Greening Australia's Commercial Office Buildings
When it comes to innovative sustainability tactics, the Australian Government and business sector are on a trailblazing path to drive energy efficiencies and tackle climate change across the nation.
AusIndustry, the Government’s principal business program, established Clean Business Australia as a partnership with business and industry to support a range of activities aimed at improving energy and water efficiency and increasing sustainability.
Among the various elements of Clean Business Australia is the Green Building Fund, which aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions impact of the built environment by improving the energy efficiency of existing commercial office buildings.
The initiative has been welcomed with open arms by the business community, with major grants having been awarded to key stakeholders in the building and construction sectors.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Executive General Manager of AusIndustry Bill Peel explains, “To date, five rounds of funding have been concluded, resulting in 195 grants to building owners and five grants for broader capability development projects. The total value of grant offers is $71.6 million, exclusive of GST. In total, the projects supported by these grants have been projected to save more than 158,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.” Peel credits these carbon dioxide savings as the greatest achievement of the Green Building Fund to date.
Grants between $50,000 and $500,000 are available to owners of existing commercial office buildings, for up to 50 percent of a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by improving base building energy efficiency. Eligible applications are assessed on three merit criteria, including the potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes up 60 percent of total merit rating; the demonstration potential of the project at 20 percent of total merit rating; and, project design and management at an additional 20 percent of total merit rating.
Peel explains that typically building projects have been directed towards upgrades to building heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, common area lighting, and building management systems that better monitor and manage energy use. Projects have also variously included external shading and glazing, co-generation systems and application of renewable energy technologies.
GRATEFUL GRANTEES SHARE THEIR APPRECIATION
A number of major Australian property groups have taken advantage of this pioneering program, including Investa Property Group, Westpac and Stockland.
Investa General Manager for Sustainability, Safety and Environment Craig Roussac says that the real estate company was granted eleven contracts to deliver nearly 70 energy efficiency solutions within its commercial office buildings, including properties at 55 Market Street in Sydney and 363 Adelaide Street in Brisbane.
Roussac says, “With the Green Building Fund, Investa tackled smaller projects we couldn’t previously justify because of high costs. For example, we’ve replaced and upgraded variable speed drives on pumps. Investa also replaced chillers in air conditioning systems—one of the biggest energy users in buildings. Normally it’s hard to justify replacing them for energy because they’re very expensive, but with support from the Green Building Fund, we were prompted to bring those projects forward five years ahead of schedule.”
Westpac Diversified Property Fund also implemented a full range of energy saving solutions across two buildings in New South Wales. The upgrades included new energy efficient soft-start chillers, motion detectors for common area lighting, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide sensors in the carparks to run exhaust fans and voltage controllers for carpark lighting systems.
Steve Bulloch, Head of Property, Hastings Funds Management, part of the Westpac Group says, “Greening the commercial office portfolio has always been a priority for Westpac Diversified Property Fund, however the Green Building Fund has really helped us accelerate our activities in these two buildings.”
Like Roussac, Bulloch says what would have taken many years to achieve was accomplished in a very short timeframe thanks to the Green Building Fund. “The Green Building Fund opportunity helped focus attention on the task at hand and to evaluate a range of projects that may not have been considered otherwise,” she explains.
Stockland National Sustainability Manager, Commercial Property, Amanda Steele says the Green Building Fund helped Stockland meet public targets it has set on environmental performance including reducing emissions intensity by 20 percent.
With the funding it was granted, Stockland has upgraded lighting, amended building management systems, and improved air-conditioning systems for its office buildings, most notably Harry Seidler’s heritage-listed landmark Edmund Barton Building in Canberra.
Steele says, “The Green Building Fund allowed us to replace air conditioning and electrical systems and upgrade the existing façade. The main aim of the project was to extend the life of the building and improve its environmental performance by retrofitting with systems that optimise its internal environment and energy efficiency. The environmental benefit of upgrading a heritage building such as this is a terrific achievement.”
A GREENER FUTURE
Going forward, Peel says, “Round 6 is expected to be the final round of new grants and after that we will be working with grantees towards the completion of all grant projects and demonstration of outcomes to other building owners.”
With the success of the Green Building Fund, Australian businesses can look forward to more pioneering programs in the future.
Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?
Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.
Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.
JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.
Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.
Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?
A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.
The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.
According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.
Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.
“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”
How did JungJin get there?
JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.
And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.
With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.
“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”