Adrian Pozzo on giving customers what they want: healthy living

29 Sep 2022

Our Board is made up of individuals widely recognised and highly respected within Australia's property, construction, and sustainability industries. This week – as part of a regular refresh of the Board - we welcomed Adrian Pozzo, CEO of Cbus Property to the role of Chair. Here Adrian reflects on his 35 years in industry, his highlights from the past 20 years, and his thoughts on where the industry is heading next, including Cbus Property’s all-electric dream for apartments.

Adrian Pozzo is no stranger to Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Board. He joined in 2018 and has been Deputy Chair for the past two years. As CEO of Cbus Property, Adrian oversees a portfolio of major investments and developments across the commercial, retail, and residential sectors. The portfolio currently exceeds $6.0 billion, with a further $5.0 billion of development work ‘in hand’.

Adrian joined Cbus Property in 2002, the same year Green Building Council of Australia began operating. As many industry stalwarts know, this was a time when sustainability was rarely on the table when designing and constructing new buildings.

“I remember our first Cbus Property building, 8 Exhibition Street in Melbourne also known as Herald Living and the Ernst & Young building, which was being designed in the early 2000s, prior to rating tools were available. On completion, following the establishment of rating tools, we managed to score an ABGR rating of 4.5 stars, which was a huge deal back then.

“Originally, we would sit there and compare the cost of certifying a project at 4 stars or 5 stars. It was a time when few companies considered that certifications would boost the resilience of buildings and create ‘life-cycle’ cost savings (to buildings),” shared Adrian.

Adrian says that industry has evolved incredibly quickly, even possibly at times ‘too quickly’. He explains that Cbus Property’s ongoing research highlights investors and tenants today are expecting Green Star certification as they search for places ready to decarbonise, respond to the impact of climate change, and that consider employee well-being.

“As a subsidiary of a $75 billion superfund, we are constantly looking at what members, our stakeholders want. The funds members usually join in their early 20s and are with us until they retire - all looking for superior risk-adjusted returns from the property sector and in regards our commercial office portfolio, an annuity type return (a long-term rental income stream). This means we must develop office buildings that are resilient, Green Star is not an option, it is a ‘given’, in a changing climate,” said Adrian.

Significantly, it is not just members of the fund and office tenants asking for responsible investing, homeowners are knocking on Cbus Property’s door for green apartments too, and Cbus Property is responding with projects such as 443 Queen St, Brisbane. The project has been awarded Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star - Design & As Built v1.2 Design Review certified rating for a residential tower representing world leadership in building design.

From the project’s inception, Cbus Property’s unwavering goal has been to create a healthy indoor environment and lower running costs for the homeowners. The central objectives of rejecting the commonplace ‘sealed’ tower and concentrating on energy elimination and minimisation have been key to achieving this goal.

This focus will result in a building that ‘breathes’, affording an open and permeable building envelope, enabling wide-ranging access to views, natural light and air, integration of extensive landscaping throughout, and a generous civic gesture that encourages human interaction and facilitates social gatherings.

At TRANSFORM this year, Adrian flagged that an ‘intergenerational shift is underway’, with customers (purchasers) wanting residences that are healthier for them and their families, so for Cbus Property this means electrification of new apartment buildings moving forward.

“Our customer is telling us they don’t want gas as it may impact their health - examples being an increase in asthma conditions and other potential respiratory illnesses. So, we are designing future apartment buildings to be all-electric and fossil-fuel free to meet the health expectations of our customers, the residents.”

The transition to deliver healthy, resilient and positive places for people to live and work has grown rapidly in Australia and Adrian says this is one of GBCA’s biggest achievements in its 20 years and one he looks forward in continuing to progress and support as Chair.
“One of the many GBCA’s greatest accomplishments is that it all gets done with such a small team of professionals. You are dealing with a demanding cohort of members wanting rapid change within the built environment and the GBCA is at forefront of that change, supporting industry along the way,” said Adrian.
“In 2002 when established, who would have thought that a small organisation called Green Building Council of Australia would become the nation’s authority on sustainable buildings, communities and cities within 20 years. An incredible achievement, an achievement worth celebrating with its continually growing member base.”

About Adrian Pozzo

Adrian Pozzo is the Chief Executive Officer of Cbus Property Pty Ltd, having been appointed to this role in 2007.  Adrian has over 35 years’ experience as an executive in the property and construction industries, working in both private and public companies, including 20 years in direct property.

Adrian has responsibility for the strategic performance & management of all aspects of the Cbus direct property investment business which includes major investments and developments in the commercial, retail and residential sectors.

Adrian is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is the Chair of the Green Building Council of Australia, a member of the Property Council’s Champions of Change coalition and a Divisional Council Member of the Property Council of Australia (Victorian Division).