SEE talks deep with Danpal

In this edition we talk with Andrew Norman from Danpal.

Q1: Who is responsible for the creation of a sustainable building – the building owner or the building industry?

In an ideal world both parties should be working towards this goal. If only one of these sides is mindful of sustainability issues, it becomes much harder to adequately address them.

Q2: Comment on the following: Sustainability is still relatively young in Australia, whereby we don’t know what our individual or collective role is to achieve it.

As with many issues, more progress has been made in Europe than we have managed here so far. In an ideal world, achieving precise definitions on specific tasks required to achieve such a large communal goal won’t not be necessary (if community engagement and commitment to the cause is strong enough).

Q3: Regulation, standardisation of energy efficiency plus innovation of new materials and building systems have been positive drivers changing our old school ways of constructing buildings. Are we ready now to up the ante to provide the best sustainable outcome, inside and out? Who and what will it take?

Sustainable design practices need to be seen as a goal in their own right, as opposed to just a means for obtaining development approval. Regulation in terms of numerical building performance requirements will only ever have limited effectiveness if stakeholders expect sustainability to be a passive (rather an active) process. Resource demands due to building energy consumption can be significant, but poor lifestyle choices by consumers can have even greater consequences. Having said that, the building industry should still strive to achieve impact outside its own sphere but acting in an exemplary way (in the same way Australia could have an impact on the global agenda that is disproportionate to its size if it chose to).

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