Posted 23 January 2017 - 12:00am
Emeritus Professor Denny McGeorge is Education Leader at the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), where he is responsible for educational development and building capacity. Professor McGeorge has had a long-term engagement in research in building performance, particularly in the field of embodied energy. General Manager of Engineers Australia Sydney Greg Ewing recently met with CRCLCL CEO Scientia Professor Deo Prasad to discuss environmental sustainability and collaborating their efforts. It was immediately clear that there are synergies between the two organisations given that the CRCLCL is the largest national research organisation for sustainability in the built environment and Engineers Australia is the largest professional association for engineers. As the CRCLCL is now into the fourth year of its seven-year lifecycle, it is of vital importance that its research findings are disseminated to the professions and industry at large. With its broad membership base, Engineers Australia is well placed to assist in providing a conduit for research on sustainability and carbon emissions to the professions and to industry. The goal of the CRCLCL is to have cumulatively reduced carbon emissions from the built environment in 2020 by 10 mega tonnes (which is the equivalent of taking 2.1 million cars off the road). This ambitious target will only be achieved by a collaborative effort with the professions, industry, and local, state and Federal governments. To this end, Greg and Deo explored how to develop a working relationship between their organisations. Greg and Deo agreed that a good starting-off point would be the presentation of joint seminars centred on a selection of CRCLCL projects. The CRCLCL has commissioned some 90 projects, which cover a wide spectrum of research. These projects are loosely grouped into three programs, including integrated building systems, low carbon precincts, and engaged communities. Typical projects within these programs are the mainstreaming of low carbon products such as geopolymer concrete, extensive research on urban microclimate and urban transport, and close community involvement through the CRCLCL’s extensive network of living laboratories. This research portfolio includes topics of considerable interest to a wide range of engineering professionals engaged as leaders in shaping a sustainable future for Australia's communities and economy. There is substantial evidence to show that Australia is very good at research, but is not very good at achieving collaboration between researchers, industry and commerce. Australia ranks 29th out of 30 OECD countries on the proportion of large businesses and small to medium enterprises collaborating with higher education and public research institutions on innovation. The uptake of applied research is essential if Australia is to remain internationally competitive in the energy and sustainability sphere. Professional institutions such as Engineers Australia have a pivotal role in bridging the divide between academia and industry. An important remit of the CRCLCL is to ensure that provisions are made to leave a legacy of research utilisation at the end of its lifecycle. Engineers Australia is particularly well placed to ensure that the momentum established by the CRCLCL continues into the future.
Cross-posted from Engineers Australia.