, Awards committees, education and CPD, and ABCB NCC Technical working groups.
Peter Hirst from Victoria’s Sustainable Architecture Forum (SAF) noted that the chapter largely has operated as an open forum which uses a ‘systems thinking approach’ to regenerative design, policy, continuing professional development (CPD), education & research. The SAF plans bi-monthly forums.
They prepare AIA (Vic) response to state enquiries which impact on a sustainable living environment. This has been especially on urban sprawl and have members working in government ESD forums and with DELWP, and they like to ensure they are included in the policy conversations.
They are engaging with media and publications regularly so that Architects can discuss their houses as exemplars of sustainable design principles. They also provide engagement through public speaking events on ranging topics.
The SAF(Vic) presented at the Sustainable Living Festival providing ½ hr consultations to registered public.
Recently Convenor Nadine Samaha also presented a paper cowritten with Sarah Naarden at the 2023 UIA in Copenhagen of ‘reframing belonging: decolonising narratives through ecological, regenerative and biophilic design.
The Chapter was involved in the ‘Open Melbourne’ series which talked about ‘what architects do?’ and presentations were made by Daniel Moore, Kirby Roper, Belinda Seale, Jude Doyle, Steffen Welsh, Jacinda Sadler and Marc Bernstein.
Yaara Plaves, Regen Design Committee’s South Australian Chair, discussed the chapter’s approach to their regenerative trajectory. Also, in a system thinking approach, the committee firstly started with a mission statement and webpage which acts as a central resource for all their regenerative design CPD, education, updates and member engagement.
The chapter is very education focused and wants to ensure construction industry is seeking out opportunities to engage with regeneration beyond sustainability. The circular economy also playing a big education role with a tour organised regionally for the waste and by-product sector.
ArchiED also has been able to provide connections between the primary education sector and regenerative architecture at the Nature Festival in Adelaide. This is planned for the next school holidays.
Regenespresso, a casual coffee catchup with knowledge leaders allows emerging architects to join and scaffold learning outcomes with knowledge leaders. Collaboration with external education networks is consistently undertaken joining engineers, builders and the supply chain into the conversation.
There is also a NCC working group which is participating heavily in the NCC implementation trajectory with the building minister. The submission from the chapter was coordinated with much emphasis to health, equality for the NCC, and was supported with a proposed trajectory to 2030 with a regenerative approach to commencing disclosure of embodied and operational carbon. This was the basis also for the SA Green Paper for the Energy Transition submission to the State Government and the chapter provided a voice to the State Government’s fast tracking of affordable housing prior to NCC 2022 October 1st implementation dates, by highlighting the need for the condensation provisions to be rolled out early on these homes.
A housing roundtable was also attended with Nicolette Di Lernia speaking at the ‘Housing and NCC’ event. Whilst the Building Minister was in attendance for a short period, Nicolette discussed the very innovative approach and existing precedence for the changes for LHD in SA and then also identified a large number of existing housing stats relating to energy efficiency and condensation that were supportive of the chapters submission to the Building Ministers Meeting.
Queensland representative Andrew Noonan resides on their Climate Action Sustainability Committee. He provided an insight into their reactionary approach which allows them to be very vocal in their lobbying.
Queensland have had wins in providing an alternative voice to the State Government around the implementation on NCC 2022 and the targets for the increase in energy efficiency in residential type construction.
While the changes have not been delayed as they have in NSW, WA and Vic, they have a continuing task as the Queensland Building Code is currently under review and the draft proposal is to override the NCC with a reduction in NatHERS ratings.
Much of the discussion in Queensland also focuses on social sustainability and inclusion and we have been liaising with the government on the ways to maintain the liveable housing standards for new developments and have actively been providing feedback to changes in the QBC that may contravene the NCC requirements.
Andrew highlights that they seek out scenarios that would aid the chapter to seek a higher star rating while to waiting for the regulatory changes. Highlighting the point of the cyclical nature of the NCC and that regulation won’t seek out mandating 9 or 10 stars until the next decade.
Although the ACT is a smaller chapter, Kevin Miller noted their council focuses on a number of ranging topics that cover sustainability. Largely driven by the residential side, they also find that their efforts in advocacy have been supported by a strong state government implementing targets for 2030. Including education on electrification and the capital being a renewable energy power and therefore discussions have been journeying sooner to embodied carbon in policy.
They also have the Low Carbon Challenge for residential over the last couple of years and the lessons have allowed knowledge and skills to move to other sectors of carbon. They have been liaising with government on the importance of the circular economy, planning sectors to educate about adaptive reuse, low embodied carbon and calculations using RapidLCA of buildings to limit demolition. They’re also excited to have a large influence on the national conference this year with sustainability and first nations approach.
Ross Donaldson from Western Australia’s Sustainability Committee, discussed the 3 focuses of education, advocacy and practice. They also did a 7-part CPD program on Net-Zero previously. The Advocacy work is very focussed on LGA’s adopting LCA reporting documentation as a condition of the DA application process.
They are educating that there should be zero whole of life carbon by 2035/40. Advocating for LGA’s to go above and beyond the NCC which doesn’t give a target for mitigating climate change, and if measurement is included in regulation, then the reductions will start to be seen, rather than a certification first approach.
They are also targeting advocacy directly to ministers and the state government with the sectorial emissions reduction strategy and using the precedent set by the City of Vincent’s mandate for measuring LCA in planning to advocate for state-wide uptake.
Jamileh Jahangiri from the New South Wales Sustainability Working Group explained that the group operates in a smaller concentrated way, often with small practices forum open to all architects.
She co-chairs with Gabrielle Pelletier and the group has worked on a 10 year mission which is then divided into shorter targets.
Previous targets were to implement their chapters sustainability checklist in their awards and start measuring and then that formed a basis for NSW to also look at the bigger picture of 2030.
With large building reforms underway, the group is also using the opportunity to promote sustainability with external stakeholder partnerships, advocacy for relationship building with architects, stakeholders, legislators, and tools to do so. They also want to be a zero-carbon practice by the end of the year.
Tasmania and Northern Territory couldn’t attend the first kick off meeting however they will be able to provide updates in the next meeting