Building for the future

“If you want to play in the future, build it.”

This was the sentiment that shaped the conversation at our recent Ministerial Breakfast with The Hon. Don Harwin, Minister for Energy and Utilities.

Kicking off with an inspiring keynote from Minister Harwin, we gleaned insights into how the New South Wales government plans to make renewable energy a policy priority.

“One in three households are locked out of access to solar energy,” Minister Harwin said.

“This is a real priority for me; to look at how government can build initiatives around renewables, like the University of Technology Sydney’s Solar Gardens Project.”

The project is calling for central solar farms to be installed near population centres, whereby customers can purchase panels in the solar farm. Once electricity is generated, it would then be added as a credit to a consumer’s energy bill.

It’s these small wins, for the consumer and the environment, that can be driven by technological developments, if we choose to run with them.

For Open Cities CEO Lisa McClean, a clear pathway for our industry lies in exploring how we can provide prosumers with greater power to make informed choices around energy.

Catherine Caruana-McManus, Director Meshed IoT Integrators, believes it’s a case of adapting or getting left behind as disruption hits the property sector.

“We’ve seen how convergence has revolutionised other industries like the media. We can look at how it can transform the property industry to create smart cities,” she said.

Of course, the challenges lie in finding solutions to the current problems faced in our cities, which are diverse and varied.

No one knows this better than the City of Parramatta’s Geoff King, who has been instrumental in transforming one of Western Sydney’s core hubs.

Now coined Sydney’s second CBD, Parramatta has undergone major development, and was the first local council to seek a Green Star – Communities rating.

Alongside new and improved transport infrastructure, residential projects and community engagement initiatives, Geoff discussed the role of emerging technologies in overcoming roadblocks that inevitably crop up in creating a smart city.

“The local council is in the midst of solving development issues in the area,” he explained.

The City of Parramatta is currently reviewing a range of sensor options across the city to collect data that will inform the team on how they should approach problem-solving around congestion, health, heat, transport, safety, activation and community cohesion.

Integral Group Managing Director, Andrew Mather, gave an inspiring insight into how we can stand together to accelerate advancement, despite the unique sets of problems we face across the sector.

Backed by support from Minister Harwin and our panellists, it was a timely opportunity for the GBCA to launch our Carbon Positive Roadmap to industry.

This pathway to a carbon positive built environment will require many of the technologies and innovations explored by our experts at the breakfast. And so we encourage you to take some time to read the discussion paper and add your thoughts on how we can best deliver on our goal to net zero by 2030.  

A special thanks to Integral Group Australia for sponsoring our Ministerial Breakfast.