Sustainability advocate recognised with annual Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize
A passion for tackling climate change through innovative engineering solutions and education as well as outstanding academic achievement has been recognised with the awarding of the 2014 Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize to graduate Lloyd Niccol.
Lloyd Niccol at the The Illawarra Flame House in Wollongong
Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize is awarded each year to a student graduating with a Bachelor degree who has demonstrated exceptional academic performance, outstanding leadership and is making a significant contribution to the University and the wider community.
It is UOW’s preeminent student prize and named in celebration of former Chancellor the late Justice Robert Hope. In addition to the medal, Lloyd will has nominated the The Australian Conservation Society and The Centre for Sustainability Leadership to receive the financial donation from UOW as part of the prize.
Lloyd, from Emu Plains in Sydney’s west, came to UOW after attending Penrith Selective High School, to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) as a BlueScope cadet. He graduated this year, achieving an overall WAM of 88 in his Bachelor of Engineering Honours – Bachelor of Commerce degree.
“I’m honoured to receive the award,” Lloyd said. “I hope this inspires other students and shows you can do incredible things at university and there are opportunities out there to do good things in the world.”
In January 2012 he became part of Team UOW, a student-led collaboration between UOW and TAFE Illawarra students and staff that demonstrated how to transform a typical 1960s fibro house into an international, award-winning model of sustainability. The Illawarra Flame house was entered into and won the Solar Decathlon China 2013.
During the two-year project Lloyd committed enormous amounts of time and skill to contribute to success of the project, and Team UOW continue to hold the record for the highest number of points ever scored in any Solar Decathlon competition anywhere in the world.
Lloyd’s role as project manager required him to manage a budget in excess of $2 million, as well as coordinate more than 50 students and staff in areas including design, construction, logistics, marketing and sponsorship.
“The experience was an invaluable part of shaping my career and education,” Lloyd said. “Much of what we learnt during our degree was applied to the project but you simply can’t get the sort of hands-on experience on the scale that we did with the Illawarra Flame project.
“I have a passion for sustainability in general and being part of that project has helped me where I am now as part of BlueScope’s breakthrough product innovation team developing sustainable building products and solutions.”
Chancellor Ms Jillian Broadbent AO, who is also Chair of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, said: “We are very proud of both Lloyd’s individual achievements and his leadership roles, including as project manager of the winning UOW team at the Solar Decathlon competition.”
“It’s outstanding young leaders like Lloyd who will help develop new technologies and industries generating job opportunities while ensuring a lower carbon economy for Australia.”
Lloyd Niccol, pictured with Chancellor Ms Jillian Broadbent, AO, at his December 2014 graduation ceremony.
In addition to the Illawarra Flame project, Lloyd has played a major role in the success of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) and BluesScope’s project to harvest electrical and thermal energy from the sun.
For his final year engineering honours project, he designed, developed and commissioned a rooftop test facility that is the centrepiece of the research facilities at SBRC.
Lloyd has been a proactive advocate for climate change action and has spoken of the need to retrofit Australia’s existing housing stock in order to decrease the nation’s environmental footprint at the TEDx UOW Liveability Conference.
He is also a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, an organisation founded and chaired by former US Vice-President Al Gore, and is an active proponent of climate change action in the local community.
“A big part of my motivation is social and environmental equity,” Lloyd said. “The effects of climate change will impact the most vulnerable members of society and to have an equitable world we need a sustainable environment.
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