Homes from Waste Symposium

Friday, 3 December, 2021 | Wollongong, NSW, Australia

The Homes from Waste symposium will bring together experts involved in addressing circular economy issues specifically in the construction and building industry.

All aspects of the supply chain will be considered – from the waste collectors and recyclers, through to material manufacturers and the end users – builders and developers, because this is not a problem that can be fixed by a single point solution. 

The construction industry is starting to make moves towards implementing a circular economy in housing, with an increasing focus on embodied carbon in buildings and a greater appreciation on the waste generated in construction and demolition activities. Less focus has been placed on how innovations in this area can be harnessed to not just reduce waste generated through construction but also find ways to reuse waste within the homes constructed.

The Sustainable Homes Challenge involves students from across Australia working in multi-disciplinary teams to design a sustainable, affordable and liveable home from waste-derived building products. 


Michele Adair

CEO of Housing Trust 

Ken McBryde

Design Director, Gensler


Monica Richter

Project Director, MECLA


Professor Usha Iyer-Raniga

School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT

Jonas Bengtsson

CEO Edge Environment

David Haller

National Operations Manager, Mirvac

Suzanne Toumbourou

CEO Australian Council of recycling

Suzanne Toumbourou is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR).

Suzanne is an organisation leader with deep experience in public affairs, executive management, stakeholder relations, governance strategy of not-for-profits, with a strong reputation as a sustainability and circular economy subject matter expert.

Prior to ACOR, Suzanne was the longstanding Executive Director of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, where she delivered impactful policy outcomes for building sustainability, including advancing the energy performance provisions in Australia’s Building Code and informing the priorities of the COAG Energy Council’s Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings. ​

Suzanne has broad experience encompassing Federal and State Governments, industry and non-profit organisations. She is passionate about leading positive change for people, industry and the environment.

Nik Comito

Sustainability Manager, Bingo

Dr Emma Heffernan

Architectural Engineering Program Director, University of Wollongong

Dr Emma Heffernan is a Senior Lecturer in Architectural Engineering in the School of Civil Mining and Environmental Engineering. Emma is a UK registered Architect with over a decade of experience of working in architectural practice in the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Architectural Design and Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from the University of Brighton, Masters in Urban Design from the University of the West of England, and PhD in Architecture, Design and Environment from Plymouth University. Emma’s PhD research investigated the delivery of zero carbon homes in the UK context and explored the potential for alternative forms of housing delivery to promote sustainable communities. Her research interests include energy efficient design in residential buildings, sustainable communities, sustainable construction, building energy modelling and climate change adaptation. 


The Homes from Waste Symposium is has been funded by the McKinnon-Walker Trust and is gratefully supported by the following sponsors.

Session 1: Circular economy in construction

Tim [00:00:00] As as we sit here on different countries across Australia and in some cases across the world, I'd like to acknowledge the country that I'm sitting on, which is the country of the Yuin people. And in particular, this week I'd like to acknowledge the life of Australia's greatest actor, David Dalaithngu, who his family have now given permission to be known as Gulpilil. And this was the man who introduced me to Aboriginal ways and Aboriginal acknowledges, and I remember the first time I saw the film Walkabout right through to the film Charlie's Country, and it makes me realise that we as visitors to this country, we are the guests of the indigenous people who have been here for many tens of thousands of years. And as such, I would like to acknowledge the custodianship of the Aboriginal peoples to this place and the places others are sitting on this basis kept alive the relationships between all living things. The university acknowledges the devastating impact that colonisation on our campus footprint, and we commit ourselves to truth telling healing and education. This particular event was conceived as the ultimate culmination of a week of activities for a student design project called the Sustainable Homes Challenge. This morning we're very excited to hear about the wonderful activities that industry are already championing. And we've got a very strong line up of speakers, who are innovating and leading in the field in this space. This morning, we're going to have these activities from industry and in the afternoon we're going to have the highlight really of the whole of the sustainable homes challenge. Our students are going to pitch their final designs incorporating waste into residential construction. Can we move on to the next slide, please? Yes, thank you. Without sponsorship, this would not have happened, and the particular sponsorship I wish to acknowledge is the McKinnon Walker Trust. Ken McKinnon was a previous vice chancellor of the University of Wollongong, and his vision to set up this trust, which enables members of the university community to try out some crazy and wacky ideas. And this was the one that we chose, and Leela has been championing it really for the last two years. But on top of that, we've got fantastic support from the Housing Trust with our gold sponsor for prizes Engineers Australia, BlueScope and this mornings symposium is supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist of New South Wales and the Chief Engineer. So this is the rundown for today. From now until 11:00, we've got session one, which is on circular economy and construction we’ll have a little bit of a break and this will give you an opportunity to post questions to our poster presenters. Parallel to this, we have a poster session going on, so I recommend that you get yourself a coffee at 11 o'clock and visit the poster session and ask the attendees their questions about their work. From 11:30 to 1:00 we'll carry on with the session two of the symposium reducing construction waste and this afternoon is, I said, the highlight of it our students who have been working on their design projects all year will present the final outcomes and this will be judged and we'll have our prize giving ceremony at the end. Next slide, please. So we have a fantastic line up of speakers in here, and I'll introduce them just before they speak, but we've got Monica Richter, who is the project director of MECLA the Materials and Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance. Ken McBride, an architecture designer and professor Usha, Iyer-Raniga from RMIT Jonas Bengtsson from Edge Environment. And you'll see Valentina Petrone, Circular Economy and the Waste Management and Resource Recovery WSP, one of our largest consultancy companies. The order of events in this online world, people are demanded by others across the globe. So we've had to reschedule things a little bit and our first speaker today is going to be Ken McBride. Now, Ken is a designer. He's the director of Gensler, which is based in the Sydney studio. It's a thought leader in construction and mixed use industry. Ken is regularly called upon to speak at conferences, join design award juries and contribute to research projects. His extensive local and international experience, designed for highly innovative public cultural space, hospitality, retail, commercial, residential and infrastructure. This guy does everything. In 2013, Ken founded one of my favourite organisations the Architectural Physics Pty Ltd, Architectural Physics is a really interesting organisation. He's also an executive producer and presenter on the new TV series The Pacemakers. So watch out for that. This explores some of the most influential pacemakers and innovative spaces. Ken has a natural affinity with construction methodology and materials, which underpins his unique approach. He has recently completed a highly successful collaborative research project with Melbourne and Swinburne University's CSIRO and the FWPA. A highlighted outcome is improved edition and gluing, and glues are material that can cause problems in construction, both from their toxicity and their longevity. And so he has produced glues and coatings applied to Australian hardwoods. Ken was appointed adjunct professor of architecture at the University of Sydney in 2016. He's a conjoint professor of practise at the University of Newcastle and at the state appointed architectural expert on the Sydney and regional planning panels. So welcome, Ken, and I'll hand over the control of the slides you. Ken [00:06:55] Well. Well. Thank you very much, Professor Tim, can everyone hear me okay? Tim [00:07:09] Yes, that's loud and clear. Ken [00:07:10] And is the screen working now? Perfect. Thank you. And I'm delighted to be part of this symposium, and I'm particularly excited to join the discussion around making homes from waste. Do we have the chat working, Leela? Leela [00:07:32] We have a Q&A working so people can place their questions within the Q&A. Ken [00:07:34] That's if anyone wants, and I'll see if I can manage that as well. Plastic is an amazing material we've been producing more and more of it for over 50 years now and probably around 270 million tonnes a year. And here's some other extraordinary things, you know, if you try to get your head around what that is, the massive plastic we produce per year is about the equivalent to the entire population of the world. So it's kind of a frightening concept. And when you think that? That all the plastic that we've ever produced is still in circulation, apart from some of it, some of which has been burned. This move is designed in this aggravation, you guys. Okay. And the other disturbing fact is that by 2030, three billion people will require adequate and affordable housing by 2030, and the reference to that data is on the screen. About eight years ago, through the surfing community, I met a guy called Nev Hyman, and he had a really simple idea to turn that plastic waste into housing for the poor. And while we're at it will make local industry and create jobs, so that was a brilliant idea. We assembled a team of highly specialists, polymer experts, engineers from Arup, materials experts and we set about to design homes, some recycled plastic waste. We knew we needed a simple and robust design that would suit the villages in Indonesia and Bali, which was our first area because as surfers, we've seen that that's a place on the planet of high density and no municipal waste collection. So the rubbish is thrown in the ground, washes down the gutters and ends up in the ocean, which is as surfers where we see it and become aware of this problem and said we wanted houses that would not only be suitable to culturally cultural settings, but to attract government agencies and officials that would want to fund such relief housing and affordable housing. Walking up the beach between surfing and working as we'd been in an all day, very intense working session with no air conditioning and no open windows. We took a break and went to the beach and coming up the beach. In that moment, I realised what we needed to do was come up with an extrusion that could be - not only roof wall louvres, but also floors, because the cost of making plastic and plastic products and lot of it is in the extrusions and sales. So less extrusions and more cost effective production. So this is what we came up with about a week later after that working session, and we were very happy with that. It has generous overhangs, full height louvres. It feels like it would belong in the campaign or in the villages of Indonesia, where it spent a fair bit of time on surfing trips. And it did indeed attract positive responses from the government of Bali and Indonesian housing officials. It was. We were on to it. There was a demand. They wanted 20000 homes a year and we were super excited. However, we started to discover the fundamental problem of plastic that and the specific challenges around recycling plastic waste. Have you guys ever attempted to get all the oil out of an oil bottle or all the detergent out of the detergent bottle? You can hang and drink and it'll still be lined with residue? We started to discover that the problem with this is that it can't be recycled when it's dirty, so to meet the structural requirements, we needed quite a lot of virgin plastic, which was not what we were setting out to do. And then we got smacked across the chops by in March 2015, the Cyclone Pam was a total catastrophe that forced us to change our thinking. We got invited to look at the situation in Vanuatu and help there that we had not solved how to do cyclonic, how to do normal housing because the plastic was suffering long term deflection. So we didn't have a material, let alone anything that could be recycled and handle 300 km per hour winds. And then in another moment between work and play, I realised the answer had been looking at me. When I was a student, I came back from Europe and studied five years in research and development into engineered timber. Timber is the ultimate recycled material. Trees recycle carbon just to grow. So these are some snapshots from my work, including being taught how to design with termite resistant timber by Clem Orcher . And so we were very interested in a combination of timber and plastic in order to solve the problem in Vanuatu. So this is where we got to sort of know house version two and we supplied 14 knockabout. They're essentially community buildings to the villages in an extremely remote part of Vanuatu or islands. The design is fully modular and flat packed, and took about five days for a team with some trained Australian builders and local teams of volunteers on the ground to assemble these projects. So we use recycled plastic composite and timber and laminated veneer lumber that is timber for total frame structures. Some of them were used for schools and some for a range of different purposes. This is a view inside. You can see the full height louvres centre pivot is suffering from long term deflection and some water penetration, so there were some lessons to learn there. Essentially, they were very much designed for tropical climates. You can see we have the ingrained protected about the footings. This whole discussion we could have around durability in the tropics. But one of the most important things is to protect the timber. We couldn't actually use rainwater off these buildings because there's volcanic ash landing on the roofs the whole time. And it also limits the success of the solar panels, which is why we had a little bit of wind there to help top up batteries. The buildings were also used for nurse's quarters and I think you saw that clinic as well. They said the extrusion that came from that original concept, back in the workshop, it, as I mentioned, we're using only we're using wood plastic composite, which is a combination of mashed up timber and only two codes of plastic. So we were still a long way from solving the use of plastic waste. In particular, the issue is where plastic waste is collected by communities. They only collect the ones that are readily recycled, which are the same ones we're using. The chip packets and the stuff like that and not valuable, so they don't get collected by individuals who go into and try to get their money back from doing that work in the street so that, you know. The project was seen as remarkably successful. It is being designed with the kind of hierarchy of tropical elements. This is typical design construction. It was celebrated by twelve tribes. It was incredibly successful. It was received very well. The next stage was to be housing. And this is the way we're presenting. This is one of the chiefs. They could understand what we were talking about. You can see this is inspired by a half house concept by fundamental, the architect Aravena name escapes me at the moment. The practice is called fundamental when you don't have enough money to build the whole house, which half do you build if you only have half the budget. Our answer was the cyclonic half. So this is the next stage. We're looking at still the half house representing a cyclonic core and then an indoor outdoor that can be filled in by locals and woven materials. Another interesting issue when you're dealing with cultural context, it's important probably to go into communities as a couple. This is my wife talking to a chief. Normally, women will tell women different things to other men. So and when you go in as a single, you can threaten the balance in the community. So it's something to think about. This is that contemporary situation in Vanuatu now, and it's why so many people get injured. They use traditional materials without understanding the load paths that are required. And so when a cyclone wallops places like this, loosely assembled Western materials become very dangerous, very dangerous projectiles. Traditionally, the people hung out around banyan trees, and this area is also called a nakamal, and they would huddle in the nooks and crannies of these trees. And this is a traditional construction. This this skill has been forgotten when it comes to housing. We can see how the Earth deflects the wind over the house is buried deep into the ground. You can see very clear load paths here. This is a young guy explaining to me how his grandfather built, and they're all taking a lot of notice now. But some of the issues we are dealing with is the footings don't look nice with the structure, the steel tubes, the misalignment because then we needed very heavy equipment to screw pile these in. The more suitable equipment would be something like this or this handheld equipment. And so I've been working in parallel with an inventor called Glenn Carless to try and solve these problems. And I will just whip through very quickly some ideas about footings that connect more beautifully to the structure itself, and that will serve more suitably for the durability challenges we have in the tropics. The timber and when it's exposed and not well maintained doesn't last long, especially if its pine. This is recycled aluminium, which I'll talk about soon rapidly prototyped with 3D printing and tested in backyard. And the footing itself is the same profile as the column posts and beam. Now I'm sure you should squirm when you hear me talk about aluminium because virgin aluminium is nasty stuff when it comes to environmental impact and embodied carbon. However, recycled, aluminium is a fraction of that, and there's an abundance of it still in circulation. And it doesn't lose its structural properties when recycled. So this is where we're thinking we need to augment our flat pack housing for Nev house. Concrete, of course, to be avoided footings don't have that. But check this out. Look at this stair. When you're putting housing in remote areas, we sometimes don't get any information, the chiefs, we don't get any information at the sites. The chief chose the locations that they should for these buildings. And so the stair kit turns up. Sorry, doesn't meet the ground. So Glen and I have been working on that problem and imagine if you can have a kit a sort of a stair that could change its length and indeed change its inclination so that you can solve that problem and that you could also use the same components to make a ramp. So I'm getting very excited working with the Inventor Glenn Carless.This is the Revit, the Rhino model he works in 3D printing and the real deal. This is also getting back to basics with the post and beam system of the same elements recycled plastic, sorry recycled aluminium, and we'll be filling it with recycled plastic waste. And it's a kit of parts. It takes away all screws and fixings. Therefore, we don't need trade skills on site, and that's already saving about a third of costs when you think about the cost of construction. This is the prototype assembled by office workers. That was interesting. They didn't have any tools. They didn't need any, and I'd never understood what this was. The kit was given to them, and they put it together in the office. The plastic that I mentioned, we're only using two codes. We're developing expertise out of Texas, where we can get any plastic. Dental floss, aluminium, any waste, it gets mashed up and powder injected moulded powder impression moulded into this sort of approximate shape of our panels that we designed, which so this is moulded, not extruded, and the grey stuff in there is just rubbish, no structural properties. And this is where we're headed now. And this is it integrated in the recycled aluminium post and beam system. And this is our 3D test. And this is cyclonic rated, whereas the original buildings are marginal. And this is our kind of photo, this is a composite image of the current design in the foreground on the left there. And the existing design. So you can see we've solved the problem of the stairs reaching the ground and we’ve solved the problem of the footings and the far more elegant condition between the structural frame and going into the ground. I'm pretty excited about this. Meanwhile, we've won a truckload of awards with this work. Good design awards and Pitch at Palace, which is the ultimate international award for start-ups. So it looks good on paper, but we are still a long, long way to go. We're for us to develop low cost housing for remote communities out of recycled plastic waste. Let's say realistically, we’re probably two thirds of the way there and we've been going for eight years. Thank you very much. Happy to chat. Tim [00:23:38] Thank you very much, Ken. That is pretty inspiring. So I'll ask Leela if we've got any questions in the Q&A. And if not, I'm going to start off with one, I thought that was an amazing statistic that you began with about the mass of plastic that's being produced being greater than the mass of people. And there was a report this week that the mass of manufactured products is actually greater than the mass of all living things on the planet. And so I think reusing materials is obviously the way to go. You know, one of the questions that has come through Ken is about the end of life of these recycled materials. What happens when these houses run their course and that particular plastic material or other materials need to be recycled themselves? Ken [00:24:30] That's a really good question, because wood plastic composite is not easy to recycle, but I believe it can be. But it doesn't maintain its same characteristics as laminated veneer. Lumber is also not easy. The stuff we've used has got red list product in it. That's the formaldehyde. We're now developing. I'm working with another brilliant inventor, called James Murray Parks, and he's come up with a glue - he sold the technology, but it's basically crushed almonds. That's it. And it's a bio resin that replaces the red list, red list as in the well building challenge, excuse me, living building challenge. So this is a breakthrough in composite timber technology. And the aluminium, of course, is endlessly recyclable. So that's why I'm saying we're just a little way on the path. The team, we approach this with the design to manufacture and assembly and disassembly. So ultimately it's readily that the aluminium system I showed you those components can be pulled apart and used in almost any other building type. We’ve designed schools with the same components, large span schools with 10 metre span and a whole range of different typologies, including sheds. So this is a component a set of tools and components model designed for manufactured assembly assembly dissembly and reuse of course. So thank you for that question its a beauty. Tim [00:26:13] And I think that that's a really good point about using recycled materials that are completely circular. They just keep going back into being new aluminium. And I think that's where we need to get to with plastics as well, that we make PET into PET. Yes. And try and clean up that waste stream so that we get a purer product going into the recycling. Ken [00:26:38] And I think we've got to make it valuable Tim, which is a double edged sword when it becomes valuable, people pick it up and recycle it. Then it becomes more expensive to our commercial, to my clients commercial model. The cost of the waste stream is a significant risk to his business model. So there's a double edged sword. Tim [00:27:06] OK, well, thank you very much, Ken, I know that you've been called Ken [00:27:10] one minute to go. Tim [00:27:12] one minute to go. And I think the we've got another question, but we'll have you back a little bit later. Ken [00:27:20] I think my call will probably be maybe 20 minutes long and I'll come back. Thank you very much. Tim [00:27:25] This is the wonderful world of Zoom that we live in. So good luck and thank you very much for your presentation. Ken [00:27:30]Thank you too. Tim [00:27:38] OK, so there's a couple of questions that I'll hold over to the panel session. And I'd like at this stage to introduce our next speaker, who is Monica Richter. Monica is an economist, social ecologist with extensive experience in environmental sustainability and an interest in the role of business in accelerating the uptake of low and zero carbon solutions. Recent career highlights include the establishing of MECLA, the Materials and Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance with over 80 companies and organisations. And I'm proud to say that the SBRC here at the University of Wollongong is one of the founding members, and they seek to align with the Paris Agreement objectives and principles of the circular economy. Other highlights include establishing the Business Renewables Centre Australia, driving large scale renewable projects through power purchase agreements, deep engagement in the World Wildlife Fund’s Panda Labs Innovation Programme and running the science based targets initiative in Australia. This is getting companies to set ambitious long term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets aligned with the COP twenty one point five degree pathway in partnership with Global Compact Network of Australia. Monica is definitely another one of our thought leaders and has also been invited to many forums, so we're really delighted that you could have time to talk to us today. She's a graduate of the Future Directors Programme, board member of the Australian Sustainable Build Environment Council aspect and chair of the Mercury Centre Collaborative Enterprise Catalyst Board, member of Pigalle Community Power and on the Women in Renewables list published by the Clean Energy Council. So a very busy life that Monica leads, so we're very pleased to have you here. I'll hand over Monica now. Monica [00:29:28] Thank you very much, Tim. Can you hear me? Yes, great. Fantastic. And I'd also like to acknowledge the country that we are on. You gave a beautiful acknowledgement to Tim and I think it's so important that we really think about and connect to this lovely land that we all custodians on. So my presentation is really about the, you know, taking a bit of a bigger picture view of the nature of the issues that we face, but also the opportunity for collaboration. And I guess I'm just going to run through these slides very quickly. We know the urgency of the climate challenge. We know that we have to keep warming to 1.5 if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. That means, you know, the science is telling us that we need to halve emissions in this decade at least, and that's a really tough challenge for us to achieve. We've got a lot of the technologies available to us, but if we don't, the consequences are really dire. We have the Paris Agreement now Glasgow. It's setting a pathway. We've got the trajectory for us to do that. And really, it's, you know, the political will, the will of business. Collaboration is a wonderful opportunity. I just also a reminder about the Sustainable Development Goals. You know, many of the issues of the circular economy, the SDG 12, responsible consumption of production, reducing inequality, sustainable cities, climate action, clean energy partnership for the goals. I mean, they're all connecting to our principles of the circular economy. You know, economic growth is in there, as Ken was talking about previously. You know, how do we actually value the waste as a resource and create economic systems and incentives and policies that allow those externalities to be factored out? You know, the tragedy of the Commons that I'm sure many of you know about. So one of the places where I get inspiration is listening to Outrage and optimism, a podcast by Christiana Figueres, who who was the chair of the Paris Agreement cop and Paul Dickinson and Tom Rivett-Carnac. And if you know, if you're looking for places to get inspiration to hear about what's happening internationally, then I'd really encourage you to sign up to to this podcast. And you know, as it is there this decade, what we do this decade will determine how will we survive as a species going forward? I have the great privilege of supporting the science based targets initiative here in Australia. There's a recent launch of the net zero standard. And why is this critical to this conversation? Because companies for the first time are thinking about the carbon budget, they're thinking about their Scope three emissions, which is, you know, really critical the value chain emissions. And they're thinking about medium term as well as long term targets. And you know, those are all different conceptual frameworks that companies have not previously thought about. So in the last five, six years, this is a whole new framework for thinking. And as a result, the big companies, big construction firms, infrastructure finance are all setting these the net zero standards, science-based targets and aligning their businesses towards, you know, net zero by the very least 2050, if not to beforehand, and a halving emissions by 2030, at the very least as well. So just a little bit, you know, scope one and two most companies do provide have data captured on their internal emissions, their electricity emissions where we, you know, we're seeing I think I heard on the radio today that Australia is now in a 33 per cent of our electricity coming from the national electricity market, at least, is renewables, which is a huge shift from where we've been just a few years ago. But the scope three is probably the hardest, the place where there is a requirement for that collaboration and working across supply chains to drive those emission reductions. So embodied carbon, you know, for those of you who are aware the embodied carbon piece looking at the not just the transport, but it's the manufacturing of the products that go into the building construction industry as well as their use, as well as the re-use and disposal, which is, you know, some of what you've been dealing with in the projects that you've been learning about and, you know, the practical application as well. So. And what we also know about embodied carbon - a report that was done recently for the Green Building Council - if we don't address embodied carbon, it will end up being 85 per cent of the whole entire greenhouse emissions for the building and construction industry in 2050, which is pretty significant. We need to be addressing this issue, particularly as the energy emissions reduce. So the first time we were starting to think about this at the beginning of 2020, I guess some partnership with Precincts and folks from precincts and ourselves got a little bit of money from the New South Wales government to launch a report to undertake some research and really think about how would we address embodied carbon? What are the barriers and how what if we take a systems approach - what are those key intervention points? So we launched our report in August last year and this is the systems diagram we came across. And I guess why is this important to circular economy? Because it does think about the different parts of the supply chain construction cycle from the very beginning, you know, the pre-designed phase all the way through to deconstruction and reuse and materialisation. So all the elements are important when you start to think about where those key intervention points and drivers are. So, you know, we found it's very complex. We know that you heard from Ken how complex it is to to do that investment is required if we are going to drive the decarbonisation process and there is a lack of awareness and there is a lot of resistance to change, you know, from a risk point of view, from a conceptual point of view, the need to drive that there's also a very significant role for government to play. Again, you know, talking about how do we value waste as a resource? How do we think about the decarbonisation journey here in New South Wales? We're pretty fortunate to have an activist government that's been, you know, they've set a net zero target driving policy levers. They've got procurement standards in place, which is quite exciting. And then the need to work together. So that was they were the key conclusions of our report. Lend Lease fortuitously were undertaking a similar kind of assessment. And, you know, they looked at a whole range of different barriers those technical and procurement barriers, knowledge, perception, governance and economic barriers. So as a result of our work, you know that they start, they said request embodied carbon outcomes would be really good if you could request that in your pocket. But how do you go about doing that, which is when we worked with a whole bunch of organisations in the last half of last year, and in April we launched the Materials and Embodied Carbon Leaders Alliance. So these are the organisations now one hundred fifteen hundred and sixteen organisations right across the building and construction sector. And it is a collaboration. We're not an industry association, we're a collaboration of organisations committed to addressing those those barriers. They might be some of the organisations that you get a chance to work for when you when you graduate, you know, real privilege and the passion of people in these companies to really look to address this is amazing. So, you know, aligning with circular economy principles, Paris Agreement, and then we've identified the areas that we're going to be addressing demand signals are needed. How do you evaluate the, you know, framework? What are those best practise evaluation tools, the knowledge sharing common language? How how do you support the uptake of innovative materials? And while acknowledging, you know, the risks around climate transition and then supporting materials, lower carbon, steel, concrete, aluminium and then some of the innovative materials. So we've set up working groups to help us with. This is about twenty five people, somewhere between 15 and 25 people per working group driving this. We've got very, very extensive knowledge and commitment right across the supply chain to these processes. So just a couple of examples here of the kind of outcomes that each of our working groups is going through. So in working group one. So this is the demand side. So, you know, let's develop a policy maker and a client toolkit. You know, what is the toolkit going to look like? How do we then you know, secondly, how do we measure and disclose? How do we actually provide those incentives for that measurement and disclose including, you know, lifecycle analysis? Show me how to deviate. Is there a way that we could do that? Perhaps, you know, through principles of circular economy, we want to be able to ensure that there are some rewards to companies that have those specifications in place and then a pledge prerequisite you can tender for government projects if you have a net zero target, if you've set a science based target, if you've got some level of ambition there. So that's the kind of thinking that our working group is going through. Working Group two is about to launch a discussion paper on those benchmarking tools to have input because we know that there's, you know, there's some complexity in that area. Our knowledge based working group three, we've got a range of case studies which will be published very soon and our website. And how do we, you know, we know how important it is. It's not sustainability, circular economy. These are not just places for the sustainability management organisations, but right across the board. So if you're a BlueScope or a Holcim or any company, you need to be able to, you know, so it's a change management process to educate the whole of your company to understand why these principles are really important. You know, those are some of the opportunities that you is, so graduates of your programme are going to have a chance to to experience. And then we have our events. So on Wednesday, we had our spotlight on steel events. We had the great privilege of having our two major steel manufacturers talk to us about their decarbonisation journey, what some of the challenges they're facing, the importance of reusing the recycled steel and its availability in the marketplace. We've had a spotlight event once on aluminium as well. We know, we know what an impact both steel and aluminium, something like 30 per cent of global emissions come from the manufacture of steel, concrete, aluminium. It's a huge footprint to try and decarbonise, and there's a lot of ambition going on in there, including looking at green hydrogen and alternative materials. We also know that the money is on the move. You know, superannuation funds are starting to look at this as an opportunity for them to drive greener outcomes - really, really important for our pension funds, superannuation funds, investors and banks as they lend money out that they're sitting in place some expectations for the companies to be looking at not just operational emissions, but embodied carbon, and this excellent report that came out recently by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. So if you can see the slide there, you've got, you know, right at the top of the curve, you know, build nothing, you know, sort of starting to rethink the way we think about construction is the best mitigation hierarchy built less thinking about how we maximise those existing assets and build clever. And I guess that's where the principles of the circular economy, the key messages I got out of the reading the report was that importance of design optimisation and dematerialisation. So when it comes to, you know, high strength steel using less steel but a smarter steel using less concrete, but finding ways to reduce the amount of concrete, you know, those are really, really important principles that I think will be become more important. But you've got to be able to use this is where the partnership and collaboration comes in. That's a predesigned process. You can't be thinking about this when you're starting the construction. You actually have to be thinking about this right at the beginning of the design process. Material substitution we’ll see that more and more and the innovation is going to be required and then rethinking ways to retain existing structures. So those principles, I think we're going to see advanced in the next decade in particular. So a couple of other examples really excited to see this is a planned community where my folks live actually in the Redlands outside of Brisbane, Australia's first circular economy community, which is really exciting. I'm looking forward to going across the border and going to visit and see what they're going to do. So, you know, to be able to reclaim the waste, so-called waste and to be able to repurpose it for how they live there, you know, not everybody's going to be going to educate the community there, but also make it simple for the recycling and that circular economy piece. So really interesting to see that come up. And it might be, you know, the first of many circular economy communities that are that come together. And I just also want to give a shout out to Veena, who is part of our working group on other materials and I guess, you know, I mean, you know, the universities are a critical part of this and the micro factory that's in the idea. You know, she's been working with Mirvac to take the old mattresses to create these micro factories where you can repurpose what is currently seen as waste. You know, if you walk along the streets of Sydney, you see mattresses everywhere to be able to take those mattresses, turn it into a material that could be used in building construction industry is just the most exciting opportunity for us to recreate new materials. And so, you know, she's very much about the use of polymers, you know, smart concrete and smart materials and reusing waste, creating these micro factories. And just that's those opportunities for Australia to truly be smart. And I'm sure that there are many people at the university who is exploring those as well. And also, you know, it's not just happening here. We're seeing this happen right across the world. So the C40 cities, some of you will be familiar with it. There's a clean construction declaration. They've got very ambitious targets, 50 per cent of all new buildings to have reduced body carbon of 50 percent. You know, the infrastructure projects and they are looking, you know, the cities of the world are looking for new materials and new ways of doing things. And I think the world is our oyster. If we can come up with some clever ideas, you know, the kinds of ideas that Ken came up with and others. So I'll leave it there. Those are my contact details. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. We have a MECLA LinkedIn site and we're always happy to to share our knowledge with with you. And I'll I'll stop sharing. Tim [00:46:36] Oh, thank you very much, Monica. That was a pretty good overview of the really big pictures. Are there any questions that are coming through? I'd like to start with one of my own. And I think you sort of answered it there with the Yarabilba, I think. But are there other examples of projects that are doing that? Pre-designed work that that you talked about that that are I suppose the exemplars that we will look to for the future? Monica [00:47:07] Gosh. Oh, well, as I recall, there were quite a few case studies in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation report and I don't think it's business as usual as yet, but there's definitely a shift occurring, so for example, you know, transport for New South Wales are now requiring the percentage exactly but an x per cent reduction in embodied carbon from their business as usual. So any company that's looking to tender for projects here in New South Wales has to be able to demonstrate that they are going to be able to deliver that. That does mean talking to the steel manufacturers. It does mean talking to the concrete manufacturers. You've got both Holcim and Boral, just as two examples have carbon neutral or lower carbon concrete that they've developed, and they're looking to get that into various projects. They've got some testing projects in the WestConnex here and the Rozelle Interchange, and there's geopolymer being tested with the city of Sydney there. So I think we'll see more and more of that pre-designed occurring. Tim [00:48:27] And I think that that's a good example of where government can use its purchasing power to influence not just the Tier one, but the Tier two and Tier three suppliers and the industry. We're going to have to finish up there, but Monica if you're available to stay around, we might have some questions coming through that could be answered at the panel session. Thank you once again, and you do so many things. I'm amazed that you can find time to be with us today. Right, it is 10:20, so it's time for us to have our first panel session. Now the way we're going to run this, that each presenter is going to present for about five minutes. Some of the highlights of their work, which hopefully will generate questions for the Q&A. And then we'll get together with all the presenters for an open Q&A session that will be moderated by Clayton McDowell. So the presenters that we're going to have are Usha Iyer-Raniga professor from RMIT Co-lead in the Sustainable Building and Construction, the One Planet Network and the 10 year future equity of the United Nations. Jonas Bengtsson, founder CEO of Edge Environment and Valentina Petrone from WSP. As I said, Clayton McDowell is going to be the moderator. He's a an emerging research leader at university. He is a holder of a PERL fellowship. That's what the ERL is emerging research leader. And he was our lead student on the Solar Decathlon project that took the Desert Rose House from Australia to Dubai in 2018 and got second prize overall. First up, I'd like to introduce Usha in the School of Property and Construction Management at RMIT. She is co-leading the One Planet Network Sustainable Building and Construction Programme. The 10 year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production, which is aligned with history number 12, goal number 12 and as you work to work directly impacts on goal number 11 as well as sustainable cities and communities. Is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building Green Star Associate, a member of the International Education Association of Australia. Reviewer and Scientific Committee Member for national and international referee journalists referee conferences. She's on the editorial board for referee journals and has worked on special issues. She served as expert panel member and a panel judge at Victorian, National and international scales. She has also served as a board member for various NGOs and industry educational bodies. Usha has published a total of over 150 publications, including research and consultancy report. So I'd like to invite her to share her slides and tell us a little bit more. Thank you. Usha [00:51:37] Many thanks, Tim, and I'd like to start by paying my respects in this world of virtual engagement and get togethers. I'm in the land of the coordination and particularly like to acknowledge that we were wrong and the wrong groups that are about 10 kilometres away from the Melbourne Central Business District. So thanks very much for the introduction, Tim, and I'm assuming you can hear me OK. The thumbs up will be fine, but I also wanted to sort of start off today. The work that I'm going to be presenting is a work that we've been doing with the internationally through the United Nations. One Planet network. But I also wanted to give a little bit of insight that Australia is catching up and your speakers spoke largely from the New South Wales perspective, and I'm really interested in bringing in a little bit of a Victorian perspective into this as well. We have been very successful in two major brands, which has assisted us with developing what you see here as a Victorian circular activator and the integrated climate platform, which includes circular economy, climate change and resilience, as well as the use of clean energy. So we looking at the problem in the Victorian context, not just from the narrow lens of a circular economy, because we do understand that you need to think about bringing in the sort of the other big players in town, largely clean energy, as well as within the context of some changing resilience. So if we can move to the next slide things, this work that we commenced at an international level for the one planet network started actually in 2017 as the world's circular economy forum where we started looking at how do we, particularly from a built environment lens, how do we start looking at the collective impact and bringing the consumption production practises, which is an everyday practise into the built environment? And that sort of started a series of work that we then did in 2018 and then in 2019 and then again last year in 2020 and of course, again this year across COP, as well as one second economy form. But what was, I think, really interesting has set off a bit of milestone in our global work was seven reports that we launched last year at the World Sustainable Built Environment conference. And these are reports looking at what is the state of play with circular built environments across all the kind of all the regions that have been listed here. Europe, Oceana, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. All of this, together with a global report that highlights the global response to the recommendations in a minute. But we also felt it was really important to understand from the building industry experts across the world and in particular across certain regions. What are their thoughts and how do they see the importance of this transition to circularity? And so we deployed the survey, which was actually levels one is at the global goal level. So which are the key global goals that are important from a sustainability and circular economy perspective, again, built environment centrally, but also what are the different indicators? So if you look at the Sustainable Development Goals, you realise that there are goals there are targets and there are indicators. So we've got 17 goals about 50 plus targets and there's over 214 indicators, and these indicators are interlinked between the different goals. So it's actually goal agnostic. So when we start looking at the indicators, it's actually quite relevant to say that not just energy which we’ve already talked about, but also things like water. Things like health and wellbeing are particularly important when we start thinking, What is this important? So if we can look the next slide, please? So what were these recommendations and this sort of fits in very nicely with some of the things that Ken presented as well as Monica. So the first thing that we say is that it's really important for us to think and act differently. We know that we living in a world that is that is primarily dominated by linear thinking, and we cannot really solve a moving to circular economy solution if you're going to take a linear approach. So we really need to stop thinking about how can we approach the circular economy problems by using circular economy principles and therefore translate that into practise about circular economy. We also think that it's very important for us to set benchmarks and to monitor where we're travelling. And we have used the Sustainable Development Goals and indicators as as the means by which we can monitor and report to be continuously improving. Again, lifecycle considerations. I won't labour the point Monica has already very nicely expressed the importance of thinking of the lifecycle of buildings. So as Monica said, rightly, it's the best thing to do is not to build. So how do we then ensure that practices of urban mining and the reuse of building materials? So really, we need to stop thinking about the deconstruction of buildings and then move into how we design buildings? Reverse engineering becomes very important when we start thinking about this. Again, building materials and how do we try and use local materials as much as possible in this process? Procurement governments can lead in this process, and like the New South Wales government, our Victorian government has also been looking at how could we bring in all the number number of major infrastructure works that's taking place currently in Victoria? How do we use some of this soil and some of these materials that are low in terms of embodied energy content, but also use locally - not cut it off thousand kilometres somewhere else in the country. Adaptation and resilience- and this is something that I would like to send a perhaps a little bit more time on. We know that while we are thinking about things from a life cycle perspective, from a mitigation perspective, which has largely been the context of a number of discussions today, the importance of adaptation. So if we if we don't think about adaptation and resilience within this context, we actually end up with quite maladaptive responses, which means that we have to go back and we have to build again, or we have to spend a lot of materials, time and resources in rebuilding. So trying to get that understanding of what are the impacts that climate change is going to have on our buildings, on our infrastructure and how do we best prepare for it? It's something that needs to be considered. We are also interested in locally adapted solutions and again, a history of sixty thousand years. The First Nations of these people treated the Earth very lightly. So how do we learn from that experience and how do we encourage more solutions that are indigenous in nature, more locally adapted solutions? And again, Monica talked about the importance of money. Money is the mover. So how do we generate more business models? So how do we move, for instance, from this idea of owning, owning the building, owning the the lighting in the building, owning the plant and the equipment of the building or the sale of the photovoltaic panels in the building and moving into a business model that is more of a service based business model. And here we are talking to young decision makers of today and potentially the key decision makers of tomorrow. So thinking about how do we fulfil our education skills. I think I'll leave it there. My time is up. Thank you very much. Tim [01:00:08] Thank you, Usha, and you've raised a lot of really interesting points there, and I'm sure that'll generate questions for the Q&A session. I'd like to introduce Jonas Bengtsson to now. Jonas is the CEO and co-founder of Edge Consulting, and this is a pretty important organisation. He is a past president of the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society. Outcasts, founder of BPI Tech Platform and a member of the Living Building Challenge Australia and SBRC is I'm proud to say the first building to get full certification under LBC is vice chair of the APD Australia's Technical Advisory Group. Edge is very interesting company because they help their clients to create value by combining science, strategy and storytelling in a way that gives them control. It's. Go for ambitious targets. So I'm interested to hear Genesis storytelling for the next five minutes over to you, Jonas. Jonas [01:01:12] Like Tim, pressure is on. I don't think my video is blocked, so I can't get on screen, but I will try to show my slides here. It's OK. Can everyone see my livestock? Tim [01:01:34] Yes, they’re clear. Jonas [01:01:36] So I'll go through this quite quickly and thank you Usah and Monica, it was a really great overview and this is inevitably going to overlap a little bit with what's already been said, the way I wanted to provide a little bit of perhaps looking at from a slightly different and complementary perspective. I remember presenting this graph many years ago around the resource use and how much materials we put into the economy. And then a little while ago, I went back and said, Well, this was 10 years, 11 years ago. What's happened since then, and we've seen this trend has just continued to increase that we now approximately 100 billion tonnes of materials put into the economy on annual basis, which is obviously quite staggering and kind of a lead indicator of us living in a very linear economy. And if we break down this massive amounts of materials that we mine and produce and you put in, only about 25 percent of them are actually invested into long lasting assets, such as buildings or cars or infrastructure. Two thirds of it goes to waste, and we're currently on a pace of just having ten percent of it recycled back to the economy. So in terms of career choices ahead of you, if you want to focus on the circular economy, I think that's a pretty safe bet that there's a lot of interest and need for change here in the next decades and even century. So it's certainly one of the macro trends that that's seen in the markets. The circular economy and the economic opportunity to close the loop. Some of that is thrust upon us in terms of some countries where we used to export our waste and resources to or have closed the door, and we now have to domestically deal with it much more in Australia and in the developed world. The global index that has been put out is that how circular are we are in the global economy? It's about 8.6 percent and that which is obviously aligned with that 10 percent of of materials being recycled. There’s work being done at the moment with the Australian Circular Economy Hub led by to start looking at what's that number for Australia and without giving away too much, it's not going to be higher than eight point six percent for Australia. At the same time, as mentioned before, we're facing this enormous challenge in terms of rapid changes in the global climate, which is 99.9 percent certainly manmade. So we're seeing this rapid need to change this trend from increasing emissions and temperatures to decarbonising and adapting at the same time, which means that we need to rethink a lot around how we approach the built environment, both from a mitigation and adaptation perspective. But just to jump into some specific examples so concrete was mentioned previously, specifically by Monica, some of the work that's been done in that space and this is a graph showing it's a bit technical, but it's showing an environmental product declaration put out by Holcim. So one of the major concrete manufacturers and what this is showing is that it's already today. The mixes that they put out when they mix up concrete and substitute of cement with fly ash and slag from steelmaking is already achieving a massive reduction in carbon footprint. We work with Holcim in developing this information, and they were even entirely surprised by how dramatically lower the carbon footprint was per cubic metre of concrete. So the point of this graph here is simply to show that without really doing anything differently, there are opportunities to reduce embodied carbon in materials already on commercial mixes. And now they're starting to go above and beyond by saying, How can we bring this down even further? And through the use of offsets and carbon credits, be able to offer carbon neutral products and into the construction sector? We have a steel industry as well, so this is from Infra Build – an Australian steelmaker where they are looking at what if we increase the strength in the state that we produce and investing in an High-Performance steel? Then we can reduce the weight and we can reduce the need for materials in construction and thereby reducing material use as well as carbon footprint. So again, highly commercial engineering solution that is delivering already lower embodied carbon outcomes. And then the use of timber, as well as was mentioned before us, one of those the ultimate renewable asset assets labels that already is starting to using more timber in construction and also drive down the carbon footprint of buildings. So all of these are signs of optimism that there's already opportunities to do things. It's not something we have to sit around and wait for. We can be more deliberate in the design and selection of materials. I was asked the question a while back which having worked in this field for almost 15 years, that what are sustainable materials and what's taking it back because I didn't have that one liner ready to go about what? What does that mean? And I started to write down a little bit, Well, what is it and what isn't it? And some of this has already been touched on in terms of how should we evaluate this? Because I don't think that's one it can hold up the material and say this is sustainable. It's around context, how it's used and how we looked at it. And we mentioned that it needs to contribute to the overall lifecycle improvements and not this single stage that is just recyclable at the end of life without taking consideration about how it's made needs to look at across a broad range of issues. So we're already just in this short introduction, circular economy and low embodied carbon and greenhouse gas emissions needs to be considered, but there's much more in terms of environmental people, economics needs to be weighed in to the definition of sustainable materials. And we need to look at it on the systems level, not on a material by material - it doesn't make sense to say a tonne of timber concrete steel - how it compares it needs to be around how does this come together in the wall system and a roof system and a whole building and move away from being single focussed bamboo is better or promote single specific materials. We need to be material agnostic because we can achieve development at the scale that's needed globally if we start eliminating materials, we need them all to work together, and we need to demand that the information that comes from industry is supported, verified and credible and transparent, not suppliers marking their own homework and circular economy is such a central topic that you can't really claim to have a sustainable material or a solution, a contribution without speaking to the circular economy principles of keeping resources in use and design out waste and pollution and actually start to regenerate natural system, not doing less bad or reduce impacts. So it is the important to talk about sustainable materials. But I think it's great to see with Monica and everyone talking so far that this is just a great deal of alignment on this topic. Lifecycle has been brought up to me, pointed out by my background in the Life Cycle Assessment Society, which is the geeky numbers driven side of personality. But I do love life cycle assessment. I think it's a great tool because it brings together the holistic scope of looking at all the lifecycle stages as well as multiple issues, and provide a method of framework for actually balancing and optimising the short industrial partnerships between lifecycle stages or different environmental impacts that we can actually balance and optimise on that basis. And we have the products that come out from manufacturers and suppliers doing their homework during the lifecycle analysis, they can then communicate this into an internationally standardised format called environmental product declarations, which is like a nutrition label of products. But it provides not the protein, fat and energy, but it provides the carbon emissions, the small bit embodied energy, the waste of water and the number of relevant environmental impacts. So this is what we have in terms of standardised environmental information on a product level. Now this needs to be put together all those EPDs need to feed in to what does this mean for the overall building and assets? What's the combined carbon footprint? The combined resource use the combined embodied water, et cetera? And how does that work in combination with reducing operational waste, operational and energy use operational water? And what's the end of life story of these assets and put some numbers that are standardised and comparable to that? So, Monica, thank you for mentioning the CFC report. This is something that we helped with the Green Building Council of Australia and Infrastructure Council, the Sustainability Council and the CFC and the great number of industry partners in terms of the case studies. To bring in that, I really recommend looking at it because it does include case studies that does a couple circular economy and its relevance into the low embodied carbon future, as well as the economic comparisons of different material choices and design techniques. And to summarise it, it's a huge opportunity and challenge ahead of us. Embodied carbon in Australia constitutes up to 10 percent of our total emissions. It's a multibillion dollar industry sixty five billion dollars. And if we can turn this into an economic opportunity to be a solution provider here, that will mean for Australian business as an industry in this space, that that's a massive economic opportunity to be part of this transformation. So I'll leave it at that. I hope I didn't take up too much time, but thanks for the opportunity to meet you all today.. Tim [01:11:55] Thank you, Jonas, for introducing so many aspects of the work that you do and that final report. I think it's one we'll put a link to that in the Q&A a little bit later. My next pleasure is to introduce Valentino Petrone from WSP. She is the circular economy lead in Australia for WSP has spent 15 years as an architect focussed on implementing sustainable and climate resilient practises in the built environment. She's currently working with the New South Wales DPIE we call them lovingly to develop the circular design guidelines for the built environment, and this has informed the circular economy strategy of the Moree special activation programme. I could say a lot more, but we're running short on time, so I'll hand straight over to Valentina. Valentina [01:12:48] Thank you, Tim, for the introduction, and thanks again for the Leela for inviting me. It wasn't planned but I’ve put together a few slides to guide my presentation, and I'll try to show my screen if that's OK. I hope you can see it correctly and just keep it simple. So, yes, as mentioned, I'm the WSP Australia's circular economy leads and what it means for the businesses that we are an international engineering company and really looking at the designing new buildings and the built environment to be future ready. So we have this very interesting programme, which is the future ready on the different trends. So looking at climate, society, technology and resources and how we can really design together thinking about the future. And it's really exciting to see that the circular economy is part of one of the key trends on their resources. And as Tim mentioned, I'm an architect by background with me. I'm a little bit of a black sheep in the in a lot with the lots of engineers with WSP. And what I try to bring to the is a value add that brings to the group is my perspective from a design point of view, from an architect point of view. Also looking at the materials, of course, but also looking at the broader picture. So looking at a circular economy from a holistic point of view, and I share with Jonas the fact that it is a very fast expanding market. So this year I've been invited to present many, many times, which is really amazing. And the slide you see on the screen at the moment is one of my favourite simple slides to just explain what we have been doing in the past. So just the a bin full of a lot of material, which was a stronger, leaner economy, so we buy something, we use it and we discarded. At the moment we are in a recycling economy, but we know that for many issues linked to contamination of materials or the nature of those materials themselves, that can only be done cycle. We still have a pretty full day. We really want to aim towards a circular economy where hopefully our base would be really empty. And thanks to the way that we design all of our products and also our buildings, that we can keep the materials in use as long as possible at the highest value. And the Circular design principles are really the tools that so we would be using in the future and currently using to really try to design out waste in the first place. And then so then we minimise the use of virgin materials, the raw materials and then trying to keep those materials in use as much as possible. And the most challenging part is that the third principle to return materials to system, if we are thinking about food waste that we compost them, it's pretty straightforward. Now we can return nutrients back to the to the environment. So if we think about concrete, that's a bit more difficult. But there are good, good options that good opportunities come in coming up and being up, being an architect by background. I love this. This diagram that we have created with is that easily talks about the process we are going to for a circular built environment. So the Black diagram is mainly the linear economy. So we used to extract raw material, manufactured them and produce the materials we needed. We just applied the conventional design approaches and we construct our assets. We use them. And once it's finished the timeline of a building, we just demolish them. At the moment, we really need to rethink this approach. And the key part is the design components. So as all the young designers and future professionals that are in this beautiful room, I really encourage you to be really curious. And there are lots of materials available, particularly coming from Europe. The amazing case studies that I strongly encourage you to keep researching and keep looking because it's an emerging market and it's great to see that the shift is happening and that we really need the future professionals to really understand the power of a super economy. And this shift that so have hypothetically buildings that can be fully disassembled, deconstructed and the materials being reused as these or with minor manufacturing process in new in new buildings and in terms of sharing, what has been my experience this year has been absolutely crazy, which is good as estimation have started with the funding from scratch, the circular design guidelines for the business environment that would be released officially next year, which is very exciting, and that I started working at every scale of project. So massive planning and precincts. I've worked on the Moree Special Activation Precinct and I'm currently working on the Arden Precinct in the city of Melbourne. I'm working also internationally with Canada the finding some construction, demolition waste minimisation strategies. We are defining and providing advice to design teams because the architects are really interested in this topic and developers as well. And one type of project that I would like to share a bit of the experience with you which links well to the topic of this symposium is in relation to build to rent and on a on a linked site, also student accommodation and social housing, where we see a lot of interest from Build to Rent developers because finally, when we have the developer, that's also the builder, a building owner and manager. Finally, they can see and understand the power and the possibilities for implementing circular economy principles. So having buildings that can be designed for flexibility, for longevity, that's we don't own all the components anymore, but we start to implement performance based procurement and leasing agreements. That's really going to have an impact on the ongoing maintenance and cost the for the for the builders. So we see some developer benefits in reducing costs for ongoing managing, but also a renter benefits and that user benefits, I really love the connection between circular economy in the design and sharing spaces, sharing economy and opportunities to promote a sense of community, a thing that COVID has told everybody how difficult this will be isolated and not connected with the with our, you know, our neighbours and our colleagues. So opportunities like libraries, repair cafes and all opportunities to not only reduce the amount of materials and products that we purchase and throw away every year, but also opportunities for upskilling and meeting like minded people. Thank you. That's my final few minutes of introduction and looking forward to some questions. Clayton [01:20:44] Fantastic. I might jump in then Tim seems that we’re short on time with only about 10 minutes to ask questions, but all of those presentations are absolutely amazing and very thought provoking from so many different perspectives. So if anyone does have any questions, I recommend that you just jump down to that Q&A feature and pop it in and we’ll try and get to as many as we can. There’s a couple that’s come through, but I’m going to be greedy and just throw something for myself out first since I’m moderating. This is one of the greatest change management endeavours the world has ever been on. In the past, like, we've had major changes with the introduction of industry, electrification, mechanisation, electronics, etc. But for the most part, these changes have also brought with some greater efficiencies and greater profits for many companies. But this change that we need to take, we're often broadcasted by the media about the extra costs that this will place on companies and on everyday consumers. And this is really open to any panel members. Do you see this as a true statement or are there areas that we are gaining efficiencies that we're saving costs by taking a circular economy approach or areas where this is actually starting to become cost parity? Ken [01:22:00] I'd be very happy to answer that Clayton, if you like, for not pushing it or try and be as brief as I can. They're designed to manufacture assembly and dissembling that paradigm. Oops. Sorry my cat, just fell off the window. That paradigm, that's the technology we're developing takes one third of the construction cost out immediately. And I think we're at least a third less than conventional construction. So when enough smart minds get together who are motivated to really do something and we have a paradigm shift and that's take away all the fixings out of a construction site, suddenly it's not costing more, it's costing less. Clayton [01:22:43] Fantastic. And that's the sort of answer I was looking for. Does anyone else have anything to say on that? Monica [01:22:49] I'd like to jump in there as well. So I guess there are a couple of ways to think about it. I mean, we have to if we are going to be innovating with these materials, there are going to be some costs associated with it. You know, we're going to have to find ways for our blast furnace, you know, steel manufacturing globally to be shifting to alternative sources of electricity in different ways of manufacturing steel. Steel is important for a decarbonised economy, so you know that there is some cost associated with that. But I think the materialisation aspects to rethinking and reusing our materials is going to help us solve some of those cost parity issues into the future. And you know, again, coming back to the Clean Energy Finance report that was produced, there were some fantastic case studies there where, you know, the number 4 Parramatta Square, for example, they delivered the project within in fact less in a in a in a lower cost paradigm than you would under BAU. So we are starting to see some mainstream projects delivering against those costs. Clayton [01:24:06] Yeah. Well, that's fantastic and inspiring to see. And hopefully other companies will look on to that and start to adopt some of these policies and just stay with you for a second. You've got a lot of members already. One of the questions from the panel was, do you actually have a membership target or the, you know, you have so many already, but are you still taking new people on board? Monica [01:24:28] Well, it's a quite a heavy administrative burden to sort of on board the organisations to take them through a governance process. It's a do tank. You know, our chair, Hudson Worley talks about us as a do tank, so people are very deeply and highly engaged in the different working groups. I think we've drawn a line in the sand for founding partners at the moment, but next year, when we get a bit more resources and we've organised ourselves and we're sort of thinking, OK, if we're going to be around for the next one or two years to really address those issues who else do we need at the table? You know what, I really think, you know, investors are starting to show some interest here. We want them to be at the table and the banks also. And maybe there are one or two other organisations. We are taking ordinary members for our working group five d on the other materials, you know, the circular economy piece the rethinking, the re-use elements there because I think that that's an area that's still a little light on. We're still working through what our our thinking is. So for any organisations that are willing to come in to that particular working group, they'd be very welcome. Clayton [01:25:33] Yeah, great. And we've just had a question pop up here from Dan Daly. He's just said, thanks for all the interesting introductions, as with everything in sustainability transitions, moving to a circular economy as a socio technical issue. I wonder if the panellists have any thoughts on where the greatest challenges are technical issue with material reuse, i.e. getting all the oil out of the oil bottle or social issues around changing consumption practises. Jonas [01:26:01] So I might jump in on that one, because I think one of the challenges is, in my view, lack of imagination and vision because it's been described as, you know what we went through maybe 100 years ago in terms of including sanitation, into cities and into our homes, the same type of transformation we're looking at now with renewable energy. We can't really foresee all the changes that's going to come with this, but we know that it's a cascading effect and it's about kind of looking at what does this mean in the next 10, 20, 30 years? If you asked us collectively, maybe five years ago, we would have struggled a little bit to to articulate what was a low carbon economy, a future look like. But right now, it's becoming much clearer that there's tangible ways this technology is. That's opportunities that solutions as well as new lifestyles, that's new business models. So I don't think it is around the nitty gritty. It's about lifting the gates and kind of go after that. This is a huge opportunity once in a generation, if not more opportunity to Clayton [01:27:09] and are there design tools units that you know, architects and engineers are using to help this process to the best design alternative. From a point of view of minimising the lifecycle impact? Jonas [01:27:22] I would imagine Ken is the right guy to answer that question. Ken [01:27:26] I'd be delighted to answer that one. Thank you, Jonas, for passing the ball. Gensler is by far the largest practise on the planet. Therefore, we have the responsibility, the ability and the responsibility to respond, and we have a decent chunk of our profit is put straight into research into specifically this area where we are dead serious. We don't let stuff into our offices, have samples that are not welcome unless they are circular or there's a damn good reason why how it can be recycled. They have to justify the nitty-gritty in terms of our product samples that our technology is, is we've got groups where we're recording all the materials around and collecting them for use across, across, all our designers. We've got tools that WSP might be getting jealous of. Normally we would go to engineers to look at daylighting and carbon impact every time or let into some of the design technologies that have developed in-house for our use. Valentina [01:28:36] And yeah, if I can just jump on that, yes, absolutely. It's very important to embed very early in the design stage a circular design thinking and think outside the box. As part of my research, I had a great conversation with Hans a great architect from the Netherlands, who shared with me his is experience to design the The Circle Design Pavilion, which is one of the best examples of circular buildings in Europe and is sadly lost. Many here through the process, but was very, very exciting, very challenging thinking outside the box and looking at the opportunities. And yes, there are various, but if there is a very keen design team, those barriers can be overcome and we can achieve great, great results. So parts of my yes, my responsibilities as my role is to work directly with architects and design teams and guide them through this process. So yeah, happy to have a chat can do this. Ken [01:29:37] I think we will Valentina. I'm very interested in what you were saying. Clayton [01:29:40] Yeah. And I think that's one of the benefits of always having these panel sessions come together. It's, you know, always fantastic to hear from everyone, and I'm sure we can talk for another couple of days on all these issues and, you know, probably should get together at some point to do those sorts of things. But we are unfortunately out of time. So I'm going to hand it back to Tim to thank everyone and close out this session. But thank you. Tim [01:30:05] Thanks. Thanks, everybody, for those wonderful presentations, and thanks for everybody who post your questions in the in the Q&A. We haven't been able to get to every question, but I think there’s been a really good debate about things and I think the important aspects have been highlighted very clearly. Now it's time for us to exercise. We've been sitting down in front of a screen for a couple of hours now. So it's it's a good opportunity for a stretch your legs going to have a bit of a break. We will reconvene at 11:30. But in the meantime, we've got a link here to our virtual poster session. So grab yourself a cup of tea, cup of coffee or a nice fresh water and come and visit the poster session. And we'll see you again for the next session at 11:30, where we've got some more excellent speakers and another great panel to go through. 

Session 2: Reducing construction waste

Tim [00:00:00] Welcome everybody to session two of our Homes from Waste Symposium. I'm Tim McCarthy, I'm here at the wonderful Sustainable Buildings Research Centre in Wollongong and the sun is shining. This session, we have some great industry panellists. We've got Susanne Toumbourou from the Australian Council for Recycling. She'll be followed by David Haller, national operation manager from Mirvac. Nick Comito, head of sustainability at Bingo Industries and our final speaker for the session will be Emma Heffernan, a senior lecturer in architectural engineering here at the University of Wollongong. And in our Q&A session, we will have Makrita Solitei, a PhD candidate at the university who's immersed in circular economy research. So a great session ahead of us. And while Suzanne is setting up now, I'll just briefly introduce her. Suzanne is a great friend of the SBRC. She's been involved in our advisory council for a number of years. She was previously the executive director of ASBEC, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and is currently the chief executive officer, as I said for the Australian Council of Recycling. Without further ado, I'll hand over to Suzanne because I know she's got some really important things to tell us this morning. Suzanne [00:01:26] Thank you so much, Tim. And now I'm just going to make sure that my slides are appearing correctly and hear any warning signs if they don't. How am I looking? Nik [00:01:42] That's great. Your up Suzanne. Suzanne [00:01:46] And I'm so delighted to be at the SBRC symposium, as you mentioned in my recent last role at the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, I was really privileged to be involved with the SBRC, and see it evolve and thrive over the last decade. And I was particularly impressed to see it become the first building in Australia and one of the few in the world to achieve living building certification. And now I'm really excited to engage with SBRC in my new role as CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling. Who are we? Who is the Australian Council of Recycling? We are Australia's peak body for resource recovery, recycling and remanufacturing. We consist of industry leaders who are committed to leading the transition to a circular economy through the recycling supply chain and looking at the built environment we can say that the building sector has taken great strides in reducing operational emissions over the last decade. Australia is a global leader in property sustainability with our top tier developers like Lendlease, Dexus, Frasers Property, having led the global real estate sustainability benchmark for the last 11 years. And at a regulatory level, there’s been strong progress in reducing operational emissions, with up to 40 per cent increase in energy efficiency for commercial building for the 2019 National Construction Code and a forthcoming step change I hope for residential buildings in 2022. And now there is an increasing focus on embodied emissions, which you would have heard was supported by the formation and growth of the materials embodied carbon. leaders alliance which has attracted around, I think, 100 leading firms from across the built environment. This is really being underpinned by strong and committed industry leadership, which is directed the sector's progress towards net zero through collaborative enterprises such as the Australian Sustainable Build Environment Council and organisations like the Green Building Council of Australia, who have helped to inform industry led policies that have progressed both regulation and market. But Australia's top tier developers are now looking to evolve from net zero to circular. They've already been so actively committed to net zero targets by before 2030, and they're, of course, on track to hit these targets at that at that level. And the focus has evolved now to full circularity, to cradle to cradle thinking, which includes the uptake of recycled material. But one inhibitor to a circular economy is, in my view, the language around waste, which is underpinned by very linear concept. You extract a resource, make something out of it, use it and dispose of it, and the resultant material is waste. This concept is redundant in a circular economy. All waste is a potential resource. It just depends on the effort you go to to extract it. However, the practice of transforming waste into resources alone does not deliver a circular economy. Although heavy recycling is integral to a circular economy, it is one of many parts that comprise a systems wide, closed loop economic approach. So the part I want to talk about to a large extent is recycling, but of course, in the context of circular practices. And this plan, this approach targets zero waste and addresses a hierarchy of priorities relating to material with the most preferential being the reduction of the use of materials, followed by reuse. Recycling sits under those two priorities and it's vital, ut there are other things that should be done prior to getting there. From a construction perspective, I like to think of this as the ins and outs of construction. Going into construction, .the first and most important step is designing out waste in the first place and securing the right materials. Coming out of construction, you have recoverable material, but also considerations around building operation. Of course in design, you start with the end in mind to reach circularoutcomes. You have to design for adaptability, disassembly, deconstruction and recovery. So recoverable, reusable and recyclable materials are a priority, which I'll talk about next as our accessible connections and mechanical joinery rather than chemicals. For example, glues to enable efficient and effective, recoverable deconstruction and adaptable design is vital so that the end of the end of life of a building can be extended rather than having to demolish and rebuild too soon. At the procurement phase, material selection provides a great opportunity to reduce embodied emissions and embed recycled products. And Australia's recycling industry makes so much stuff from low carbon bricks, from organic waste to road based asphalt additive made from, for example, toner cartridges to outdoor furniture from soft plastics, the mulching garden organic and much, much more. A nice example that I that I've come across recently is that the forth we're going to see some forthcoming plant in New South Wales in the form of the SaveBoard facility, which will be established, I think, sometime next year. Right now, they're operational in New Zealand. Tetra Pack has teamed up with SaveBoard to transform cartons to building material like plasterboard equivalent. Those recycled boards are also 100 percent very recyclable back into new board. And then there's the circular opportunity that construction and demolition processes offer. Construction and demolition has the highest recycling rate of all recovered resource drain compared, for example, to municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste. And many, many leading C&D waste management companies are on a rise to the top looking at diverting somewhere between 90 an 97 per cent of waste from landfill. A little later on, of course, you'll hear from ACOR member Bingo, who are doing an outstanding job in diverting C&D resources from landfill and bringing these resources back to the market. And so much can be recovered from construction and demolition sites, for example, bricks can be recycled back into a garden bed material, timber into mulch, leftover polished polystyrene back into useful packaging and road base back into road base. Another neat example of product stewardship is that of Dulux, who work on site with large construction company to collect and recycle water based paint, drums and pails, and then reprocess these back into saleable sundry paint items to sell for Australian hardware stores. Diverting resources from landfill and recycling them back into recyclable materials is a really important priority. Finally, we need to think about when buildings are operational. It is essential that we are properly aware of the right recycling practices and can recycle properly. There are opportunities within the home and work to ensure that we recycle right. A key element is to address our typical set and forget recycling mentality. The fact is that recycling technologies and practices evolve and change and can also be different depending on where we are. So, for example, we're less likely to have access to sophisticated recycling plant in remote reaches of central New South Wales than in an urban environment. So it's important to check what should and shouldn't go into your available recycling bin. Not only that, but policies change. So, for example, the export ban on different types of waste that is kicked in over the last year and will continue to roll out over the next couple of years, will have an impact on how we are able to recycle and what we're able to receive as we transition to that full capacity to process everything onshore. Another element to think about is how you lead by example. Workplaces can really influence people's behaviour when it comes to ensuring diversion from landfill. The fact that cleaning and collection processes are visible and influence how people interact with recycling is really important. We've all heard stories I think of people witnessing general waste and recyclable materials being put into the same skip, for example, by cleaners. This can influence our own behaviours at the bin and our faith in the recycling system. And so it good to make sure that when you are undertaking these practices, particularly in a business context, that you are showing some leadership and helping to influence behavior. Ultimately, the old adage of what gets measured gets managed is relevant for good recycling outcomes so programs like NABERS waste could be a really good way to raise recycling consciousness and improve waste reduction outcomes. One of the great things about Australia is our broad desire to support recycling. The flip side of this is in effect called wish cycling, whereby the wrong thing is putting to the recycling bin in the wish that it will get recycled. But it does result in contamination. Not everything should go into the recycling bin. For example, soft plastics get ensnared in recycling machinery and broken glass and food waste just end up becoming a burden for recycling to dispose of when they're putting the wrong bins, creating an extra cost to councils and communities. The golden rule is, if in doubt, check it out, and I'm fortunate enough to be working with an organisation that has helped to lead the development of a tool that can help everyone to do check it out. Recycle Mate is a tool for households. Soon, there will be a commercial application, hopefully in the not too distant future, but it's intended to take the confusion out of recycling. Recycle Mate is an artificial intelligence backed, community driven tool which tells you where to dispose of items based on where you are. It provides specific geolocated information about disposal options of household items with the aim of improving people's choices in recycling, reducing contamination in curbside bins and increasing the recovery recyclable and reusable products. Originally, the idea was to tell people which bin to put things in, but the fact is that several things should not go in the bin like batteries and hazardous chemicals, for example. Also, there are a lot of recycling options outside of curbside systems like electronic goods that can be dropped off at for example, your local officeworks and runners, which can now go to many sports stores to be recycled into things like gym mat. Recycle Mate provides this information by telling you which bin to put stuff in or showing you about alternative disposal locations. So from every level, you know, when it comes to designing and constructing a building all the way through to your household activity, there's a really important role for people to play and for everybody to play it, particularly in the context of buildings. Every phase of that building life cycle is an opportunity to acquire zero waste hierarchy principle and embed circularity. That's it for me. Thank you. Tim [00:13:22] That was pretty good. Thank you very much, Suzanne. Just checking to see if we've got questions in the Q&A. I'll start off and I'll start off by saying a comment. Recycle Mate seems like a fantastic initiative, and I can't wait for it to be available. And you highlighted there the difficulties of recycling in different locations, particularly remote areas. What can we do for these remote areas? We would have no, they end up with having everything in a tip, basically. Are there other options for remote communities? Suzanne [00:14:06] There are, and so. one of the really good things about this moment in time is that there is unprecedented, I would say, Nik, you might have more history in this investment in recycling infrastructure and capacity. And so through the Recycling Modernisation Fund, we've seen a good effort made on remote communities and regional areas on delivering infrastructure to there and skilling up. At the same time there might just be different ways that you engage with recycling, depending on geography. So one example might be, for example, when you're in a densely populated urban area, we have by virtue of the population we have access to a lot more sophisticated plant that might process things like glass say from bottle to bottle. In less populated areas it might not be economical to transportsomething as heavy as glass all the way into those areas. And instead, you might find that it is more economical and really productive to downcycle into something like road base, which can be applied locally. So there's a balance between driving towards really high levels of technical sophistication that might that might rely on forms of population density and thinking about where you can go circular in a local way too. Tim [00:15:41] Thank you for that. There is a question which is it's a personal one in a way for you about your role at ASBEC and your role now. And if so, did you see it as much crossover? I know you're the perfect person for the last role and you're also the perfect person for this role. You're seeing things from both sides now, I suppose. Suzanne [00:16:03] Yeah, absolutely, I get that I feel like I'm on the other side of the looking glass when I was as ASBEC, it's almost a decade that the conversation had really matured and coalesced around net zero. And industry was, I'd say, in at least amongst the 30 peak bodies that were ASBEC members and the countless institutions, including SBRC there was a real shared context around the priority of net zero and the methods that that could be delivered. In the last few years I was there, of course, there was a raised consciousness about circularity, but the question of how to still hadn't really been unpacked and it still is being unpacked. In fact, across the whole of the economy, not just within built environment. Moving over into ACOR, I can see from the other side what it looks like and what the challenges are to circular outcome and how important it is. For example, from a design starting from a design perspective or a producer perspective to, as I mentioned in the presentation, start with the end in mind. But also, I guess the challenge is that the recycling sector faces in making sure that they can deliver recycled and recyclable outputs. So I feel like I'm in ACOR helping to deliver some of the solutions to circular economy and being able to see much more clearly what it will take to help to get there, including, for example, you know, ensuring that we're able to engage in really thriving in market, which the building sector must be part of. Ensuring that producers take responsibility for what they deliver into those markets. Ensuring that consumers and I mean consumers at all levels from business all the way through to individuals in households understand how to recycle right. But the kind of the bottom, an invisible layer, which is something that some I'd say at least Nik is quite familiar with is the regulatory landscape, which probably would take another day to discuss which I'd say hasn't quite yet caught up with circular priorities and they’re still more or less tackling the challenge of waste management in a linear in a linear context. And that was something that was very invisible from a built environment perspective until I crossed over to the other side. Tim [00:18:31] I've got two more questions that I was really good. The first is about looking to the future. We heard earlier that the circular economy is going to be a great employer of people and of cleverer people. But what do you see as being the biggest industry evolutions in the next five years? Suzanne [00:18:51] That's a big question. I think. What do I see, what do I hope? Can I start with hope? One is and this is an age old dialogue in sustainability networks, but true ownership of what is what are now conceded market externalities, ensuring that producers take responsibility one way or another, either through voluntary or mandatory measures for what they deliver into the market, ensuring that there is a fundamental prioritisation of recycled materials back into the market and that we shift standards and specifications, for example, in a way that helps to prioritise that and make sure that we are delivering quality, durable, safe products but recycled products back into the market. And that takes not just kind of a technical shift, but also a cultural shift to make sure that the supply chains regear to embed that back in. I think there's also necessary technological shift that are and will continue to evolve in terms of addressing what we now consider hard to recycle materials and particularly in a composite context, and making sure that as we evolve to recycle and rerecycle certain materials, soft plastics are at that cutting edge and how we through chemical recycling address the volume, how we at the same time address, as I said, brought, you know, at the beginning of this comment, what is what is coming into the market and how we avoid and reduce what comes in in terms of how to recycle material and how we ensure that we reuse and reuse and reuse until we need to recycle. Tim [00:20:47] Thank you very much. Probably got time for two more questions before we let you go. Do you think there is any? I think you've already answered this a need for product stewardship regulation. Suzanne [00:21:01] I like to borrow the Green Building Council language in that context and talk about carrot sticks and tambourine. Yes, is the answer, and more so you need to make sure that there is a very high incentive to do so. And that and I think really there is a huge consumer appetite. And so already a lot of companies are at least promising better sustainability outcomes from what they produce. At times, I'd say there's a gap between what might be promised and what's actually delivered, and I'm hoping that that gap is due mostly to naivety rather than deliberate greenwashing. But that gap has to be addressed because I think there's a lot of rhetoric around delivering strong circular and recycled outcomes. And it needs to be met with actual real outcomes. So. We do. There is kind of there is work to be done in the voluntary context, but I think consumer engagement really helps with that and being able to like the, you know, what is it, the old healthy heart tick being able to confirm that you are doing the right thing by the environment and by people is an important thing on a mandatory level. Yes. Look, I think the sector would really like to see targets for recycled material in particular at a government procurement level. You know, with government being the largest, if not only, I don't know how to how to how to make that one out infrastructure client in the country and taxpayer funded at that, that I'd say that there is a responsibility to embed circular outcomes in whatever is paid for by the taxpayer and it's good for everybody. And then on top of that, the tambourine making sure that we shine a light on and celebrate whatever we are achieving and instil good, strong confidence by everybody in, for example, recycling. I think the last few years have to some extent been a bit hard from a consumer perspective to have good faith that we're achieving recycling outcomes. However, we are recycling, we're making stuff the sector is delivering and we are recovering so much. And Nik can take you through some great examples of that and making sure that that's really visible and we take pride in what we're able to achieve and see a lot more of it domestically. Tim [00:23:34] I think that's really important as well, that we need to shine the light where it's worth shining. Last question for you Suzanne and I think it comes from the heart. It's from Ross - he's an apartment dweller and he doesn't have access to FOGO recycling. So his question is, are there solutions that have been implemented for large residential complex, greater than 100 people to reduce their waste and become more circular in an apartment context? Suzanne [00:24:07] There is work underway, I think that there are and I do apologise for not being across the detail specifically. There is a big interest in seeing multi unit residential being better serviced in terms of recycling outcomes. And I'd say, I mean, you have to realise there are over 500 local government areas across the country and many of them do things quite differently to each other. And so some are leading, some are lagging. There are diverse opportunities, but multi-unit residential and also multi-use developments are an absolute area of concern. There is a growing consciousness and action on how to address it. We're not there yet. More work needs to be done and I think also more householders need to push for this too. So thank you for that question because I think it's important to make sure that that individuals like Ross keep pushing for it as well. We all work together toward that outcome. Tim [00:25:14] OK, well, thank you very much, Suzanne, for that wonderful presentation and feeling so many different questions, really. It's a pleasure to have you at the SBRC again, even though it's virtual. And thanks once again. Suzanne [00:25:29] Thank you. And I wish you all the best for this great symposium. Tim [00:25:33] Thank you so much. So our next speaker, I'm delighted to introduce David Heller from Mirvac. David is the National Operations Manager for Master Planned Communities Division. He is a homebuilder superb that he has actually built over 7000 homes during his 20 year career at Mirvac. So he's made a big dent into not only the provision of homes for people, but the work that they've done at Mirvac has sought to reduce waste, increase the amount of prefabrication and offsite construction in their projects. And I've met David a number of times through PrefabAus as the peak body for the prefabricated construction industry and attended many of his presentations. So I'm really keen to hear what he's going to tell us today about reducing construction waste over to you David. David [00:26:30] Thank you very much, Tim. And I just want to thank everyone for obviously the opportunity University of Wollongong, and SBRC. Firstly, I'm a little bit under the weather, but I was not going to cancel on this, but I really like these opportunities. So apologies if I cough a little bit of the way through, I'm going to try and get through it as efficiently as I can. Thanks for the intro, and I really do want to start by saying that firstly, Suzanne’s presentation was fantastic, actually ties into a lot of what I'm going to say. So well done Suzanne, thanks to the helping hand there. But we've got obviously a lot of discussions here and obviously reuse and recycle is one and Mirvac does really well in that space. We are one of the ones that partner well with waste providers like Bingo to get the 95 percent recycled. But today I'm going to talk about just reducing construction waste because we've for many years done really well of recycling. But if we're recycling and we're still having to manage 10 or 12 tonnes per house of waste, that's still a problem. So I'm going to sit and talk about a range of different things within the, I suppose, opportunities within Mirvac. And for today, I want to talk about just why, firstly, we need to reduce construction waste because there are many, many reasons and some not so obvious. There's also just some key factors for success that I really do want to focus on in today's presentation, keeping in mind, it's only 15 minutes, so I'm only going to scratch the surface and you'll probably see someone that's construction background to the core. I started in bricklaying of 13 years old, but most people that are deep in construction aren't usually in love with the concept of sustainability. I'm definitely one of those, so you might find a little bit odd, but at the same time, the passion that comes out of what I'm saying is because there is a severe importance for this in our industry moving forward. And I want to say the factors of the success we've had and the learnings. Also, I want to talk about how technology and digital engineering has been an absolute godsend in terms of being able to find better ways to reduce construction through the design. And I think Suzanne mentioned that as well, which was great to hear. And then I'll finish up with just a bit of a case study around prefabrication as being one area where we have found there’s a significant opportunity to reduce waste in construction. So firstly, why, you know, I recently read the National Waste Report by the government showing that 27 million tonnes of construction waste per year. This is effectively 44 per cent of the entire waste produced in this country. That is pretty scary in itself. And obviously, the social, environmental and economic costs are phenomenal. So there is a big reason why and another reason that I want to make mention of too. Having been at Mirvac for 20 years and pretty much done every job along the way, I can tell you that when you have that much waste on site it increases stress for the supervisors, increases potential risks of waste being everywhere increases cost increases the chance of programme delays. There are so many great benefits to reduce construction waste. Firstly, I also want to mention I'm pretty fortunate working for Mirvac. We have a corporate driver, which is from the top, which makes it a little bit easier for us to try these things. We have a range of things we're targeting. We're doing 25 per cent recycled content is going well, but also halving development waste, which is a big one. And most recently, we've been able to be carbon positive nine years ahead of schedule, which was recently publicised in the last week or two. So it's great for a corporate company like ours to be I feel responsible for leading the way. One of the reasons why I'm always enjoying putting my hand up for these things is because I think the industry needs real life examples of how it's done, because I think the concept of being able to think through ways in the hypothetical is great, but we were able to actually really try all these things and then share it back to the industry. So first, I want to start with the key factors for success in some of these might be obvious, but I just want to share in relation to some of the nature of how Mirvac's learnt these things. Firstly, timing is everything, and it's something internally in our business I struggled with a little bit is you must get in early to discuss the concept of the design and how that is going to potentially look at ways to reduce waste. Also, to again, using technology to reduce waste in construction is absolutely vital. We really can't do it with the old school adage of just looking at two dimensional plants. Probably the one that got the biggest bang for buck is the concept of collaboration with the designs, manufacturers of materials and the construction businesses to collaborate. Working towards this is the best way to collaborate and understand is to share the benefits for everyone, which sort of ties into that last element, which we learnt the most about is how do we collect and assess the data to continually share for everyone the benefits of reducing waste? So, I’ll dive into all those a little bit further. Firstly, timing is everything. There's a little graph we use within the Mirvac business. It's pretty simplistic and we make it like that on purpose. Early visioning stages is where the most opportunity for change comes. The further you get down the design development lifecycle, the harder it is to make these kinds of changes and as further you get down, the cost of that change increases quite significantly. This resonates pretty well within our business, and it's starting to also resonate externally with our supply chains as well. Secondly, just the hierarchy of waste management. I like this slide I stole from the internet somewhere, and I'll be honest about that. But I like it because the aim is to eliminate or reduce, not just manage and it, but we are really trying to eliminate through design. So we're not having to deal with that on the construction site because reducing construction waste when we're in construction, it's a little bit too late to get anything in terms of the major change. So how is the best way, as I've mentioned before, digital engineering. So this is something that I think most people on the line today would probably understand. This is no new scenario, but I wanted to talk today about how we utilise technology and then in order to first understand the model a little bit better doing the design discussions in an earlier phase, you can start to then do your 4D planning of the site, which also allows us to be able to manage deliveries, waste and the like. The 5D quantification has been a godsend for us, someone that's got a bit of an estimating background, as well, the old school days of a highlighter on a scale rule to figure out how many materials you need and wonder why we overorder, overdeliver on site. Well, the model gets that to the nth degree. Extracting that information allows us to be much more closer when it comes to material procurement. Also, the model allows us to partner with the supply chain and unlock opportunities for free fabrication, and I'll talk about why that saves a lot in waste as well. Also capturing data and extracting data. The amount of data that lives in the model is really where all the answers are understanding the material sizes and how that correlates with designs of products and being able to establish how we can also use these models for AR and VR to give the visualisation opportunity for the teams to be able to look for opportunities. So this is something that I just recorded the other day while I was looking for one of our models this is a project we have coming up. And I think what I want to say is this is not actually too difficult. This is a software called Revizto that we use. And for ever and a day, our construction teams would sit around a table with two dimensional drawings and try to establish what opportunities for improvement in efficiency. Now we've got the opportunity to use the technology. This technology is something that can give us better understanding of dimensions, how we can look at different ways to adjust our house dimensions to suit material standard sizes, or talk to the material manufacturers about how they can adjust their sizes a bit more with our dimensions. It also allows us to start interrogating 2D plane on the 3D overlay. This also gives my construction team a far better opportunity to just really understand ways in which we can develop more efficiencies on the ground. These sorts of things is not something that is ultra expensive anymore, either, so I do encourage more and more these opportunities for talking with university students because you're the next generation that when you get into the industry, this is the only way you're going to be doing it in the old days of two dimensional pdfs have got to be over soon because it's just not the way to get efficiency. I will say that when we get that first layer, we then take it to the second layer and say, well, I can now start partnering with the partnering with the supply chain. So we have on the left hand side our digital model on the right hand side of the model from the manufacturer. As you can see, on the right hand side, you can see materials fixed to the external cladding. External cladding is where we get most of our waste. You can see the odd shaped pieces of that cladding - it's allowing us to understand what are the inefficiencies and where do they exist. So this is how we can interrogate way before we get to site and try and reduce the waste. I think the next thing I want to talk about is Mirvac pre-fab journey that is also so many benefits, but one is around sustainability reduction in the carbon footprint of construction, but also in waste reduction. And the way we've done that has been capturing and learning from the data. But we've been doing this for quite a while now, and I've got to say it's not been all roses. We've learnt over a long period of time in a lot of different ways. We started with a pretty exciting 30 percent waste reduction and then we started to generate and interrogate the data and wonder, how could we increase that? Over the last eight years, we've been doing more and more with prefab and getting more and more benefit in waste reduction. Now, and most recently, we are consistently getting at least 50 percent reduction of waste on site, which is phenomenal shift for us. And everyone says to me straightaway, yeah, but you're doing prefab. So is it the waste just in the factory before anyone else that the answer's no. The ability to control waste in a facility compared to on site is chalk and cheese. We have a significant benefit through using prefabrication, and we're starting to use bathroom pods as well now, where bathroom pods are quite commonly used in apartments, not many people are using it in housing, and we're seeing even better ability to save on construction waste generated on site. Some of the other ones that I really want to focus on this, as well as being a very important part, we both need to understand where are the waste issues? So being able to partner with our waste contractors like Bingo and all those that we used to understand, what are they taking away from our sites and where are the big issues? We have to learn the benchmark first before we focus on where our priorities are. We've understood that we want to focus on things like external cladding and timber concrete because that's where most of the waste comes from. We also need to understand that the data also converts into dollars. You know, we spend a lot of money dealing with waste every single year, and it's something that when we can start to pick apart where we spend our money, we can start reframing the benefits for the wider business. And a lot of people jump on board when you can put a commercial benefit overlay into the business. So as I said, I'm going to run through this quickly, and I just want to summarise because it is quite a lot of words, I just chucked out there in 10 minutes, but basically we must work together on this, and this is not a, you know, fanciful let's sit in a room, hold hands and sing Kumbaya, and I really do feel like the industry starting to get on to this. That individual brilliance is not going to get this. The collaboration is the only way we move forward. So firstly, awareness and education, we need to keep sharing the information. We need to start early in the design and we need to promote the benefits so everyone wants to jump on, this doesn't feel forced to. We also need to know the cost imperative to and all of those financial benefits. I spoke to you about the projects that we are having coming up, where we're going to usher the digital model that's 180 homes and the entire project we're going to do with prefab. We know that we roughly do in the industry does on normal sized homes, approximately 10 tons of waste, per home, it's pretty embarrassing. With using prefab on this project, one hundred and eighty homes we are forecasting to save in the order of twelve hundred tons of waste, that will not come to site. When you can forecast that up front it actually gives it a lot more impetus for people to want to jump on board, and that then shows the project and operational cost improvements for everyone who is involved. And that ties into the next one, the responsibility of all stakeholders. It can’t be construction guys, you sort it out when you get to site. It can’t be designers, you guys work it out before and we'll get the benefits later on. It's got to be a combined attempt towards getting this benefit. We also need to keep using technology, use the digital technology platform that exists - it is so advanced these days and also continue to look for unlocking opportunities for prefabrication. And finally, last slide. We need to build a culture of shared ownership to eliminate this waste. It has to be everyone's input. It has to be everyone's responsibility. We also need to continue to utilise the DE, just to maximise the design for manufacturing assembly opportunities because prefab really does take it to a next level in reducing waste. We need to keep improving the data capture and use that to create transparent and informed decision making about how we make selections on materials and discuss with our supply chain and just keep engaging all stakeholders to reduce this waste. So apologies if I've gone too fast there, it's just my nature, I'm pretty passionate on this subject, but I will leave it there and I'll just thank you again for the opportunity to talk about this. And honestly, I have 500,000 extra slides and 500,000 extra words to talk about on this because this is something we have learnt so much over time. And I'm more than happy to share any further details after this session, and thank you again for the opportunity to talk today. Tim [00:41:11] Thank you so much, David. I'm always impressed to hear what Mirvac are doing and your passion always comes through. I love that idea of collaboration and sharing benefits. And I think we might hear some more of that when we get into our panel session. David will be staying with us for the panel session, and so I'd ask you to hold your questions for that and we'll go straight into our panel session where we've got another set of short presentations and then we'll have all the experts available to answer questions together. And our moderator for the panel session will be Makrita Solitei, our Ph.D. candidate here at the University of Wollongong. The first presenter? Well, I'll just tape with the presenters are we've got Nik Comito from Bingo Industries and Emma Heffernan from Architectural Engineering here at the University of Wollongong. So Nik, I've stolen your your bio from the Fifth Estate. So if I've got anything wrong, it's all my fault. You're head of sustainability at Bingo Industries and Bingo Industries is not a gambling organisatio. actually we all see your bins around the place. So it's a very big organisation in New South Wales in particular, providing waste management services and recycling centres. And I'm impressed by the way bingo goes about the compliance of sustainability. And you're not just dealing with waste, but you're trying to deal with the problem of waste, which I think is a wonderful aspect to your work. I love the work that's going on in relation to the Recycling Ecology Park at Eastern Creek. I'm not sure if you're going to cover that in your presentation, but I might ask you questions about that. And you've been around in other industries. I see that you've been director of sustainability at Optus and also Australia Post. So I hand the floor to you, Nik, and thank you very much for being here. Nik [00:43:11] And thanks very much, Tim, and I'm dependent on Emma here to switch through Slides so we’ll jump onto the next one. Thanks, Em. And the next one again. So first of all, thanks very much for having me again. Like David, we are very passionate about sustainability and what we're doing. Interestingly, just think from a company perspective and what I think is a really interesting facet about what we do in particular and some of the other waste, I guess some of the other people in the sector are starting to move this way is we're really using the levy to be able to help us to make more money because the more the less that we put into our landfills, the less we have to pay for levies to be perfectly candid. So recovery makes a lot of financial sense. So we're very much an advocate of standardisation of those levies across the board and also having that levy at the right levels so that it does actually divert waste from landfill that will sort of really stimulate innovation, in my opinion. So just very quickly on this slide just to give you a bit of an idea. We're currently in New South Wales and in Victoria. We've got a large than metro footprint, but that's predominantly where we play. We've just recently been bought out by Macquarie Infrastructural Assets. And I guess part of our business strategy is to geographically expand, but also vertically expand. So we're going to see that sort of happening over the next year or two and we'll see that footprint change. But a bulk of our work is in New South Wales and Victoria. Move to the next slide, please Emma. Thank you. Company overview. We do look after commercial waste as well. A large majority of what we do is through the construction and demolition. Why so we deal with contaminated soils and a raft of other things. Another important facet of what we do is we actually manufacture the bins. A lot of the bins that you see around the trucks are manufactured by Bingo. So we actually do go through that process of manufacturing onshore in Australia. Jump to the next slide. Thank you. So and as Tim was touching on and again, this is just going to be a brief overview. So I'm not going to stick too long on my slides. We do have a fairly significant facility, our Eastern Creek, and it's a shame we were going to try and get the class there. But unfortunately, with it's just the way that it's played out this year was not tenable, which is unfortunate, but it's quite a significant facility. We have just basic we're under commissioned a brand new facility out there, which was absolutely named MP2, which the materials processing centre. It's the second one and it's a large facility that has quite a lot of capacity. We envisage that that will see us sort of move up towards a 90 percent recovery rate. We're currently at about 83 percent recovery of what comes through the door. The truth is, depending on customers and how it comes through, we are able to achieve higher rates than that. However, this is just the aggregated total for that facility. We do have a master plan for that facility, and we are taking a look at the options to actually increase recovery through looking at the residuals. And that's something that's really important to us because that can help us to push up closer to that, that 95 percent, which is what we're really focussed on. Next slide thanks. OK, just to touch on this very briefly, so the Green Building Council has a responsible construction element within their brand new waste management area, and there is that there is points allocated to it and effectively it's taking a look through environment management systems and plans. And it's really good to see these flags within that. What's interesting, as well as within that operational waste component, they've actually touched on the design, which is really important because where the challenges are for a lot of organisations, the buildings aren’t designed in a way to actually manage waste appropriately. Now that might be out on the floor, but also when you get down to actually collecting all of those bins together. So we end up with issues and that's where we end up with issues, with people being able to treat waste properly. Hop to the next slide. This one's just a very high overview to give you an idea of some of the, I guess, the major types of streams of waste that can end up coming through us and then what we effectively do with them. We do have we do have a landfill at site and we do utilise that, particularly for contaminated waste like asbestos contaminated waste, but also for our residual. But as you can see, a lot of material is actually separated at the site. The brand new facility I did talk about actually has a whole raft of new technology in it that allows us to optically sort, but also uses AI to help us to actually, realistically, really, I guess, recover as much as possible of those streams that are coming through. And we're also starting to just to start to play with robotics, in fact. David, it's actually been some work that we did with Mirvac that is really sort of helping us to sort of move down the pathway of, I guess, furthering our digital assets to make sure that we're trying to improve the way that we're able to separate, but also, more importantly, report on that as well. It's a critical piece of work and Mirvac has been really on the front foot in terms of really achieving their goal of 100 percent diversion from landfill. Next slide, please. And just on the back end, we do actually generate, particularly with the bricks and concrete, as you would imagine, different ranges of aggregates that we can utilise different timbers and mulches. This is quite important and I think that we're really waiting to see the market really get some clear indicators for the use of these products. We do have some specifications in New South Wales through the I think it's transport now, but it was the RMS. So we do have some sort of specifications for some of the products, but we are really sort of yet to see really full uptake of full circular outcomes. And it's really interesting because I think there's some fantastic stories to be able to be told about taking waste from facilities and then being able to reutilise it back at those facilities or other sort of programmes where it's relevant. And I do touch on decarbonisation here as well at the corporate level. We're committed to alignment with the science based target. We're going to be net zero by 2040. We will be 100 per cent renewable electricity at all of our facilities by 2025. Now on the carbon side, I see there’s two elements. First of all, there's the embodied carbon of the products that we produce, but then it's also our operational carbon footprint is really important because then that helps to really flag, I guess, the right indicators for our customers and our suppliers our intent in decarbonisation and helping to, I guess, really move the needle in terms of decarbonising across the whole value chain. And that's what I've got, Tim for now. Thank you. Tim [00:50:15] Thank you very much. That's pretty impressive. And I think it ties in quite well with what David was saying, and it's nice to see there is a link between what David's doing and what you're doing, and that it is that collaboration is happening. So we will be having a Q&A session after our next speaker. So I'd like to introduce Emma Heffernan. Emma is a senior lecturer in Architectural Engineering. She's actually the programme director of the Architecture Engineering Programme at the University of Wollongong and has been a research fellow here at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre prior to that. She's an architect for those over a decade experience of architectural practise in the UK, was also a PhD from the University of Plymouth and has a beautiful English accent. Over to you, Emma. Emma [00:51:12] OK, thanks, Tim. Sorry, you have me laughing at my accent, right? So I'm going to be as the last speaker in these morning sessions, probably touching on lots of the things that other people have said before me. I've been working on a project at the moment with Tim and with Leela, who's done the fantastic organisation of this symposium today and the Sustainable Homes Challenge. We're doing an online course for Construct New South Wales, and it's allowed us to delve into how can we deal with construction waste. So there's going to be a lot of overlap and it's great to see that we're all talking about the same things, and this will hopefully wrap things up with a good, a good, positive list of strategies that people can actually work with when they're trying to think about reducing construction waste. So we've got a growing problem of construction waste. As David said, 44 percent of Australia's waste is produced by the construction and demolition sector. And whilst we've been reducing household waste by 20 percent over the last 13 years, construction and demolition waste has increased by 32 percent over that same period. So there's obviously something that we need to be doing as a sector and as Suzanne said, we're starting to talk about circularity. But really, you know, we've got to grips with operational sustainability, operational energy, but we need to start to think about what goes into our buildings and what comes out of them. And a statistic that shocked me when I came across it: waste collection and disposal costs the Australian construction industry $2 billion every year, and Leela and I have had conversations with David and his colleagues at Mirvac. And you know, I know that Mirvac has an interest in actually working out what the true cost of waste is, because that's the costs that people are paying to collect and dispose. But what about the actual materials that have come to the site that they've already paid for and they're chucking into the bin? And what about the labour that's managing those materials and the administration costs of managing those materials? So, you know, part of that is that we need to reconceptualize waste as resources. So what we've done is we've gone through looking at best practise from around the world, thinking about waste minimisation strategies for the construction industry. And we've broken those down into three stages things that we can do before construction, pre-construction, things that we can do during construction and things that we can do after construction. And it was kind of and I think this overlaps with previous speakers. The largest number of strategies that we came up with were actually at the pre-construction stage. And so, you know, everything that people have been saying, it's about that avoiding what can you do to stop the waste from actually even stop the materials from getting to the site to become waste? So things like making waste a priority, so setting targets which Mirvac are doing a great job with doing that. Projects can have a waste champion, someone who takes the role of championing waste reduction every step of the way, Using existing resources. So that might be thinking about if you're dealing with a site that has an existing building on it, adaptively reusing using that building rather than demolishing it in the first place. Design strategies - so that's things like material optimisation, design for offsite construction, design for adaptability, design for deconstruction. Collaboration so again, crossing over with what David had talked about thinking about, you know, that design documents need to focus on that waste reduction, collaborating during the design process across the different design and construction teams, using BIM and developing a deconstruction plan. Things that we can do during construction - on site waste management. So, you know, having a decent site waste management plan and waste facilities. Nik's colleague Ros took us on a virtual tour of the Eastern Creek site yesterday and she was saying that far and away site separated or source separated materials are cleaner and far easier to go into the reprocessing process. Talking the talk. So that's always keeping waste on the agenda. So monitoring it, reporting it during construction, communicating and educating so that people on the site all know what the plans are and how they can play their own part. Construction methods. So things like thinking about the way that temporary works are done. So there are different processes. If you are using ply shuttering for your concrete form work then a large proportion of that at some point is going to end up in waste, there are other solutions that can avoid that. You know, thinking about leasing a service of lighting rather than actually procuring lighting, etcetera, in a way that we would ordinarily and using offsite construction and then also thinking about protecting materials during delivery and storage on site and, you know, procurement policies. So that might be agreeing with your supplier that they will buy back any unused materials if you have overordered. And then things that we can do post construction. So, you know, at the end of the project, and this is again something that David touched upon, that you’re actually evaluating. So at the end of the project, what lessons have we learnt, how did we go? We plan to do this. How did we meet those targets or miss them? What could we do differently? How could we do it better? Thinking about maintenance and building that into the design process so that things, you know, can be simply accessed and repaired rather than having to be quite destructive in when something breaks and has to be replaced. Having a deconstruction plan at the stage that it's been constructed so that people know how to take that apart. Again, this has been discussed. You know, Suzanne talked about using screws rather than glues. And then again, back to where we started from thinking about adaptive reuse. So that's kind of a whistle stop tour through the strategies that we identified. And hopefully you've got some good questions for us all. Tim [00:57:49] Thank you Emma. I'm going to hand over to Makrita now, and I will invite all the speakers to answer some questions. Makrita, if you’d like to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your work. I then we could get into the questions. We can't hear you Makrita Makrita [00:58:17] I will I think, is that better? Tim [00:58:21] That’s better, yep. Makrita [00:58:22] Awesome. I think I'll just swap computers. I knew I needed to have two at the same time because something will happen. But thank you so much for having me. Thanks so much to our panellists. That was such interesting and good findings like it excites me every time someone talks about reduction of waste circular economies and maybe because I'm biased, since that's my whole PhD for the past three and a half years and I'm coming towards the end and I'm like, yes, there is jobs in the market. No, I'm kidding. But that is something that's happening in the markets and that gives me so much courage. And so I'm looking at waste circular economies, particularly in Kenya, the global south, so focussing on the global south and because circularity has been happening there for years, but it hasn't been called that and people have been working within waste sectors and using those materials to build houses to build roads. But yet there is limited research in that space. So basically, my whole PhD is just trying to look through those supply chains bring waste because and informal sectors within the global south and trying to highlight the work that they've been doing for years and seeing how that fits within the general or the wider scope of a circular economy model. So that's about my Ph.D., but maybe just diving into the questions right now, and I have two questions for David and a few for Emma as more questions come in for Nik as well. And one of the questions for David is around scalability. And in the context of that prefabricated construction, do you find any limits on the scale of production for, say, bathroom pods? Do you need to be working with 100 homes or can you see this working for just an individual home market? David [01:00:13] Very good question, and to be honest with you, it is actually probably one of the toughest battles we have. The manufacturing supply chain for prefab elements in Australia is not very deep. It's actually quite new. Bathroom pods I'm not seeing too much of an issue because there are quite a few manufacturers that do large volumes every year. But to answer your point, yes. Unfortunately, if you're trying to do it for one home, you are not going to be commercially viable. We are getting it down to very small numbers, but the idea is to try and have the optimisation over a range of homes, range of projects around that site because the economies of scale are pretty important. In terms of prefabrication for pannelisation of walls and floors. Once again, yes, there is a much bigger benefit when you can do more of them. But we are finding that even a group of four homes and we're able to make it work by offsetting some of the benefits upfront to basically balance out the cost. Makrita [01:01:05] Yeah, and it's good that you brought up that cost factor there because the second question is around that efficiency costs and education or creating awareness. So one of the questions is around this. He or she is an engineer and is asking as someone who uses parametric modelling to design structures, they understand how cad and prefab can reduce help reduce that waste. However, the sentiment that medium and high density is too much of a cookie-cutter sort of model, and architecture has to lose its way to efficiency and cost reduction of over aesthetics and form. So how then can we address those form versus function debates, and how can we educate people and create that awareness to a majority of suppliers building construction and even just owners home owners? David [01:02:02] Firstly, the anonymous person you get the prize for the best question, because it is the literally the largest issue I've always had. Mirvac's an integrated model, which means everyone's in house, including Mirvac design, they have also being there for 20 30 years plus. Trying to convince people that we can have a middle ground has been tough, but we are finding it. The best way I can address this is to say those homes that are on my back screen, they were all down with prefab. The idea of trying to find the balance is to say that, and the best analogy I can always give is car manufacturing industry. And I like the Mercedes as an example. There are 50 types of Mercedes, but 70 per cent of those Mercedes are the exact same things door train, steering wheel, foot pedals all the same. But you can price it from 40 K to 400 K based on the other 30 40 per cent. We're using the same principle. I'm teaching our design teams that you can go for your life on facades, being able to put whatever you'd like because I don't want to work at a company where we're building the same house over and over again, either. We have to have pride in the fact that in this society, in Australia, aesthetics are very important to the customer market. But we try and get to that point of mid ground. Standardise optimise the basic dimensions - the house, bathrooms - standardise those and then use other elements that are most important – streetscapes, facades and go for your life in terms of variety. And we're finding that middle ground. Hope that that answers it. It's definitely not a battle that we've won yet, but we are far, far along the track. So great question. Makrita [01:03:35] Awesome. Thanks so much, David. And just a question here for Emma here is are there some facts that you've discovered along your research in terms of the new construction course that has actually surprised you. Is there something that's standing out that you're like, Oh, I did not expect that. Emma [01:03:52] I think the biggest one was probably the one that I touched on the cost, the cost to the industry and the, you know, as I said, that's the direct cost of the disposal, and it doesn't take into account all of the other elements that are related to that. So it's just huge. And you know, so that's why when people ask about cost and I'm sure that David would agree with this, that actually saving waste is saving money because, you know, it's just it's crazy to think that we put all of these virgin materials that people have put so much energy and effort and resources into that we chop them in half and throw half way and put half in the building. It's just it's yeah, I think I think that's surprising. And yeah, it's just the sheer scale of it. So it definitely flags it as something that we need to be thinking about on a daily basis. We just need to we need to work it out because it's going to have massive environmental and economic cost savings. David [01:05:07] Just add a little bit to that because it's a great point. The other part is understanding more of the different elements is actually part of why people are changing their minds to, for example, the frustration of we’re hiring the bins, bringing them to site people are cutting up materials and we're actually paying for air to be taken away because no one stacks a bin properly. I think Nik would probably agree with that. So we've got a scenario that you've got cost and frustration in the admin team, the site team you've got this idea of, you're buying materials to bring to site to chuck in a bin to take off site and half the time a three cubic metre bin’s probably only got one and a half cubic metres of actual waste. When you start to show all of those to a business, all of a sudden the cost starts to come into it and it becomes a benefit to do these sorts of things. So I think it's a very important part to people understand the cost benefits are actually there. Makrita [01:05:57] and you touch on something so interesting that in terms of mindset, and maybe this is more of an open question to all three panellists is how can then how can we drive the mindset change amongst every tier within the supply chain tier and everyone involved in trying to address waste reduction problems that we're currently facing in the building and construction? How do we change that mindset? David [01:06:21] I'm jump in again because I feel like this is what we've had to do the most of in the last couple of years and Nik sorry, I'm going to chuck to you too. But the biggest thing is what I've sort of said I'm understanding more than ever changing the mindset comes from teaching people the benefits to them. I used to think that teaching people about benefits for construction. You know what? My designers don't care about benefits for me. They care about benefits for them. Nik mentioned earlier about the concept, I'm so glad you said it Nik about the levees. The reality is the more we can share benefits either commercially or even just from an operational point of view. That's how we're changing mindset because people know what's in it for them. Nik [01:07:00] Yeah, I'll probably add to that mate, good points. I think that when we take a look at it ourselves and take a look at what's coming through to us and how do we change that a little bit. I mean, first of all, I mean, we do have a facility that's able to manage mixed waste, as we call it. It's much more expensive for us to put that through - your gate fees are much higher, first of all, and then we can't process that as well. But to be perfectly honest, and we do process it as well as we can, and we get very high recovery rates, but there's still some that slips through the gaps. Absolutely. So we really work without we try to work with a lot of our customers on on site separation and segregation. Clean streams allow us to really be able to sort of work with that material a lot better. I guess onsite education is huge too David, and that's probably one thing that you can think about as well and probably attest to that onsite education and making sure that you don't get a 3 metre bin with a metre and a half of material in it, and that's just really difficult to manage on site. And that's something that is, I think, a continual battle for the people in construction to be perfectly candid, to be able to get people to utilise them right. The other thing that I would call out is I would say that we also need to be careful that we're not trying to externalise some of this management as well, because it's very easy to be able to say subcontractors are responsible for their own waste as an example to try to offset it from going into bins or things like that. And I think that we need to be really careful with how we do that. I think that onsite separation and being able to deal with those streams is going to be a lot, a lot better for everyone, and we're going to get better outcomes. And back to the design point as well, I think it's a really important point. And because the truth is, I mean, we're talking about buildings that have probably got 40, 50, 60 life or not. David, that's probably about what, 60 years, probably about the life of the house. Maybe more. I mean, while we've got plenty of buildings that are 100 years old in Sydney. But just saying that, I think that it's really important that we start to design the design has to happen now because by the time we actually get to really see that modularization of those assets is still quite some time away. So we've still got quite a bit of transition time. So within that transition time how we actually making sure that we optimise what we do with those materials that we receive because it's not waste its resources in most circumstances. Makrita [01:09:24] And Nik, while I have you there, there's one question that I feel like most of our participants are sort of like wondering is are the levees that you mention, are they at the right level? And do levees actually cover the true holistic cost on waste? And just to add on to that question on levees is how then do you balance that financial side and encouraging waste reduction at the same time? Do you find yourself in a bit of a pickle sometimes, and you're like, How do I balance that at the end? Nik [01:09:58] Interestingly, no, we want to see the materials come through in a way that we don't have to put it into the landfill because that offsets our levy cost to our business model is almost based around that. So I guess to the point of your question around the levees, are they at the right level, New South Wales they're up there and they’re slowly increasing in Victoria over time at the moment. I think that standardisation of levees across the board as well, we'll see less of that what we saw in the past happening and lots of businesses were doing it and they were actually transferring waste up to places like Queensland because the levees weren’t there so it was just cheaper to actually ship waste interstate, which is insane. I mean, it's just insane, but it was an activity that happened commonly within the sector, really. And I think that the levees really gave us a good indicator for that to not to happen. So that's a really important one. I think that New South Wales is probably close to right. Maybe it could probably continue to increase a little bit more as we see those levees that are around about those levels or slightly higher. We do see that innovation starts to make sense in some of these really cool initiatives. I mean, some of the stuff that I'm working on, we're working with our innovation hub internally and taking a look at what innovations do we need to undertake to help us to start to really, truly realise circular. Now we're taking a look at some really interesting technologies around some of that residual to either methanol or residual to hydrogen, and then the viability of being able to use that back into our fleet. So that's something that we're genuinely exploring at the moment. So I think that the levees provide a positive indicator in terms of keeping the waste out of landfill and start to really put that commercialisation of projects up the ladder because it's expensive to put it into a hole. And I think that's really important. Makrita [01:11:56] Yeah, thanks. Thanks so much, Nik, for that. And there's a question here coming through for Emma. Before I hand over to Team C - I see a hand being raised there. I see you. Not that I'm ignoring you Team C. So is there a way of encouraging materials to be removed Emma carefully from a building, from building or from a building being demolished, particularly when you're looking at the DA level? Could there be some form of encouragement where these materials that are being removed should be reused or enforced to be reused? And whether as the OH&S levels prevents owners and also demolition companies from allowing willing people to remove them? I know that's a long question and I shouldn’t have rambled on like that. Emma [01:12:48] I'll try and answer it succinctly. It's a very good question. And then, you know, Valentina in the first session touched on things that are happening in Europe. There are business models that are developing in Europe, which are contextual as they need to be, within a region, so that might be Sydney, that might be the Illawarra. For example, if we were thinking locally where businesses effectively go and they do dismantle buildings and they create then a repository of materials that are available for other people to purchase and there’s that model exists now, obviously that is geographically it needs to be geographically related because otherwise we end up as Nik's just saying about waste being shipped elsewhere. You know, you're kind of defeating the purpose. In terms of enforcing that, I think again, I think we'll move in that direction and I'm not sure how. But over in the UK very recently, there was quite a high profile building, which was it was actually not given planning approval because of the embodied impacts of it. It was a bigFosters and partners building, which was effectively a kind of observatory, and it was a huge amount of materials. And that's showing that actually that was a planning appeal process, which was, you know, it was implemented based on the impact of the materials in that building. And Marks and Spencers, who are big retail chain in the UK, they're currently proposing to demolish a building they've got on Oxford Street and rebuild something of the same size. And there's a lot of backlash happening around that and people are saying, no, you need to adaptively reuse the existing building, not demolish it. I think that those things are going to start to come into the process. I think we're maybe a little bit further behind here, but things are also moving quite quickly. And you know, those impacts of waste and embodied carbon, it's all interrelated. So whilst I've kind of jumped from one subject to another, I think they are related. I can see that Nik’s unmuted himself. So I think he wants to say something. Nik [01:15:05] Yeah, thanks. Look, I've been involved in a process just recently where we're trying to undertake a project that would actually deconstruct and understand the building materials. I would just say that it is so hard, but that's okay because it's going to be hard because it's the first it's really embryonic, right? One of the interesting things is that people tend to point to everyone at the left as to who has the ownership and responsibility, which is really interesting. But I think those discussions need to be had. And because from a practical point of view, we need to understand where the different actors see where that responsibility lies and then start to allocate that out. I think it's viable. I genuinely do think it's viable. I think that it's not unfortunately going to be all the products from, I mean, when we currently think about building stock, it's not it wasn't ever designed to be pulled apart and reused. So some of those materials, it's just not going to be viable with. But there is going to be certain materials within that building stock that we're going to be able to reuse and repurpose. Absolutely. So it's about I think it's about being quite pragmatic with our approach and understanding that you're not going to nail it. It's not going to be 100 per cent fantastic repurposing. But I think we need to start somewhere and it needs to start now. But the conversations are happening around this, so it is quite interesting to be involved. And I think that for people that are really sort of entrepreneurial, there's some real opportunity there to be able to create some new business models that would actually, I think, be great indicators to the market for this to happen more broadly. Makrita [01:16:44] Thanks so much again, Nik. Team C, do you want to throw in your question now?. Steven [01:16:51] Yeah, those are great questions by the way and great responses, and Emma’s heard a lot about my little ideas during my thesis, but this question’s for David, just with those modular panels sort of system that you were talking about. I love that you started talking about, like standardising different shapes so you can do economics of scale. That’s something I talked about in my thesis as well, and I think that I why don't they just make these module panels like a smaller size and standardise the panel size so that at the end of the building life you can go beyond the reduction in construction waste, but then you can deconstruct the building instead of demolishgo through the natural normal linear model and then you can just deconstruct and then once you deconstructed all these panels, they can all be reused and then it can follow into Nik's part where instead of all this room for landfill and the manufactures like remanufacturing, it can just be all that freed up room could just be a storage plant for those reuse modules. David [01:18:10] You know what, this is why I do presentations like this, because those kinds of ideas are fantastic, it's what we need for the future of this industry to answer your question. That's exactly what we're going to try and achieve. You're talking about we're sort of calling as being a bit of a product catalogue of parts, if you like, and trying to make individual parts as efficient as possible and you're taking it a step further. And I want to give away too much. But the idea of not just being able to deconstruct to take away and reuse, but to deconstruct head back to the factory, upgrade to the latest technology, bring back to site and resuse for the same customer quarter of the time quarter of the price of the knockdown rebuild. Like, there are so many opportunities like that. The only thing that's going to continue to drain this scenario in this country, and this is no disrespect to our country, but we are a society that really likes the uniqueness of design. We have got to keep generating change in the mindset of the customer. And it is changing. We're seeing it already, but it's the customer in Australia that likes to stand on their front lawn and water their garden and say check out my house, its different to everyone else's. It's not like that in the Scandinavian countries or in North America. They've got a need for efficiency and performance. So where do we start? We have to start slowly, but definitely got a couple of opportunities where we're trying to standardise certain panels. But I will say it starts to head back to that point of compromising the design too much to standardise everything. So we're starting with take chunks at a time. We're getting certain panels that we know repeat themselves heaps – they are 600mm wide 2.8m high and we're learning that we can start with some and we'll always need to for the next I don’t know how long certain panels that are bespoke really designed to suit a design that the customer wants. But we're definitely heading down that path and well down for bringing it up because it's people like yourself that are really going to change their world on that, so well done mate. Makrita [01:20:07] Thanks so much, David. Thanks so much, Team C. Unfortunately, we've come to the end of our time, our question and answer. These are those type of seminars and webinars that need to go all day because we can spend a whole entire week here, and it's just going to be ideas and ideas and technology and entrepreneurialism. But for me, it's to say thank you and I'll hand it over back to Tim for more direction of the webinar. Thanks so much. Tim [01:20:35] Thank you very much, Makrita, and thank you everybody for fielding those questions. We've had a really vibrant morning, I think, and we started out with Ken McBryde. One of the things that I took from Ken's talk was about culturally sensitive consultation in Vanuatu that he brought his wife on the consultation. And the point he made there was that the women will tell different things to a woman and the men will tell different things to the men. And I think that that to me, was a nugget that I took away from that. And his journey from plastics to wood and plastic composites amalgams I thought is quite interesting, and I'm keen to follow that up. Monica Richter emphasised the importance of pre-design, and we saw that coming through really pretty much in a lot of the presentations, and this is a key to reducing the embodied carbon in our built environment. Usha, Jonas and Valentina - they came together with very rapid fire presentations, emphasising the importance of policy and research in the area. And I think the stat that we got from Jonas said only 8.6 percent of the world is actually a fully circular economy, so we've got a long way to go. And you also know so that there's going to be jobs in this area. It's big business and it's only going to get bigger. Then, Suzanne, I think she gave us the carrot stick and tambourine model. And I think today is part of the tambourine as well, and I think we should be shining a light on our students work. So I just put a shout out for this afternoons session where our teams of students are presenting the culmination of their work. They've come on a really extensive journey. They are a mix of team a mix of skills within each team. Some engineers, some social scientists, some well, every discipline that we have at our university and we've got about, we've got a total of eight universities involved in the in the programme. So quite a challenging thing and a shout out to Leela for organising that. David, I'll come back to the collaboration model that you gave us that to share the benefits. And I think that's really important. You also demonstrated how the digital modelling can lead you to more efficient design. So we're coming back to that pre-design issue that Monica mentioned earlier in the morning. And Nik, I really I'm impressed with the way your industry is embracing new technologies to take every waste as a resource. I think that that was the comment that we had, Suzanne, and you're actually doing that now in real time and investing in that very advanced technology that's going to help us down the track. And we finished up with Emma, who was staggered at the cost of all of this and we've been working on a project together. And this is, you know, it's a huge industry and I can see why Macquarie bought Bingo because this is such a growth industry in terms of what we need to do to improve our use of materials and get those materials back into great use. So I think there's a very strong business imperative. So that's my summary of the morning. If Leela’s there, if we can show the slide for the session this afternoon? So we can Leela [01:24:24] I’m just bringing it up now. Tim [01:24:26] And Leela is the architect of this symposium and has pulled it together and is the architect of the Sustainable Homes Challenge, which has been running over the whole session. We'll do another shout out to our sponsors, e and our team, our prize sponsors for this afternoon session at the Housing Trust, you've come in with the first prize, the Chief Scientist of New South Wales has sponsored this particular symposium. Engineers Australia BlueScope have been very generous with their cash prize donations as well, and overall the whole thing has come together because of the McKinnon-Walker Foundation. This is a foundation set up by a previous Vice-Chancellor, which provides the current Vice-Chancellor with a pot of money to do crazy things. And we were asked to do a crazy thing coming back from the Solar Decathlon at the end of 2018, and our plan was to run this in 2020 and COVID put a stop to that, and COVID made it an online event rather than a face to face event. But what we will hope to do is in the new year, our five teams who will be presenting this afternoon will have a reunion on campus and will get together and we’ll share all the learnings that we've had throughout this session. And we'll see where all of these very enthusiastic, clever future leaders of our industries are, where they're heading in the new year. So I'll invite you all to come back at two o'clock. Have a break now, have some lunch, and we'll be reconvening here at two o'clock, where our vice chancellor, Patricia Davidson, will be welcoming all the teams in and the judges, and we'll have a talk as well from Michele Adair, who is the CEO of the Housing Trust and has been instrumental in providing information for our students to design their house. 

Sustainable Homes Challenge 2021 Final Pitch Presentations

The Sustainable Homes Challenge 2021, powered by University Of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and funded by McKinnon Walker Trust, brings together students from all over the Australia to create sustainable, healthy and affordable homes.

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