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The Fifth Estate
Green buildings and sustainable cities – news and views
Fleetwood Australia chief executive Bruce Nicholson was quick off the mark on Tuesday picking up on NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully’s comment on television on Monday night that his government hopes to build 377,000 new houses to tackle the housing crisis.
And pointing to modular construction as “definitely a significant part of the solution”.
The ASX modular builder pointed out in a media statement that modular is 50 per cent faster to build, and reduces waste, but sadly we know it’s not cheaper. No matter -a big part of the bugbear of building comes from site issues – weather and so on.
Nicholson said his team could deliver up to 1500 new homes a year though its seven factories ini various locations.’
“Our 2023 housing designs are ready to go,” he said. “The new range meets new Liveable Housing Design Guidelines and the National Construction Code, with the quality homes rivalling traditionally constructed design.” 
We’re not sure about building to levels above the NCC and we’ll check but also want to hear from other builders who can use this efficient construction method to deliver above the NCC’s modest new standard of 7 NatHERS stars.
– Tina Perinotto
Health insurer Bupa has funded six shortlisted sustainability-based startups from Australia and New Zealand to develop a pilot solution or product through its Eco-Disruptive program.
Each shortlisted startup has received around $280,000 to complete their projects before reconvening at the November Pitch-Fest, where the companies will compete for votes from across the globe. The winner of the festival will receive around $380,000.
Competitors will deliver an innovative solution that will help improve people’s and the planet’s health.
Competitors and their pitches are:
Three young engineers are named winners of the 2023 CIBSE ANZ Young Engineers Award. The ceremony was opened by keynote speaker and environmental scientist Rob Gell, who believed young engineers are pivotal in achieving a sustainable future.
Winners are Max Eppelstun, winning the Mark Griffin student of the year, Vanessa O’Brien, winning the Haris Moraitis graduate of the year; and Deejan Ferrao, winning the Jack Pirie young engineer of the year.
Renewable energy producers Neoen has transferred ownership of 1000 hectares of land at Worlds End Gorge to the South Australian government, which will become a new national park.
The initiative is part of the energy company’s vegetation offset strategy as it continues with the construction of its 412 megawatt wind farm in Goyder South, known as the Goyder Renewable Zone.
The organisation will be working with the host landowners, the local Ngadjuri residents, Goyder regional council and the SA Department of Environment and Water on the project. 
The company claims that the new national park will protect several threatened species of flora and fauna such as the Pygmy Blue Tongue Lizard and the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard.
The World Wide Fund for Nature released a new analysis last week, finding that plastic pollution costs low and middle income countries (LMICs) eight times more than high income countries due to inequities in plastic waste management.
Mismanagement rates in LMICs are significantly higher, with what would normally cost high-income countries $US17 worth of lifetime damage to marine ecosystem services costing $US149 to LMICs.
LMICs are also particularly vulnerable to leakages of pre-production materials, found the report.
RMIT: A new Trades Innovation Centre will open at RMIT’s Bundoora East campus, with technology backed facilities to train students with job ready and future ready industry skills. Companies will also use the facility to learn, test, trial, demonstrate and access RMIT expertise in solving real world problems.
Students will utilise virtual, augmented, and mixed reality programs to develop welding and other practical skills. Graduates must be skill-ready to meet trade skill demands along the Melbourne northern corridor.
The course is developed in line with the Victorian Government Skills Plan, which projects that the state will need an additional 4000 electricians, 2400 plumbers and 500 refrigeration mechanics by 2025. RMIT claims that the centre will allow the university to meet the demands over the next three to five years.
UTS: A final year engineering student, Kyle Jewiss has been awarded the UTS Rapido Future Innovator Award for developing a low cost, portable plastic identification device at the University of Technology Sydney’s faculty of engineering and IT’s capstone showcase.
Amongst his peers, who were all challenged to apply knowledge and skills from their coursework to real-world issues, Jewiss’ environmentally conscious project was deemed the most likely to impact industry and society.
In his showcase, Jewiss claimed that plastic identification is an expensive process that requires high-end technology that is not affordable for small to medium-sized recyclers and businesses that want to separate polymer types.
The idea originated from an open-source project named the plastic scanner, a device that utilises discreet spectroscopy and machine learning to identify polymer types; Jewiss redesigned the device by using different techniques, boosting its data collection capabilities, accuracy, and suitability for commercial use.
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