Speaking of sustainability: Cleantech, green roofs and local food

Could Geelong become Australia’s ‘cleantech capital’? Or the ‘green roof capital’?

Already there are a couple of initiatives happening in the city in regard to cleantech technologies and green roofs, and the potential is there, we learned from the speakers at the Geelong Sustainability Drinks on 23 October 2013. The participants also learned about a new website which is launched to enrich the information that is available about local food producers.

“We are hoping to have a precinct where we can attract cleantech industries to Geelong before all these big industries on their way out – Alcoa, Shell, and Ford – close down. We have a lot of prime industrial land where we can attract companies to Geelong and set up their cleantech industries. Future Proofing Geelong and Geelong Innovations Group are working on this, and I think we have quite some momentum. It looks good,” said Mike Lawrence from Greenline Engineering.

According to Mike Lawrence, it has been gratifying to see how Beyond Zero Emissions’ Stationary Energy Report, which was launched three years ago, has caused a shift in thinking in the energy sector. The findings of the report have since been verified by the Australian Energy Market Operators, which is the organisation that oversees all power generation and distribution in Australia, and it is significant that they have acknowledged that the shift to 100 percent renewables will cost no more than ‘business as usual’ over the next 30 years.

“So the only thing that is really lacking these days is political will,” Mike Lawrence underlined.


This audio recording is an excerpt of the presentation by Mike Lawrence from Greenline Engineering, where he gave a run down on Beyond Zero EmissionsZero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan which shows how Australian households could cut their energy bills in half.

Beyond Zero Emissions’ Stationary Energy Plan from 2010 set out a grand vision for a 100 percent renewable electricity grid in Australia.

The new Buildings Plan is more about what individuals can do domestically. The plan assumes that not everybody is going to change their behaviour, but that everybody can dramatically cut emissions by using clever building design and appliances. The plan suggests that we transition away from using gas for heating and cooking, and move to electricity which can be powered from renewable sources.

BZEbuildingplan-execCOVER20» Open or download the Buildings Plan Executive Summary (391 KB, 3 pages)

» Open or download the full Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan (28 MB, 194 pages)

» Beyond Zero Radio talked with the project’s research coordinator, Phuong Le, on 28 July 2012:

» Read more on bze.org.au

“The only thing between us and a future of 100 percent renewables is political will.”
Mike Lawrence

ABC – 8 August 2013:
A building plan that does more with less
A host of energy efficiency measures and household solar could see Aussie homes cut their energy bills in half. By Robin Mellon

Green roofs in Geelong


Louise Aughterson who is part of the Leaders for Geelong project, presents Green Roofs Geelong.

A green roof is an installation of living plants in a medium, growing on a roof. The project is also looking at green walls – vertical installations. Green roofs can help reduce building heating and cooling costs, and provide extra open space.

At present there are only a few examples of green roofs in Geelong, but eventually Geelong could be the ‘Green Roof Capital of Australia’.

On 21 November 2013, Leaders for Geelong will organise a community workshop where you can provide further input and ideas for Geelong:

» Geelong’s first seminar for green building infrastructure


Local food in Geelong


Goshen Watts from Transition South Barwon introduces their online project, developing the Local Harvest website to enrich the information that is available about local food producers. The project is supported by Future Proofing Geelong.

About the Green Drinks in Geelong

October month’s Geelong Sustainability Drinks event, where the above presentations took place, was held at Beav’s Bar on 23 October 2013. You can read more about the event on geelongsustainability.org.au.

The organisers, Geelong Sustainability Group, will be having its Annual General Meeting on 12 November 2013. Geelong Sustainability Group really has achieved a great deal this year, and they’d like to keep inducting new committee members to ensure that the load is shared and the good work carried on. Contact Geelong Sustainability Group if you are interested.

The next Green Drinks is on 27 November 2013, the grand finale of the year, and is expected to take a different tone — including re-gifting and surprises.

Photos and audio recordings by Mik Aidt.