Appointed to QYAC Register

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News: Ecomplish has been appointed to the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) consultant register for 2014/15

More:  https://www.facebook.com/QuandamookaYoolooburrabeeAboriginalCorporation

Skoda Octavia Review – Skoda has the smarts

Skoda-Octavia-Elegance2I recently needed to purchase a new car and looked around for the best value wagon/SUV on the market, with 5 star safety and security and of course, excellent fuel efficiency. I researched cars over about two months and at the Skoda Octavia came in at the top of the list, for the size of car I needed. I then got a great deal on one and started driving it in July 2014. Below is a review of the analysis I did and report on its performance to date and my personal comparison, in case it is of interest to others. I am not related to Skoda or the dealer in any way.

I compared several cars including the Hyundai i30 wagon, Mitsubishi PHEV, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda 6 Wagon, Mazda CX5 and Honda equivalent.

What I bought:

Skoda Octavia Elegance 132kW, 5.9 l/100km, Petrol, Auto.

Where from: Rob at Skoda – James Frizelle’s Dealership, QLD, Australia.

I considered buying second hand, but the new cars were a much better deal at the time.

Best features (I think):

  • Huge touch screen – best and biggest in its class I think. Makes things very easy to find and turn on or off e.g. the navigator, sound system etc
  • Efficient TSI engine.
  • Power of the engine. It is very powerful. No one would ever need anything more!
  • Fuel to date: 7.4 litres per hundred km. This is as expected and much lower than my old Subaru wagon at about 10 L/100km. (Most figures in the specifications are lower than the actual performance I’ve noticed over the years and I drive inefficiently sometimes so this figure is good I think).
  • Feel on the road – it is very smooth and quite.
  • Very good handling, considering it doesn’t have AWD.
  • Information and options. There are so many in an elegance model – highly recommend it.
  • The way it hold a gear back, when it is going down a hill. It is a smart car – when going down a hill, if I break a bit and let go, it will hold it in that gear (and not let it go faster) which is great as it means I don’t have to break as much (but all the cars in front of me have to!). This saves on brake pads I believe.

Worst features:

  • TSI engine is a bit choppy in first gear and on hills, but if you can get over this, it is an excellent car. Note: This issue doesn’t appear to occur when I put the car in Sports mode, which I sometimes do, if I am going to be parking on a hill and want to avoid the issue.  I’ve noticed Golfs have this issue too and is an known ‘feature’.
  • I would have loved the adaptive cruise control but that costs more.
  • Nothing more as yet.  Maybe an electric version…?    (see BMW i8..)
  • Skoda sent me a glossy book on the car afterwards (I’m not sure why they send this out after you have purchased one..) and then sent a second one a month later. That was a bit of a waste x 2.  I sent it back…

The Skoda cars basically have a fast Golf (VW) engine, but it is cheaper than a Golf so I was attracted to it from the start. VW make great cars!

I didn’t like the auto stop feature in the Mazda’s much, and this has more room than the CX5, which also doesn’t drive like a ‘car’.  it is higher off the ground though which would make it easier to get in and out of. The outlander hasn’t had good reviews from what I’ve seen.  it is also much bigger which I didn’t need. The Honda got average to good reviews from memory.  My Honda Civic was a great car but I’m very happy to have this skoda at the moment. It meets all my needs.   I give it a 8.5 out of 10. Love it.

Related reviews: http://www.themotorreport.com.au/57762/skoda-octavia-australian-road-test-review-ambition-103tsi-elegance-132tsi-and-diesel-110tdi

North Melbourne Ecovillage Opportunity

Ben is currently assisting with the analysis of several blocks near Carlton in Melbourne to determine the feasibility of an ecovillage-style development. More details will be published once the venture is made public.

Queen St Commercial Office Assessment Underway

In order to achieve a higher NABERS rating and better returns on investment, a Queen Street building owner has engaged Ecomplish to assess their current upgrade plans and prioritise the next steps. Ecomplish is also providing an assessment of the building services and identifying appropriate technologies, to improve the building even further.

Ecomplish wins role for new $85M The Science Place building

Ecomplish has been appointed as theJCU trees2 ‘Sustainability Consultant’ by Hassell for the design of a new $80M building. The James Cook University “Science Place” is being designed in 2013/2014 and will provide teaching and research spaces for students and academics. Adelaide based ESD Consultancy dsquared are partnering with Ecomplish and providing the ESD modelling for the project. The design will include smart traditional and innovative features that will make it is cheaper to operate, easier to maintain and deliver a leading-edge research facility for Australia. View the design team: http://thescienceplace.jcu.edu.au/fast-facts

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The Federal Government has committed to contributing $47M to the development of The Science Place at the Townsville Campus. It will replace two existing buildings at the campus and create an estimated 530 local jobs during the construction phase. Ecomplish are working with internal stakeholders to define the sustainability principles and targets for the project and tracking the initiatives throughout. All relevant rating tools are also being evaluated to determine their appropriateness for the university building.

 

 

Ecovillage wins 33rd Award

Australian Institute of Architects Queensland President Shane Thompson announced last night that the Ecovillage in Currumbin had won the Australian Institute of Architects 2013 QLD President’s Prize. He said, “This is a truly landmark development, achieved with a vision, tenacity and inspiring commitment rarely seen in the development and building industry. Now home to a thriving and highly engaged community of over 200 people and still growing, its success and international reputation is highly deserved. There have been many naysayers from the time of it’s inception and even still today, but you can almost be certain that most of those have never visited, talked to the residents or have been prepared to set side their preconceptions. There is an undeniable spirit, a sense of shared values and community whose actions every day make a positive contribution to to the wider world. At a time where the words sustainability, green development, environmentally and ecologically friendly, placemaking and community are exploited and abused, and sprinkled over what are really tokenistic gestures to business as usual and where so called ratings agencies are too ready to avoid the hard or important issues, the Currumbin Eco Village quietly, but determinedly puts most of them all to shame.  Is it perfect, of course not. Neither does it preach or engage in didactic rhetoric. It is a living, breathing real community, not just another sub-division selling itself as a community. Notwithstanding it’s undeniable credentials and frontiering efforts in demonstrating that there is another way, profitable, architecturally and ecologically sensitive, I believe that perhaps it’s greater achievement and one which is as profound as any, is it’s creation of real community, where safety, security, volunteerism and neighbourliness  have naturally evolved in a way other developers and government can only dream of. Such communities demand less of the public purse, are more self-policing, where vandalism is non-existent, where nature and people co-habitate in an easy open and relaxed lifestyle. There are so many lessons for all of us, that space and time do not permit me to list them.

My recent visit to the Currumbin Eco Village was as uplifting for me as any visit to any great work of architecture, natural wonder or historic place that I have ever made. However in making this award, there is a certain melancholy in knowing that the person whose generous and gracious vision brought about this place cannot be with us tonight. Chris Walton was tragically lost in a freakish accident not long ago. But Chris, I think, knew that what he had started, and the values and spirit so warmly invested in and nurtured by him and his partner Kerry Shepherd, and with the support of his colleague Colin Bear was now standing on its own, with a community that had assumed custodianship which will endure beyond him or any other individual. The Currumbin Eco Village is one of the great achievements of contemporary Queensland. It remains the benchmark achievement in sustainable community development in Australia and the many, many experts and researchers from around the world who continue to visit attest to that, so it’s a privilege for me to make this President’s award to the this community and I trust that it’s example will be seen as part of the new way of thinking that demands more serious attention as we seek to make better communities in the future.”

Shane Thompson Australian Institute of Architects Queensland President, 7 November 2013

To read about the other awards or the Ecovillage go to:  Awards List

Award announcement by Architecture and Design

 

 

Sunshine Coast Sub-Division

bud1We are currently conducting a feasibility analysis, including budget preparation, for the redevelopment of a unique 20,000m2 site on the Sunshine Coast in south east Queensland. The new community will provide sustainable agriculture opportunities and affordable residential housing which is highly sought after in the area. Its climate, lush surrounds and access to quality community facilities will make this project unique, sought after and profitable. It may also use a cohousing style community engagement model to secure pre-sales, whilst providing a new model for local sustainable sub-division development.

Northern NSW Retreat

Ecomplish is assisting a land owner to developmtwarning a new retreat in northern NSW, with sweeping views of Mount Warning and the surrounds.

By using existing dwellings and the natural features of the 100 acre site, it will be possible to develop sensitively whilst maximising the areas environmental assets for the benefit of all visitors.

 

New website for Sustainable Development GC

Sustainable Development Gold Coast Incorporated, a south-east Queensland focused not-for-profit organisation, is dedicated to supporting property industry and smart development. It has recently updated its website and now provides property news services. Further updates will be made later this year. See:  www.sdgci.com.au

Planning a visionary Sustainable Community in Melbourne

Ecomplish is assisting land owners in assessing the demand for, and feasibility of, a new sustainable community in south east Melbourne. We have provided the vision and goals for this unique site, that could pave the way for a new model of housing development in the area. The community could contain a village centre, mixed retail and a diverse range of housing to provide Victoria with an industry leading example of a sustainable development, and it would all be within 40 minutes of the CBD.

Another Green Star Communities project

Another Green Star Communities Pilot project has started in southeast Queensland and Ecomplish is proud to be against assisting with the massive project. The masterplan is one of the largest Green Star projects in Queensland with work starting in 2014/5.  We invite others to contact us to discover why developers, planners and investors are using Ecomplish to improve their sustainable developments and obtain the credentials they deserve for their leadership position in the industry.

A different project called “loop” by Rock Development Group are documenting their sustainable masterplan achievements using Ecomplish and Tract Consultants and aiming for a 6 Star Communities in Canberra using the Green Building Council of Australia rating guidelines.

Green Star Assessor for GBCA

create_GSAP_logo 2014Ben O’Callaghan has been appointed as an Green Star Communities rating tool Assessor by the Green Building Council of Australia.  To find out more about this exciting precinct level new rating tool, contact Ecomplish.

Gold Coast Smart Living Workshops for the Public

Two innovative Smart Living workshops are being run by Ecomplish for Gold Coast Council.  Registrations are now open.

A.  Energy Efficiency Workshop Overview

Demystifying Energy Bills – A DIY Guide to Reducing Energy Use in Your Home.

Save Money and Help the Environment with this informative workshop. Learn to understand what your energy bills are telling you and how to save up to $1,500 a year by reducing your household power consumption. In this workshop participants will learn which appliances are using the most power and do it yourself solutions designed to save you money.

All participants will receive an energy saving power board ($30 value) to assist in reducing power consumption within your home.

B.  Green Cleaning Workshop Overview

Detox Your Home: Living without toxins

Did you know the average Australian spends between $400-$600 every year on toxic cleaning products?

Learn how to save money and clean without toxins. The Detox Your Home workshop will offer do-it-yourself natural cleaning alternatives by teaching participants recipes and simple tricks for chemical free pest control, mould reduction, stain removal and all purpose cleaning. Learn to live without chemicals yet still have a sparkling clean home!

Details are at:    http://www.currumbinrsl.com.au/whats-on/  and look for “Smart Living”

Sanctuary Magazine focuses on Eco Developments

Starting on page 36, the premium design magazine called ‘Sanctuary’ has described some of Australia’s up and coming truely ‘sustainable’ developments.

The magazine is available from newsagents or via http://shop.ata.org.au/product-category/magazines/sanctuary

I can also recommend its sister magazine called ReNew, for all those with a more technical interest:

http://shop.ata.org.au/product-category/magazines/renew

An Award Winning Sustainably Designed House – proving its worth

Yagoi100 is an award winning house that was redeveloped within the multiple award winning Ecovillage at Currumbin estate on the Gold Coast in Australia. The Ecovillage has won over 30 different awards since 2005 including the coveted international ”World’s Best Environmental Development” at the Prix D Excellence Awards in 2008.

Yagoi100 was designed to complement the site and take advantage of the wide views of the Currumbin Valley and natural breezes. It incorporates 100 different features that make it (more) sustainable compared to the standard Australian contemporary home.

The house was completed in 2009 and has now proven its worth, saving the owners thousands of dollars each year, via reduced operational (utility) costs.  In fact it has virtually no electricity or water bills and requires no air conditioning, which has unfortunately become a standard in Queensland, primarily due to poor building design.  The house uses less than 5kWh of energy per day, compared to 23kWh for homes in a neighbouring estate. Case studies like Yagoi100 are critical demonstrations of what is possible and prove that getting the design right up front, can make all the difference to ensuring a house is comfortable, safe and cheap to run over its full lifecycle.

For more about the house visit:  www.yagoi.org

A short film produced by Ecomplish about the design and building of the house is now available on YouTube for free.

LED Lighting Demonstration in Canberra

January 2013:  Ecomplish is arranging an LED Lighting Demostration in Canberra for 15th February 2013. If you or your company would like to attend, please contact us.

Why use a Sustainability Consultant?

 

1.      Knowledge

From one point of view, there should be no ‘need’ for a sustainability consultant, but the truth is most traditional architects, designers and engineers have not been trained in how to achieve holistic, integrated and sustainable solutions. For example, I know several architects who had only two days of ‘sustainability’ training over a five year bachelor course. This means such professionals might be experts in creating amazing visual experiences and great technical solutions but they cannot give sound advice on what will provide the best overall design solution, considering all domains; for example, material impacts, product lifecycles and waste, renewable energy, water capture and use, transport, technology, climate, orientation, thermal mass, governance, operations and marketing.

For instance, what angles should solar energy or hot water systems be set at, to ensure optimal efficiency for a residential dwelling?
The answer is, it depends on a lot of factors, including building type, usage patterns, roof type, climate and the relationship to other mechanical systems, and the answer is typically very different for solar water and solar energy.

2.      Experience

Good sustainability consultants frequently work on leading edge sustainability focused projects, so they can deliver the best advice from all previous experiences to future clients. They can also provide innovative ideas from around the world, which can make projects stand out and achieve new echelons in building or estate development.

3.      Coverage and integration

Traditional development and design methodologies give architects and engineers very specific roles and often they are not used to delivering truly integrated solutions.  A professional sustainability consultant will have experience across at least five disciplines and be able to liaise, negotiate and support all design and development team members.  They can provide advice directly to the client, about design options, risks, future trends and new meaning to Value Engineering, which can struggle to take into account non-tangible benefits.

4.      Return on investment

A sustainability consultant is typically one of the lowest cost items in any development or design team, and yet they can provide many ways to save on development, building and operational costs, whilst maximising the benefits for the end user. They can also evaluate outcomes, report on the experiences and ensure developments continually improve over time, rather than repeating the same model that will eventually be superseded by competitors.

For more information you can refer to:

http://www.wme.com.au/magazine/downloads/WME_1208_ConsultantsFeature_LR.pdf

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/03/09/skills-sustainability-consultants-need-succeed

Ecomplish can assist you to provide that missing link, quality advice and rating submisisons if required. Why not contact us today with your project, for some free initial advice.

 

Innovative BioEnergy Project

2009: Quantum Bioenergy are developing two renewable energy projects in Queensland and Victoria.

These will generate electricity from waste gases, reducing the amount of power required on site. Methane is up to 20 times more damaging to the atmosphere compared to Carbon Dioxide so such projects are vitial to reduce our impacts on the environments.

Constructing a Sustainable House – Video

A video of the construction of an award winning sustainable house in Australia has been created as an educational tool. View the full 18 minute video here for free: http://youtu.be/8iCkVoHOZZM     For more visit the website about the sustainable house.

Constructing a Sustainable Home

30 Storey Building Constructed in 15 Days

In a sign of things to come, some companies such Broad Group in China have developed systems to construct modular buildings in record time. Whilst pre-manufactured systems can save on material waste , the types of materials used and the initial design is still vital to achieve higher levels of sustainable development outcomes. See this video of the latest example, of what is possible, under certain conditions:  http://youtu.be/rwvmru5JmXk