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As the executive director of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), Suzanne Toumbourou says that sustainability and quality in the built environment are synonymous with each other and need to be incorporated holistically. Thankfully, her view is slowly but surely also now the view of the majority of people in the industry.

What are you looking for as a judge?

Genuine and broad sustainability inputs and outcomes.

How much do you think sustainable design has changed over the past couple of years?

The uptake of solar and interest in batteries.

What do you think is the most pressing sustainability issue at the moment?

Climate change. Buildings contribute to almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions and over half of our electricity consumption, through their operation alone. The technology exists right now to build to net-zero emissions and the industry must gear up to do so.

Do you think sustainability is still an add-on or is it incorporated holistically?

Sustainability is a moniker for overall quality. Absolutely – it must be incorporated holistically.

Where do you see sustainable design heading in the next few years?

Lacking a crystal ball, I can only hope that there will be an increased market appetite for sustainable and energy efficient buildings – which basically translates to buildings that are more comfortable and healthy to live and work in. These will likely incorporate onsite renewable energy, battery and electric vehicle charging stations.

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