Time will tell, but we are quite convinced that the very public intervention by BHP’s Marius Kloppers will turn out to be a crucial turning point for Australia and its climate change response. Timed to coincide with a new Government finding its feet – emboldened by a stronger Green component – and with a Mining Tax geared to suit the big miners, the commitment from the big resources end of town makes it look quite certain that a price on carbon will be in place before long. There’s plenty to talk about this week, with a focus on business and building. It is World Green Building Week, so fresh from the global congress in Singapore, reports of so much that is happening on the construction site. Clean tech gets more deserved space, with a major Singapore commitment to R&D and innovation, along with an assessment of Australian sector investment, as well as what’s happening in China. Sustainability Indexes get a look in, along with global aviation moves to cut emissions. Melbourne is streets ahead with a green zone drive and the greenest Pixel building ever seen. A new acronym – PES – crops up and Paddy Manning has his say on long awaited climate action. We have lift-off! – Ken Hickson
Archive for the ‘Express 127’ Category
Profile: Marius Kloppers
His very public assertion of BHP’s preferred political response to climate change caught Australia by surprise. CEO Marius Kloppers’ acknowledgement of the reality of the impact of carbon emissions on climate and his equally blunt assertion of the policy settings required to deal with the issue have attracted slightly stunned endorsement or blunt scorn. He is providing the leadership from big business that has been lacking to date.
Matthew Stevens in The Australian (18 September 2010):
YOU wouldn’t call it a conversion on the road to Damascus so much as a confirmation on the way home from Copenhagen.
On Wednesday, Marius Kloppers confirmed BHP Billiton was a supporter of the mainstream view on climate science and recommended that Australia embrace a “mosaic” of policy responses based on the prompt introduction of a carbon tax, even if that meant we moved to efficiently price emissions before our international peer group.
From the moment the Copenhagen climate summit collapsed last December under the predictable weight of national economic self-interest, Kloppers set about ensuring BHP would be properly primed for the renewal of the debate over how to price carbon in Australia.
From BHP’s perspective, Copenhagen proved that nations would act in their own interests on emissions. It also established the validity of individual, purpose-built responses to the climate challenge. Essentially it said the debate had moved away from the “silver bullet” responses being promoted by academic economists and that national interest and pragmatism had won the day.
Without the possibility of global consensus on emissions trading and carbon pricing, Australia’s proposed emissions trading scheme, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, looked as politically improbable as it was essentially economically irrational.
Kloppers’ public assertion of BHP’s preferred political response to climate change caught Australia by surprise. His plain English acknowledgement of BHP’s long-standing position on the reality of the impact of carbon emissions on climate and his equally blunt assertion of the policy settings required to deal with the issue have attracted slightly stunned endorsement or blunt scorn.
It’s a strange world where Bob Brown’s Greens and Tony Maher’s coal union find themselves in alignment with BHP while the Coalition is left in an angry lather about what it perceives as a sudden shift in the miner’s attitude.
Needless to say, none of them seems yet to fully appreciate what Kloppers has promoted. The Greens hear him talk about a carbon tax and the necessity of properly pricing emissions and little more. The noise from the Opposition reflects not only a worrying ignorance of BHP’s consistent views on emissions management but a similar failure to actually go to the source material and attempt to digest and appreciate the complexity of the BHP position.
Like so many of the core strategies that have shaped the modern BHP, the approach to climate change was established in the early 2000s by then boss Paul Anderson. A former heavy in the US gas industry (and now a director of BP), Anderson asserted that climate science was authentic; carbon pricing was coming; a carbon tax was the only way to go; and BHP needed to “get involved or get trodden on”.
When he left, the greenhouse nettle was grasped by Chip Goodyear, who went on to articulate a climate change policy and in 2005 committed to spending $US300 million on emissions mitigation. A year later BHP had formalised greenhouse targets and established reporting standards that are reported annually in its sustainability report.
In the end, though, for all its quiet commitment to the emissions management task, BHP felt it had been caught flat-footed by the rapid redirection of Australian industry policy in the wake of Kevin Rudd’s election in November 2007. And nowhere was that more apparent (until the super-profits tax debacle, at least) than in the rapid and comparatively isolated progress of the Garnaut Climate Change Review.
The fact that the Garnaut process ran ahead of any debate reflects, in part, its strange genesis but also that industry was working to a completely different set of rules to the newly elected Rudd.
Garnaut’s review, you may recall, was created by Rudd and the state premiers in April 2007, while the Queenslander was still in Opposition. It was then something of a sideshow until Rudd’s election in November. But by then, Garnaut had a full head of steam.
In what became a fairly familiar story during Rudd’s prime ministership, before industry really had a chance to properly articulate its individual or collective views, the Garnaut report steamrolled through the green paper and white paper stages and by the end of 2008 Australia was on the way to embracing the slick, elegant European emissions solution: a giant trading scheme.
But when Rudd’s progress to an ETS was interrupted by the Copenhagen debacle and the trickiness of the Greens, BHP was back in the game. And this time it was ready to get very much on the front foot by first plainly articulating and then strongly promoting its preferred approach.
To do that, Kloppers called in the recently appointed boss of Heath, Safety, Environment and Community, Ricus Grimbeek — one of a community of South Africans at the pointy end of BHP.
Grimbeek’s task was to ready BHP for the return of carbon pricing to the political agenda. Kloppers wanted a very specific, totally informed program that expressed the company’s point of view and supported that view in deep detail. Kloppers insisted that it was time to move beyond general platitudes about climate change and corporate life. Rather he wanted Canberra to be presented with a fully formed, simply expressed, platform of carbon mitigation initiatives.
It is said at BHP that, from December until Wednesday, Grimbeek has “put in man-years of work” in capturing and digesting all the available underlying data on climate change policy around the globe and in assessing what can work and what can’t work.
The response Grimbeek, Kloppers and the rest of the senior BHP management settled upon is supported, rather typically, by six simple principles. It sends a clear price signal, it is revenue neutral, it is trade friendly, broad based, predictable and gradual in transition and it is simple and effective.
The platform is built on the idea that through a direct, simply constructed carbon tax, the federal government can become a clearing house to reprice carbon and then recycle the funds generated back to the energy users.
It is not, in other words, a great big new tax. It is merely a means of forcing a pricing disincentive on energy use and, at the same time, a pricing incentive to make more carbon-friendly energy choices over the medium and long term.
For example, it will encourage generators to invest in combined cycle gas-fired power stations rather than coal stations. And that will leave Australia more cost-competitive when the rest of our trading world starts pricing carbon properly.
The trade friendliness is built around the idea that carbon tax generated by exports will be rebated until there is a level playing carbon playing field. This means Australia might successfully reduce its emissions while not undermining the ability of its exporters to compete globally.
While refuting the effectiveness of a broad-based ETS, mostly because of its indescribable and constraining complexity, the BHP plan recommends a trading scheme for the electricity sector, which speaks for 51 per cent of Australian emissions.
And finally, the BHP scheme would seem to be predicated on the idea that where carbon pricing won’t change consumer habits, then you have to regulate. So government has to get down and prescribe the way we construct our homes and the efficiency of the services we install in them.
Now, if you think this is a strange level of detail for BHP to be burying itself in, then you would have been right until about three years ago. Before Rudd’s election, it would have been unimaginable that the simplifying Global Australian would go to such efforts to establish itself a base camp at the broadest points of the climate change issue. But one of legacies of the ill-fated Rudd government is an erosion of confidence in the quality of the governance of the commonwealth.
Over 25 years federal governments from both sides have reinforced a consultative, reforming pragmatism that encourages business to maintain an historically light and deeply confidential engagement with Canberra. But the days of quiet are over.
Mathew Murphy in The Age (21 September 2010):
LESS than a week after BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers called for immediate action on climate policy, a world report card has given his company a B grading for its carbon-management policies, ranking it lower than rival Rio Tinto.
The Carbon Disclosure Project, which represents 534 institutional investors with more than $64 trillion of assets under management, has found that 85 per cent of leading companies had entrusted board members or senior executives with responsibility for climate policy, up from 82 per cent a year earlier.
The report ranked National Australia Bank as the best-performing of the Australian companies, scoring 93/100 or ninth of all companies globally. Rio Tinto scored 89/100 and a B grading, putting it among the top handful of companies in the materials index.
The scores, which are based on consideration of business-specific risks related to climate change and good internal data management of emissions, put BHP further back with a score of 71/100. Companies scoring above 70 are considered to have achieved a high grade.
The report found that Australian companies were still lagging behind the rest of the world – only 40 per cent of S&P/ASX 200 Index companies had emission reduction targets, compared to an average of 70 per cent for the Global 500. The top 200 Australian companies lagged in every indicator except the percentage of companies that perceived regulatory risks associated with climate policy (69 per cent of ASX 200 companies compared with 66 per cent of the Global 500).
Chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change Nathan Fabian said Australian companies should follow Mr Kloppers’s lead on the mitigation of greenhouse gases.
”It is a positive that BHP is describing their policy view. We need all leading companies to do that. Keeping quiet on the issue won’t make it go away or aid a smooth policy transition,” he said. ”Part of the score is calculated on the public position of companies. Determining the policy for your company should not be underestimated, but that does not get the company to a strong position on abatement or mitigation and every company that is emissions exposed is going to have to go through that hard process.
”I think the global results are showing that companies around the world are getting on with the job. Even in the US, which you would argue has had substantial regulatory uncertainty, the S&P 500 numbers increased by a substantial amount,” Mr Fabian said.
BHP Billiton is due to release its annual sustainability report tomorrow. It is expected to show that its greenhouse gas emissions have reduced from 51.7 million tonnes in 2008 to 45.9 million tonnes. This is tracking at 93.2 per cent of its 2006 levels, meaning it has, in effect, already met its 2012 target of reducing emissions by 6 per cent.
Mr Kloppers’s intervention on carbon policy mirrors a global trend – 80 per cent of companies surveyed said they were engaging with policymakers, up from 71 per cent a year earlier
From the 2010 BHP Billiton Sustainability Framework
The issues associated with climate change continue to be a challenge for governments, communities and industry around the world. The urgency and complexity of these issues require responses from all of us. BHP Billiton shares the view that the rational choice is to accept that the mainstream science is right in pointing to high risks from unmitigated climate change.
Risks of climate change may include changes in rainfall patterns, water shortages, rising sea levels, increased storm intensities and higher average temperature levels, which may result in damages to crops, buildings, infrastructure and ecosystems.
As a global community we have the potential to reduce the worst impacts of climate change, and clearly the greatest benefits will come from acting early. Alliances to tackle this challenge will need to cross national and cultural boundaries, but the developed world has a clear leadership responsibility in achieving a global approach.
Scientists tell us the world must aim to stabilise global carbon dioxide concentrations in the range of 450 parts per million to avoid the most severe impacts. An international climate framework must establish binding commitments for all developed and major developing economies if real reductions in emissions are to be achieved.
From our perspective, the key principles for an effective international response include:
• A global regime that prices carbon to allow enough certainty for investment in new technology and abatement opportunities to occur while still promoting economic growth.
• Strong measures to help avoid deforestation and fund reforestation (large landholders like BHP Billiton have a role to play here).
• Support for the poorest countries in adapting to the physical impacts of climate change and pursuing low carbon pathways to development through energy efficiency or the adoption of alternative energy technologies.
• Business leadership and ingenuity is critical to achieving low carbon growth and, as a major resources company, we are committed to playing our part.
In addressing this and other issues affecting all of us, we appreciate that governments have to consider the needs of industry and communities as well as the global implications.
Carbon Pricing Protocol
BHP Billiton maintains an internal mechanism for costing carbon and determining carbon price impacts on Greenfield and brownfield developments, and on mergers and acquisitions.
The Carbon Pricing Protocol includes a range of prices for developed and developing countries based on likely scenarios of government requirements and technology deployment, as well as the associated costs and economic impacts. Our valuations for investment decisions and planning processes include the expected impacts of carbon emissions (both cost and price impacts). The Carbon Pricing Protocol is updated annually to reflect internal and external carbon price modelling and proposed treatment of carbon permits in countries where we operate.
China Tops Climate Stimulus Spending Spree
THE global climate change industry is now worth more than A$528bn, powered by China’s rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues. The HSBC research report shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.
Sarah-Jane Tasker in the Australian (18 September 2010):
THE global climate change industry is now worth more than $528bn, powered by China’s rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues.
As the debate on setting a price on carbon in Australia continues, HSBC Global Research issued a report on climate change that showed the sector had proved resilient to the global slowdown, seeing less than a 0.9 per cent decline in revenues in 2009, as companies push ahead with plans despite political uncertainty over green policies.
“Despite concerns over the risks that governments may retreat from their pledges to deliver emission reductions and continuing uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of regulatory incentives in key markets, global climate revenues have held up remarkably well and in 2009 stood at $US530bn for listed companies,” the report says.
The headline figure is greater than the global wireless telecoms services sector and comparable to the GDP of Switzerland, the report says.
The research also shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.
HSBC says this will ultimately feed into the future growth of China’s economy.
“In terms of climate stimulus spend, China leads the pack, having already disbursed over 70 per cent of the funds it pledged two years ago,” the report says.
The climate change debate in Australia was reignited this week when BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers called for the nation to lead the way and introduce a carbon tax before any international agreement.
John Atkinson, the managing director of White Energy, which focuses on clean coal technology, said he did not believe that businesses needed certainty on carbon tax today.
“Other countries would be surprised if Australia took the lead on the issue,” he said. “I would’ve thought that the more sensible approach is for the major emitters to agree on the issue and then implement what they agree.”
But Mr Atkinson said it was good to have the debate, because the industry was not deterred by the political uncertainty and initiatives were being implemented on a global basis.
Just this week, White Energy announced that the US state of Kentucky had sought out the company to address an emissions problem around sulphur, offering White Energy accelerated permits and funding for low-sulphur fuel for the state’s coal-fired power generating companies.
“When people are faced with real problems, they look hard at trying to show they are doing something positive that can assist the situation long term,” he said.
The HSBC report reveals that over the past year, despite a number of key countries wavering on their commitments to addressing the issues of climate change, the number of companies engaged in providing climate-related goods, products and services grew to 367, a 140 per cent rise since 2004.
The research also highlights that firms in key industries, which HSBC identified as being critical to the emerging low-carbon economy, continue to focus on growing climate revenues, relative to their other businesses.
Vijay Sumon, an index specialist at HSBC Global Research, said in the climate change sector, energy efficiency and energy management remained key areas.
“Not only has this sub-sector performed well, but we predict that it is likely to continue to do so next year, as a beneficiary of further stimulus spend,” he said. “We see it as a no-regrets option, as it makes sense for businesses regardless of climate change.”
Some Outstanding Profits in Australian Clean Tech Sector
The dark days of the clean tech sector in Australia may be getting brighter. Emerging environmental companies have turned in a mostly positive reporting season, including some outstanding profits. Solar energy installer and wind farm developer CBD Energy enjoyed a maiden profit with a $12.1m turnaround, going from a loss of $3.7m to a profit of $8.5m. The result was mainly due to its acquisition of eco-Kinetics. Victor Bivell of Eco Investor Magazine reports.
Victor Bivell in The Australian (17 September 2010):
The dark days of the clean tech sector may be getting brighter.
Emerging environmental companies have turned in a mostly positive reporting season, including some outstanding profits.
But the sector continues to show extraordinary volatility, and there is also bad news. Two companies are in receivership and a third has major debt issues and has been suspended.
Emerging environmental companies are stocks outside the ASX 300 index, but whose sales and, for the most part, profits place them ahead of the many microcaps that sell little and make even less.
It’s an attractive part of the market for many investors because the companies are well past their start-up phase. Some even pay dividends and are in striking distance of the ASX 300. But the sector has risks, and long-term success is still not assured.
The good news is that 12 of the 17 emerging stocks made a profit, and only two made a loss. In 2008-09, 10 out of 17 stocks made a profit and seven made a loss.
Four companies increased their profits, and four were able to turn the previous year’s loss into a profit. Four companies had reduced profits, one went from profit to loss, one reported a much greater loss, and three have more serious issues.
The biggest profit increase was by landfill gas developer Energy Developments, which repaid the faith of its private equity buyers and those investors who refused to sell into their takeover. Profit rose 347 per cent, from $3.6 million to $16.4m, on a 7 per cent rise in revenue, but the big changes were lower borrowing costs and much lower one-off costs.
Energy Developments was removed from the ASX 300 list after the majority private equity takeover because of its reduced liquidity.
Hazardous waste manager DoloMatrix enjoyed a 341 per cent turnaround, from a loss of $1.4m in 2008-09 to a profit of $3.4m. It also announced a maiden dividend of 1 cent per share.
Although revenue fell by nearly $3.5m, costs fell even more. DoloMatrix says recent acquisitions should contribute strongly in 2010-11.
Solar energy installer and wind farm developer CBD Energy enjoyed a maiden profit with a $12.1m turnaround, going from a loss of $3.7m to a profit of $8.5m.
The result was mainly due to its acquisition of eco-Kinetics. CBD is also paying a maiden dividend.
Used car battery and waste recycler Hydromet went from a loss of $3.3m to a profit of $3m as revenue jumped from $27.9m to $43.1m. But there was also a net gain on the revaluation of land and building of $2.5m.
Profit at environmental engineering group Clean TeQ jumped 160 per cent to $1.3m as revenue doubled to $17.1m.
The company said trading conditions had picked up after a difficult period due to the global crisis, and that continued investment in people and research had helped it to stay at the forefront of its industries. The outlook was good with significant potential business opportunities in all areas, it said.
Architectural sunshade maker Gale Pacific moved from a loss of $12m to a profit of $6m. The company reinstated its dividend and will pay 2c per share, 1c of which is a special dividend.
The company had strong sales growth of 10 per cent in Australia and 6 per cent in the US, and its China manufacturing plant improved performance.
This year the company will release a new waterproof outdoor material, and will focus on “branded screening and shading products for domestic, commercial and industrial applications”.
Among the companies that went backwards, profit at solar hot water and heat pump company Quantum Energy tumbled from $30.2m to $8.4m.
Revenue fell 24 per cent, or $26m, to $81.2m. But the cost of manufacture fell only $12.8m, and employee benefits, loss on the fair value of financial assets, and impairment of receivables cost another $6.9m.
The directors said the decrease in profit was due to changes in government incentives. However, the company was focused on new sales and distribution channels and these should “facilitate a strong performance in the financial year 2011″, it said. Landfill gas and wind farm owner Viridis Clean Energy reported a loss of $64.1m after a loss in 2008-09 of $19.3m.
The size of the loss was mainly due to a charge of $73.6m for impairment of assets. Directors say they classified its main assets as “held for sale”, and wrote down their carrying value to reflect the three-month price of Viridis securities.
Viridis said it had a number of proposals for the sale of its assets.
Carbon sink developer CO2 Group reported a loss of $3.7m, a sharp deterioration from a 2008-09 profit of $600,000.
Although revenue rose from $14.8m to $22m, there was a $5m increase in plantation costs, and the postponement of the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme led it to write down another $5.5m on intangible assets of its WA mallee plantings.
Three companies have not released results.
Metals recycler CMA Corporation’s shares have been suspended since February while its works through debt issues.
Ironically, the year’s biggest losers were two long-established companies with histories of rising sales, profits and dividends. These were the two mid-tier plantation forestry companies, Forest Enterprises Australia and Willmott Forests.
Both are in receivership due to the ongoing collapse of the managed investment scheme industry.
Victor Bivell is editor of Eco Investor magazine.
Singapore Aims for Energy Resilience for Sustainable Growth
The Singapore Government commits S$16.1 Billion to support research, innovation and enterprise for the next 5 years and seeks ways to solve complex national challenges with R&D. A key challenge will be addressed by “Energy Resilience for Sustainable Growth”, which aims to develop cost-competitive energy solutions for deployment within 20 years to help Singapore improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and increase energy options.
Reported by Gov Monitor (19 September 2010), which is a leading global platform for internationally respected and innovative online news and information:
Singapore Government commits S$16.1 Billion to support research, innovation and enterprise for the next 5 years and seeks ways to solve complex national challenges with R&D.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Chairman of the RIEC, announced today that the Singapore government plans to spend S$16.1 billion over 2011-2015 on research, innovation and enterprise.
The Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), comprising several Cabinet Ministers and eminent international leaders in science and technology, endorsed this allocation at the end of its fourth meeting today.
The new allocation was recommended by a Whole-of-Government exercise, and is a 20% increase over the S$13.55b committed from 2006 to 2010.
This reflects the growing importance of R&D in Singapore’s development as a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy.
Government to commit S$16.1 billion to support research, innovation and enterprise in the next 5 years
PM says Singapore’s long-term aim to be among the most research-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world in order to create high value jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans
R&D expertise to be harnessed to solve complex national challenges with global demand – “Energy resilience for sustainable growth” would be the first challenge to be addressed
PM Lee said: “Singapore’s long term aim is to be among the most research intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world in order to create high value jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans. Research and innovation underpin the competitiveness of our industries, catalyse new growth areas, and transform our economy. Increasingly, intellectual capital will be critical for our next phase of economic development. Hence, the government will allocate S$16.1 billion to support research, innovation and enterprise activities in the next 5 years.”
In Sweden, Finland and Israel, private enterprises take the lead in R&D. Likewise, Singapore aims to increase gross expenditure to R&D of 3.5% of GDP by 2015 through greater private sector R&D activity, as recommended by the Economic Strategies Committee.
We want our R&D efforts to have greater economic impact, and create more high-value investments and jobs. We will do more to facilitate collaboration between industry and public research institutions to foster greater commercialization of R&D.
A larger portion of R&D funding will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that will strengthen our capability and contribute to economic and societal outcomes. “We want to create an ecosystem of competition and collaboration across institutions and with industry, for the best ideas to thrive, succeed in the market, and impact people’s lives”, said Dr Tony Tan, Deputy Chairman of the RIEC.
Strengthening Singapore’s R&D Foundation
Members of the RIEC noted the transformation in Singapore’s R&D landscape. They also reviewed the progress of a range of activities initiated since the establishment of the RIEC and the National Research Foundation (NRF). Government ministries and agencies are more actively engaged in R&D and innovation to enhance service delivery and foster stronger economic growth.
Our universities have raised their international profiles for research excellence and academic entrepreneurship, attracting more partnerships and providing more opportunities to their students.
Renowned foreign institutions have set up a significant R&D presence in Singapore, helping Singapore to establish herself as a global R&D hub. This will help us to attract talent and generate intellectual property, and enhance our competitiveness in this increasingly globalised world. A*STAR’s research institutes have built up a spectrum of research capabilities to meet the technological needs of industry.
The RIEC also noted the substantial progress made in the three strategic research programmes – Biomedical Sciences Translational and Clinical Research (BMS TCR), Environmental and Water Technologies (EWT – Clean Water and Clean Energy), and Interactive and Digital Media (IDM). The RIEC was also pleased to see the early successes of the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), the Competitive Research Programme (CRP) Funding and projects under the National Framework for Innovation & Enterprise (NFIE).
The RIEC agreed that the R&D foundation will be strengthened through a more competitive funding process in the future, riding on the success of the earlier NRF initiatives.
Harnessing R&D to Address National Challenges
The RIEC discussed ways to harness the considerable R&D capabilities developed in Singapore over the years to achieve economic and social objectives. RIEC members noted that Singapore’s size, well-developed infrastructure and a highly efficient and integrated government enable our country to effectively tackle large, complex problems facing many cities. Our solutions will also be useful to other cities facing similar challenges in the same way as we have done in developing our water industry.
Over the past years, NRF has built up world-class R&D capabilities in a wide range of areas, such as energy resilience, transportation, environmental sustainability and urban systems, through initiatives such as the Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE), the Research Centres of Excellence (RCEs) and the Singapore NRF Fellowship. Deep technological knowledge also resides in our universities and research institutes.
The RIEC envisages the “National Innovation Challenge” as a way to harness multi-disciplinary research capabilities to encourage innovations and cost competitive solutions. It therefore supports NRF’s proposal to focus on developing solutions to a few large, complex national challenges facing Singapore as a major new R&D thrust for the next 5 years.
A coordinated effort to marshal the diverse R&D expertise to address complex national challenges can produce innovative and impactful solutions. This would not only solve Singapore’s own problems and make life better for Singaporeans, but also develop our industry and spawn new businesses to exploit opportunities abroad.
The RIEC endorses S$1 billion for the “National Innovation Challenge” to develop innovative solutions to national challenges in areas such as energy resilience, environmental sustainability, and urban systems.
Energy Resilience for Sustainable Growth
The first national innovation challenge proposed by the NRF is “Energy Resilience for Sustainable Growth” which aims to develop cost-competitive energy solutions for deployment within 20 years to help Singapore improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and increase energy options. A programme office would be set up to engage all entities that could contribute to this effort. A Whole-of- Government process would be employed to identify other national innovation challenges over the next five years.
Mr Peter Schwartz, Co-founder and Chairman of Global Business Network, said “There are many challenges awaiting us, for example, energy for the long term and food security. Singapore is well placed to bring together its scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to create solutions to these challenges for itself and possibly for the world”.
Prof Paul Herrling, Head, Corporate Research of Novartis International AG said, “It is fundamentally important to build a critical mass of in-country science and technology capabilities and know-how to be able to recognise and harness breakthroughs whenever these occur. The NIC will allow Singapore to achieve this.”
Dr Tan said: “It is heartening to note the transformation in Singapore’s R&D landscape over the last few years after the government elevated R&D into a national priority by setting up the RIEC and the NRF. The National Innovation Challenge will open up an exciting new frontier for Singapore. It will bring together the considerable R&D expertise built up over the years to solve our own challenges while also developing our industry to take on global opportunities.”
The RIEC will meet in 2011 for its fifth meeting in Singapore.
The National Research Foundation (NRF)
The NRF sets the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise, funds strategic initiatives, builds up R&D capabilities and capacities through nurturing our own and attracting foreign talent, and coordinates the research agenda of different agencies to transform Singapore into a knowledge-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy. It provides secretariat support to the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), chaired by the Prime Minister. A five-year budget of S$5 billion has been allocated to the NRF in 2006 to achieve this mission. The NRF aims to:Transform Singapore into a vibrant R&D hub that contributes towards a knowledge-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy; and make Singapore a talent magnet for scientific and innovation excellence.
Energy Efficiency, Affordable Housing, Job Creation & Disaster Recovery
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings consume between 30-40% of global energy. There is no single larger global contributor – and thereby potential reducer – of carbon than the building sector. Green buildings can also play an important role in providing affordable housing, job creation and disaster recovery, according to a new report. Fresh from its Global Congress in Singapore last week, the World Green Building Council launched the start of World Green Building Week.
From the World Green Building Council (20 September 2010):
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings consume between 30-40 per cent of global energy. There is no single larger global contributor –and thereby potential reducer –of carbon than the building sector.
Green buildings can also play an important role in providing affordable housing, job creation and disaster recovery, according to a new report. Fresh from its Global Congress in Singapore last week, the World Green Building Council launched the start of World Green Building Week.
The building sector directly employs 5-10 per cent of the workforce in most countries.
Tackling Global Climate Change, Meeting Local Priorities highlights how green buildings can play a valuable role in meeting local needs worldwide, including in areas hit by natural disasters, as well as providing the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change.
“In the past some thought we could only address environmental concerns when the going was good and that ‘green’ had to take a back seat to economic growth when times got challenging,” notes Jane Henley, chief executive officer of the WorldGBC.
“This report shows that to be a false choice. We have a growing evidence base of international examples in which homes, buildings and communities are addressing pressing local needs and reducing carbon emissions at the same time.”
Green buildings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 35 per cent –and in some cases can be carbon neutral.
They can also reduce waste output by 70 per cent, water usage by 40 per cent, and energy usage between 30-50% –in some cases producing energy that can be sent back to the grid.
“Buildings are simply the most cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions and policy- makers around the world must recognise this at the upcoming international negotiations at
COP16 in Mexico,” Jane Henley says.
Tony Arnel, Chairman of both the WorldGBC and the Green Building Council of Australia says: “This report provides a timely message of what proactive government and private sector initiatives can do to harness the potential of green buildings to deliver important social, economic and environmental benefits for people around the world.”
Romilly Madew, Chief Executive of the GBCA says: “While the local challenges facing countries around the world may vary, the global importance of the built environment cannot be understated. As we work together to radically reduce our carbon emissions, we can’t miss thewin-win opportunities to addressboth global climate change and the local issues preventing communities from enjoying a high quality of life.”
The report, which includes a foreword from WorldGBC Chairman Tony Arnel and a testimonial by UN Environment Programme Director Achim Steiner brings together case studies from across four world regions, and provides evidence of how green buildings have been used effectively to meet local needs, while cutting carbon, including disaster recovery.
Natural hazards vary globally and some may be exacerbated as a result of climate change. Their impact also varies, often depending on the ability and resilience of the built environment and communities to deal with that hazard. The recovery effort following disaster is a crucial time. It is an opportunity for communities to be at the heart of planning, creating homes and buildings that meet social and economic needs, enhance quality of life and also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The report shows how green building councils have worked with local NGOs to do just this, for example in Australia through the “Build it Back Green” program following wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes andkilled over 100 people in Victoria; and in the USA where, after Hurricane Katrina, the USGBC brought local communities together with experts in urban planning, waste and water management, engineering and architecture to play an active part in lower carbon reconstruction after the floods.
Job creation and local economy:
The financial crisis and ensuing recession has made job and wealth creation the number one priority in many places around the world. The crisis has hit some countries harder than others andcountries have responded in different ways to the challenge. But a common theme is the extent to which construction and refurbishment of existing buildings has been recognised as an important way of stimulating local economies.
South Africa is using the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism”, in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, to retrofit 2300 homes in an established low-income housing area. Energy efficiency measures include insulated ceilings, energy-efficient light bulbs and solar water heaters. Not only does this reduce energy use and carbon, but the revenue from the CDM is used to fund a trust to employ and train local residents.
In BogotáColombia, one of the largest residential projects in the country, Green City, is a mixed-use project that supports the generation of economic activities and jobs for residents and surrounding areas. In the first stage the investment in infrastructure will rise to USD$30.2 million, create 21,000 direct and indirect jobs, and offer public facilities for the community.
Affordable housing and fuel poverty:
In both developed and developing countries, there is often a shortage of affordable, secure and healthy homes, particularly for low income or vulnerable people. Developing new or refurbished greener homes can offer benefits to both residents and the environment.
In Egypt, the GBC has been involved in the design and planning of the country’s first eco- village which will be located South of Cairo. This initiative is motivated by Egypt’s critical situation with its homeless population. The eco-village is expected to deliver to its community members guaranteed health care, basic education, religious guidance, effective social assimilation, work training and skill development. In return the community will produce food, energy and engage in numerous cooperative enterprises.
In Europe, the “Pay As You Save” idea is rising up on the agenda. The UK Green Building Council has campaigned for the introduction of an innovative financial mechanism that allows homeowners or landlords to access finance to improve the energy efficiency of a property, with the capital repaid over a long period of time from the savings on energy bills.
The greatly reduced energy bills mean the resident is better off from immediately, despite having to repay the initial cost of the refurbishment.
The UK government will introduce legislation to enable this policy in November 2010.
Similarly, the Romanian GBC is working with several banks to develop new financial products that could boost the retrofitting of green buildings in Romania along similar lines.
However, the situation is particularly acute in Romania, where subsidies for energy have been removed after many years, leaving a huge number of vulnerable families in poor quality housing exposed to high energy prices this winter.
About World Green Building Week
World GBC and its member green building councils celebrated the inaugural World Green Building Day on September 23 2009 to raise the profile of green buildings globally in the lead up to COP15 in Copenhagen. This year’s World Green Building Week will be celebrated through a number of key activities including the launch of the WorldGBC Special Report ‘Tackling Global Climate Change –Meeting Local Priorities’ and a host of synchronised green building events around the world.Green building councils in over 18 countries around the world will be hosting an event in or around this week.
Aviation Industry Seeks Global Co-operation to Cut Emissions
The global aviation sector called on governments to agree on a global set of rules on tackling the industry’s carbon emissions to avoid chaos. Officials from airlines, airports, air traffic bodies and major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing also asked for more cooperation from states and energy firms. The appeal, issued ahead of a meeting of member governments of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, said only “a global framework to limit and reduce aviation emissions” could enable the industry to meet its pledge to cap them by 2020.
Aviation chiefs seek global emission cutting scheme
By Robert Evans in a Reuters report in Climate Spectator (20 September 2010):
GENEVA – The aviation sector called on governments on Friday to agree on a global set of rules on tackling the industry’s carbon emissions to avoid chaos from a range of competing systems.
Officials from airlines, airports, air traffic bodies and major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing also asked for more cooperation from states and energy firms for their drive to meet their own green targets.
The appeal, issued ahead of a meeting of member governments of the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, said only “a global framework to limit and reduce aviation emissions” could enable the industry to meet its pledge to cap them by 2020.
In a submission to the ICAO meeting, from September 28 to October 8, the aviation leaders called for governments to agree the new set of rules before climate change negotiators hold talks in Cancun at the end of the year.
At a two-day aviation and environment conference in Geneva, delegates from all sectors of aviation said their aim to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent a year over the next decade would be imperiled without an ICAO accord.
EU TRADING SCHEME
They argued that a European Union emissions trading scheme in operation for some five years, and hotly contested by the industry and most governments outside Europe, showed the danger of unilaterally imposed measures.
Critics of the scheme, applied to all airlines flying into member states, say it discriminates against long-haul companies by counting emissions from the last take-off point, meaning a flight from Japan would be taxed in Europe for its whole route.
The industry leaders said that if similar schemes, and taxes nominally for environmental purposes but often used to feed overall national budgets, were to spread it would damage aviation “and adversely affect the world economy as a whole.”
The view was backed at the conference by John Byerly, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs. “If we don’t reach consensus at ICAO, it will be chaos,” he said.
Aviation, responsible for some 2 percent of the world carbon emissions blamed for global warming and climate change, has been assigned a special status for the Cancun meeting, allowing it to stand separately in a world climate pact.
But that will apply only if the industry can go to Cancun with government support for the emission control plan that it has already proposed, as well as a worldwide framework of rules backed by ICAO governments.
The head of the airline grouping IATA, Giovanni Bisignani, told the Geneva conference airlines and biofuel producers had used scarce funds and energy to develop alternatives to the polluting kerosone used by the world’s aircraft.
“Governments invested peanuts and the oil companies even less,” he said. “Biofuels could break the tyranny of oil and lift millions from poverty along with providing a sustainable fuel source for aviation.
Global Sustainabilty Index – The Winners and Losers
The annual review of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes has welcomed 48 new companies and deleted 46. The biggest deletions by market capitalisation are Toyota Motor, Royal Dutch Shell and UniCredit. BP had previously been cut. SAM, the investment boutique focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing, together with Dow Jones Indexes, a leading global index provider, earlier this month announced the results of the 2010 annual review for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.
Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator (19 September 2010):
The $US200 million spent by BP on its “Beyond Petroleum” marketing campaign seems to have come to nothing. Although the campaign was responsible for its inclusion in a slew of environmental, ethical and sustainable stock indices, BP is now firmly on the outer, courtesy of the gulf oil disaster and attention focused on a litany of environmental disaster across its portfolio.
Its latest exclusion comes from the FTSE4Good index for ethical companies which, in its semi-annual review last week, cited the company’s poor response to the oil spill, as well as “the environmental and social impact and its history of similar incidents.”
BP had previously been cut from the Dow Jones’ sustainability index and from Calvert Investments ethical SAGE fund, which said in June that the oil spill and its “almost unfathomable environmental and economic impacts are due first and foremost to the irresponsibility of BP, but also to critical lapses by key agencies of the US government.”
Ins and outs
Meanwhile, the annual review of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes has welcomed 48 new companies and deleted 46. Among those included are Standard Chartered, Morgan Stanley and ArcelorMittal, while the biggest deletions by market capitalisaton are Toyota Motor, Royal Dutch Shell and UniCredit.
The annual review of the DJSI family is based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and labour practices. Australian companies cited as sector leaders include ANZ Banking Group (banks) and GPT Group (real estate). AGL & Origin Energy are the only Australian companies to be included among the 13 companies in the electricity sector. There are a total of 18 Australian firms on the Index for 2010/11.
Professor Ruyin Hu, the head of research at the Shanghai Stock Exchange – the world’s sixth largest stock m
arket by market capitalisation and the largest outside the US by turnover – gave some interesting insights into environmental and governance issues during a presentation at the Responsible Investment Association of Australian conference in Sydney last week.
Hu says the exchange has introduced new rules to make it harder for polluters to access capital markets, requiring any company conducting an IPO or a secondary market offering to undergo a full environmental assessment by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. He said stiff penalties, trade suspension and plant closures were being applied to companies that failed to promptly disclose environmental incidents, and one third of companies – mostly those with dual listings overseas and those on the SSE corporate governance index – had issued separate CSR (corporate social responsibility) reports.
One of the problems, though, was a lack of uniform CSR reporting standards, and the need for standard guidelines on environmental disclosure for companies in extractive industries. “The challenge for us is how to make disclosure practical and effective, because if we require too much information, some of the information might be useless.,” Hu says. “We need to make sure it is useful.” Hu says that socially responsible investment in China accounts for about 1 per cent of the total by mutual funds, which is not far off the global average. He says the SSE is to launch a sustainable development index of 40 companies, in conjunction with sustainability research company ECPI.
SAM and Dow Jones Indexes announce results of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes Review 2010
SAM, the investment boutique focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing, together with Dow Jones Indexes, a leading global index provider, earlier this month announced the results of the 2010 annual review for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.
Following SAM’s largest global analysis of corporate sustainability leadership, 48 companies will join the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World), while 46 firms will be deleted – resulting in a total of 318 index components. The largest additions (by free-float market capitalization) to the DJSI World include Standard Chartered, Morgan Stanley and ArcelorMittal while the biggest deletions (by free-float market capitalization) from this index are Toyota Motor, Royal Dutch Shell and UniCredit.
The review also results in 27 additions to and 19 deletions from the European Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index, 19 additions to and 22 deletions from the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, as well as 36 additions to and 25 deletions from the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index. All changes will become effective with the opening of equity markets on September 20, 2010.
The DJSI follow a best-in-class approach and include sustainability leaders from each industry on a global and regional level respectively. The annual review of the DJSI family is based on a thorough analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and labor practices. It accounts for general as well as industry specific sustainability criteria for each of the 57 sectors defined according to the Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB).
In addition, SAM also identified the top company for each of the 19 Supersectors that the 57 sectors roll up to. The new 2010/2011 Supersector leaders are Air France-KLM (Travel & Leisure), AkzoNobel (Chemicals), ANZ Banking Group (Banks), BMW (Automobiles & Parts), EDP Energias de Portugal (Utilities), GPT Group (Real Estate), Investimentos Itaú (Financial Services), Lotte Shopping (Retail), Nokia (Technology), Pearson (Media), Philips Electronics (Personal & Household Goods), Roche (Health Care), Sasol (Oil & Gas), Siam Cement (Construction & Materials), Swiss Re (Insurance), Telefónica (Telecommunications), TNT (Industrial Goods & Services), Unilever (Food & Beverage) and Xstrata (Basic Resources).
For more information on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes and the changes resulting from this year’s review, see the website source.
Danish Company In Chinese Bio Fuel from Plant Waste Venture
In a laboratory in northern China, technicians are breeding billions of micro-organisms in test tubes to create enzymes — proteins that can turn plant waste into clean-burning biofuels. The facility near the port city of Tianjin belongs to Novozymes, a Danish biotechnology company and one of a growing number of foreign firms in China benefiting from Beijing’s massive investment in green energy. Beijing has pledged to spend US$738 billion developing clean energy as it seeks to meet a target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Allison Jackson in Sydney Morning Herald (20 September 2010):
In a laboratory in northern China, technicians are breeding billions of micro-organisms in test tubes to create enzymes — proteins that can turn plant waste into clean-burning biofuels.
The facility near the port city of Tianjin belongs to Novozymes, a Danish biotechnology company and one of a growing number of foreign firms in China benefiting from Beijing’s massive investment in green energy.
“The situation has never been better,” Michael Christiansen, president of Novozymes China, told AFP in an interview.
Beijing has pledged to spend 738 billion US dollars developing clean energy over the next decade as it seeks to meet a target of generating 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources — mainly wind and water — by 2020.
China’s vast market, deep pockets and favourable policies for clean technology — a key theme of last week’s World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos” in Tianjin — are attracting a growing number of foreign companies which face a severe funding shortage in their home markets due to the global crisis.
“I think China is seen as a very good market to commercialise technology at scale and there is a great market to try to generate long-term competitive advantage around clean technology,” Ernst & Young analyst Ben Warren told AFP.
China leapfrogged the United States to become the most attractive market for renewable investment this year, the global accounting firm said in a report published this month.
It was also the most attractive market for investment in wind power after Beijing announced plans to launch 90,000 mega-watts of wind capacity by 2015, the report said.
Beijing’s pledge last year ahead of global climate talks in Copenhagen to reduce carbon intensity — the measure of greenhouse gas emitted per unit of economic activity — by 40-45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels has been a beacon to foreign companies, analysts said.
“Things are tough for companies here (in the West) — we have a shortage of debt financing,” said Nicholas Parker, executive chairman of US-based clean technology research firm Cleantech Group.
“The money for deployment, for building wind farms or for building a factory where you tend to use debt financing, has dried up due to the crisis on Wall Street. That shortage doesn’t exist in China.”
Local government officials — threatened with the loss of their promotion if they fail to meet energy reduction targets — are falling over themselves to attract foreign investment in clean technology, offering firms free land and money for research and development.
State-owned banks also offer loans to green technology firms at much lower interest rates than those available in the United States, according to a report by US think tanks Breakthrough Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
“China currently has what seems like the most aggressive incentives for production of renewable energy and the closest thing to a coherent policy,” said Michal Meidan, an analyst at political risk research firm Eurasia Group.
Demand for financing in the clean energy technology industry could reach two trillion yuan (297 billion US dollars) in the next decade, the China Daily reported this month, citing a government official.
To meet these growing needs for money, China could create a market for yuan-denominated “green bonds” to support the environmentally friendly sector, said Gao Cailin, a finance official in the northeastern province of Jilin.
China — whose pollution woes have been worsened by decades of rampant economic growth — is pushing harder than Western governments to develop clean energy technology because it is “mission critical”, said Parker.
“This is essential in China whereas Western countries think maybe today, maybe tomorrow,” he said.
Despite its eagerness for foreign investment, Beijing has sought to protect certain domestic industries such as wind power from overseas competition.
“They only let companies in when they think they can benefit from it,” said Thomas Maslin, an analyst at IHS Emerging Energy Research.
Foreign companies also face significant challenges in China such as the lax protection of intellectual property and policies favouring Chinese companies.
Novozymes has been in China for 15 years and now counts the market as its second biggest after the United States, underlining the potential for growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
“China has the interest and the policies and the funding to drive green technology,” said Christiansen.
“This is not the flavour of the day — it will last for many, many years. We are just seeing the start of it.
Sustainability on Show: Green Zone Drive & Pixel Building
Melbourne’s Green Zone Drive public event, from 1-8 October, offers a unique experience for Melburnians, allowing them to physically test and touch the cars and drive the Melbourne Green Zone circuit. Also in Melbourne, concrete is one of the ”bad guys” when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, so when Grocon set out to build its Pixel building in Melbourne as a sustainability landmark, the company had to find a solution.
Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle Launches World-First Low Emissions Vehicle Event
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle earlier this month launched the Melbourne Green Zone, a world first, low emission car event that will offer the public a chance to test-drive the cars that are the future of sustainable and clean motoring.
The Melbourne Green Zone Drive public event, which runs from 1st to 8th October, offers a unique experience for Melburnians, allowing them to physically test and touch the cars and drive the Melbourne Green Zone circuit. The event is supported by the RACV, Victorian Department of Transport, Future Climate Australia, and EPA Victoria.
The Melbourne Green Zone Drive website (www.greenzonedrive.com.au) was launched at Green Zone HQ in the Docklands and Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle said he was excited that Melbourne is again leading the way.
“I’m delighted to be a part of this initiative, and am proud that Melbourne is the first city in the world to hold an event such as this,” Cr Doyle said.
Cr Doyle also said that Melburnians lead the way when it comes to issues concerning the environment and that Green Zone is a perfect opportunity to experience the future of clean motoring.
“Melburnians are at the forefront of taking action against climate change and the Green Zone drive is something that will be embraced by all people in the community,” Cr Doyle said.
Christopher Zinn of Consumer Group Choice, who was also present at the launch hailed the Green Zone as the best new initiative in green motoring.
“Allowing the consumer to physically see and test the cars is a world leading idea and I applaud the Melbourne Green Zone for offering Victorians the chance to make sustainable choices,” Zinn said.
A wide variety of Australia’s lowest emitting vehicles will be available for the general public to sample; from the diesel-powered Volvo C30 DRIVe, to the Toyota Hybrid Camry, and the petrol powered Hyundai i20, including the zero-emission Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. Vehicles from Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, and MINI will also be available to test drive.
The public event will run from 1st October to 8th October – anyone interested in booking a test drive, log on to the website.
Philip Hopkins in The Age Business Day (20 September 2010):
Concrete is one of the ”bad guys” when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, so when Grocon set out to build its Pixel building in Melbourne as a sustainability landmark, the company had to find a solution.
Concrete is a mix of cement and aggregate – coarse rocks, pebbles and fine sand – and production of a tonne of cement creates about a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. It’s probably the most energy intensive industrial manufacturing process in the world.
This is mainly due to cement’s ingredients – shale and clay, limestone and chalk – being burnt in a kiln to form clinker, which is then ground down into Portland cement. The chemical reaction arising from this heating process and the energy used to drive the kiln creates the carbon dioxide.
Howard Titus, technical manager of Grocon Constructors, knew he faced a big challenge when asked to work on Pixel. As the company’s concrete expert, he has been involved in many of Grocon’s big city projects of the past 20 years – 120 and 101 Collins Street, Eureka Tower, Park Hyatt, Crown Casino, AXA, Media House and the MCG, to mention a few.
Mr Titus identified the reclamation and re-use of concrete waste as a key way to cut emissions. Working with Boral Concrete, the Grocon team after 12 months of intense trials came up with ”Pixelcrete”, which uses 60 per cent less cement and 100 per cent recycled and reclaimed aggregate. Up to 92 per cent of the weight of a cubic metre of the concrete is industrial waste, recycled or reclaimed material.
”The emphasis was on recycling, but we also made concrete innovative. For the first time, we used plasticised concrete for suspended post-tension slabs,” Mr Titus told BusinessDay.
The process required strict quality control due to the high variability in the quality of recycled aggregate; the low cement content meant there was a high margin for failure in concrete strength; and care was taken on the ratio of water to cement. ”Too much water can be poison for concrete,” he said.
The concrete was pumped but took longer to settle. The result was a workability identical to standard concrete that satisfied official Australian standards, he said.
The mix achieved the three points required under the Green Building Council of Australia’s concrete credit scheme.
Pixelcrete was used for piles, groundworks and slabs, post-tensioned suspended slabs and columns in the $4 million Pixel building on the old CUB site at the northern edge of the CBD.
It achieved a six-green-star office design rating – the GBCA’s highest award rating – and aims to achieve similar ”green” ratings from the British and American schemes.
Pixel’s other sustainability measures include extensive use of rainwater, a green roof with wetland edges, double-glazed windows with external shade panels that block solar heat and glare, an under-floor air distribution system, wind turbines, and solar panels that track the optimal sun point in the sky.
There was a full report and interview on By Design on Radio National ABC last Saturday:
The Pixel building, as it is known, is the new Melbourne city headquarters for the developers Grocon – known for many of Australia’s major buildings. Eureka building on Melbourne’s Southbank is one of their most prominent. This is considered one of the tallest buildings in Australia. The Pixel building, though, is small, and an experiment in all things green. The building’s architects Studio 505 are one of Australia’s most innovative and thoughtful firms, with the co-founder Dylan Brady coming out of LAB Architecture, the firm that designed Melbourne’s Federation Square. For the full report go to the source.