Ironbark Sustainability is a team of 34 consultants located nationwide with all the skills and expertise local governments would ever need to address their climate change and sustainability responsibilities.
For managing director and founder Paul Brown, councils have many levers to pull when it comes to emissions abatement, with some less obvious than others.
While many councils have wrapped their heads around changing street lighting to LEDs and putting renewables on council facilities, Paul says there are other carbon-cutting mechanisms for local governments to consider such as using planning laws to stipulate new buildings, install EV charging points or helping major industries or local agricultural businesses control their emissions.
Helping councils plan for better future are where his team of local government climate, sustainability, data project management, smart lighting and smart cities experts really shine.
The high capital costs of onsite solar and other environmental upgrades often stop these projects in their tracks but Sustainable Australia Fund (SAF) is all about fast-tracking savings for businesses.
The fund offers fixed-rate, long-term loans for environmental upgrades, covering up to 100 per cent of the capital costs, paid back through council rates. With this clever loan structure, the chief beneficiary of the upgrades, the tenant, makes the repayments through council rates as part of normal outgoings, meaning commercial building owners don’t end up footing the bill for upgrades that benefit the tenant.
There is a selection of loans on offer for a range of businesses large and small – everything from commercial buildings to water treatment plants.
It was great to get a fabulous interview with Edith Paarhammer from Paarhammer Windows and Doors on The Fifth Estate too. Check out the article here.
Innovation is still happening
Although the coronavirus is dominating the news cycle, be heartened to learn that there’s still plenty of innovation happening in the sustainability space.
Not long ago, The Fifth Estate covered a break-through in solar-generating glass that could see this product used in windows everywhere, and in a remote community in the Northern Territory called Yuelamu, a trial is underway to test hydropanels that make water “out of thin air”. Global research led by Monash University has tested the viability of “archimats” – an emerging class of materials that have interwoven or interlocking inner architecture that can be engineered for superior qualities such as strength, thermal insulation, flexibility and more. It appears the sky is the limit for these materials, which draw some inspiration from the natural world.
The researchers claim that they could be easily assembled and disassembled, as well as the nearly full recyclable (depending on how and what they are made of).“Archimats therefore offer smarter, safer and more sustainable materials for use in manufacturing and industrial design, with the building industry being arguably the greatest potential beneficiary of this design concept,” said project lead Professor Yuri Estrin from Monash University.
Like us, you may have been dismayed to see what appears to be backward steps on climate and sustainability issues, such as the resurgence of single use plastics. But thanks to some clever thinking, reusable cups and containers could be back on the menu.
Responsible Cafes has been busting myths about reusable cup use during COVID-19 and encouraging contactless coffee making techniques where the barista doesn’t touch the cup at all. Other businesses are trying swap cup methods where customers are served in a reusable cup to be returned and thoroughly sanitised. Time to get creative if you’re one of our Greenlisters offering reusable products!