Tag Archives: sustainability

Wise Earth, helping to make Australia a Leader in Innovation

Built Environment Innovation Network

Wise Earth has initiated the Built Environment Innovation Network which will be chaired by Garry Baverstock. Taking the form of a closed door, round table discussion; it will focus on exploring the future of innovation for the construction industry in Western Australia and Australia generally. Attending will be representatives from various divisions of the Institute of Engineers; architects and also materials suppliers with leading names such as Boral; BHP and Alcoa together with some representation from State government.

The agenda will focus on how to move forward on sustainability and energy efficiency in the built environment. Wise Earth is a sponsor of Innovate Australia and Garry is the founding director.

Wise Earth-Good research is the first step

Wise Earth- Good research is the first step

Outcomes synthesised from these discussions will be a catalyst for future public meetings where interested parties can attend to listen to relevant speakers that can outline the vision created at the round table discussions. These will be free talks aimed at informing and inspiring participants about the direction of innovation for the next 5 years with the aim of making Australia the number one country in innovation in the world.

Australia’s Innovation Ranking

Australia is currently ranked 15th in innovation and this initiative will aim to improving that ranking to 10th in five years and first after 15 years.

Photo Credits: Nick Melidonis, www.nickmelidonis.com



Sustainable City Masdar

The sustainable city of Masdar, designed to house 50,000 people and covering an area of 7 sq. km. on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, will be the world’s first carbon neutral city.

Whilst we in Australia are still debating how to tackle Climate Change and implement policies to shift from carbon-guzzling fuels to alternative energy, in a most unlikely place in the world, the United Arab Emirates is well on its way to making this shift. Based on policy decisions made years ago, the UAE already has real programs for a carbon neutral sustainable city at an advanced stage of implementation.

The State of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, launched their Masdar ‘Carbon Neutral’ City Plan and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (‘MIST’) in 2007. Four years later, sustainable city Masdar, with MIST (associated with USA’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at its centre, is under construction.

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology

Image Solar Panel Roof MIST

Sustainable City Solar Panel Rooftop

MIST, with onsite student accommodation facilities, solar, geothermal and construction prototype practice facilities was designed by Lord Foster (Foster & Partners Architects UK) has been completed. Abhu Dabi’s Future Energy Company (FEC’) Headquarters, also designed by Foster, is now under construction.

Sustainable City Promises

Image of model Masdar Sustainable City

Residential Quarter Model by Aedas Int'l

The water use savings for Masdar are huge. For a city of 50,000 people the sustainable city designers promise 8,000 cu m3 of desalinated water use compared to 20,000 cu m for a conventional city: a saving of $2 billion in oil use over 25 years.

Additionally, the design offers 99% recycling of city/construction waste and a car-free person-mover automated transport system with 200m maximum  walking distance from domicile to public transport.

Whilst China’s Dong Tan Eco-City has yet to get off the drawing board, the Masdar development is in its second stage.

Alternative Energy Companies Hub

Construction of a hub of 1,500 alternative and sustainable energy and associated technologies companies, including company giants like Siemens, are taking space around the administrative core of the city.

Benefitting From Results

It is the FEC management and the Masdar Institute that methodically plot the technological space and the standards that define this carbon neutral city. Their aim is to develop methodologies, intellectual property and hardware which Masdar FEC’s management will sell to the rest of the world:

Reproduce Masdar Elsewhere

The management of MIST distils the results of field testing from their various initiatives, including the use of materials and their  industry applications to define guidelines based on these results.

Abu Dhabi intends to leverage the knowledge gained in developing this sustainable city with a minimum carbon footprint, by building other sustainable communities elsewhere.

The Masdar project is developing through a six-pronged development structure consisting of:

1.    Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
2.    Masdar Research Network,
3.    Innovation and Investment,
4.    Special Projects,
5.    Carbon Management and
6.    Masdar Zone Development

What Australia Can Learn From Masdar

There are lessons here for Australia, specifically ‘how to implement and quickly achieve real results,’ in a situation where we are running out of time.

This article written by Sasha Ivanovich FRAIA

SIA Architects Pty Ltd



Sasha recently returned from a four week study of the City of Masdar as the recipient of the Commonwealth Endeavour Award and hosted by Aedas International in UAE and supported by RISE.

Energy Consumption Growth

By Garry Baverstock AM, Director of Wise Earth P/L

Introduction: Energy Consumption Growth

In 2005 World President of ISES Professor Yogi Goswami of USF in Florida, made a keynote speech at the ISES Solar World Congress in Beijing. There he predicted that most of the world’s uranium, gas, oil and much of the world’s coal depleted.

At many of my talks in Australia and overseas since and in private discussion with fossil fuel, and uranium experts I noticed that I have either been looked at as have ‘two heads’, or the ‘specialists’ simply disagree, but offer absolutely no factual back up for their opinions. I have had the impression that it is yet another instance of an ‘inconvenient truth’ as exposed by Al Gore, or just plain ignorance that gets no response of any worth to anyone except their feelings of security.

This article squarely presents the latest information from the USA that clearly states Goswami and I, by my re-quoting his 2007 facts, have been perfectly correct. Having experts around the world that there is not an issue with population growth, energy consumption and supplies, and worse still denying the climate change effects that are so evident all around the world, with record breaking extreme weather events on the increase. The reasons why are governments moving so slowly and so divisively are complex ad are more to do with human psyche, primordial subconscious desires, rather than facts and data.

Who should we blame for such collective insanity? Surely this places the climate skeptics and ‘anti-sustainability types’ as anti-humanity forces not just an annoying or inconvenient impediment of change, as currently and often portrayed in the media.

It is a simple question but a very complicated answer that will take more resources that I can offer as part of this article.

Suffice is to say that in my opinion, all us thinking citizens of the world need to have a good look at ourselves and our integrity and start to take more affirmative action to move to sustainable energy world as soon as possible and solve ‘Climate Change’ once and for all and save humanity as we know it at present.

Defense and Security Issues

The following information has been researched and supplied by Peter Kasprzak and indicates dire consequences for the world beyond 2050. So indeed Yogi Goswami was correct after all as well as my placing this issue in context of what we should be doing with the built environment.

U.S. defense and intelligence communities are increasingly focusing resources on the operational and national security implications of climate change and energy. With the most recent quadrennial report identifying climate change as a global destabilizing force for the first time, an executive order from President Obama on sustainability across the Federal agencies, and an uncertain and unstable energy market, the challenges before American defense and national security communities to mitigate climate impacts and energy risks, as well as establish a leaner, more effective operational force in a down economy are clear.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration world energy demand will grow by half in less than 25 years.

World Market Energy Consumption Graph

World Market Energy Consumption Graph

The world consumes 500 quadrillion BTU today, but it will need 750 quadrillion BTU by 2035. (BTU or British Thermal Unit is the heat that will raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU = 1054 joules = 0.000 293 kWh and 1000 BTU per hour = 0.293 kW)

This would seem on the face of it to be a bonanza. When I have brought up the consequences on world population levels I have been accused by some ‘sustainability’ experts as being somehow racist. In fact I am being very reasonable. Instead of short term cashing in on demand for energy and encouraging population growth in the world, I believe we should restricting growth, and if anything working out humane methods of gradually reducing it.

Why? Well have at look at the following predictions for population growth towards the end of the century based on energy supplies. Do you think we have a crisis looming? The predictions are alarming and the security and stability of the world will be in tatters.

Total Energy use by Type Graph

Total Energy use by Type Graph

Energy Use by Source

Energy Use by Source

Population Growth

Also take a look at the World Energy and Population – Trends to 2100 study, which asserts that world population, and therefore energy usage will dramatically decrease in the second half of the 21st century.

This time instead of BTU the energy is expressed in Mtoe (Millions Tons of Oil Equivalent), 1 Mtoe = 39652608749183 BTU

Here is the alarming prediction for world population that we need to take into account very seriously indeed.

Why are we continuing to encourage population growth to ”grow” our economy? It is nonsensical. I have heard predictions that the world population will reach 9 billion. How is that going to happen? Is it the wish of the ‘business as usual’ pundits who make millions out of increased consumption of raw materials, carving up land for housing estates built by large project building companies.

What sort of a world are we leaving for our children and grand children?

World Population Projection Graph

World Population Projection Graph

It is clear to me that business as usual is leading this world clearly to a hellish existence. Is it too late to wake up? A rational thinker would have to say the odds of creating a peaceful sustainable and ecological stable world for our children and grandchildren is not looking good!

If I ever doubted myself for over the last 40 years of pushing ecologically sustainable development and maximum use of solar energy in the built environment to help create a solar economy, then those doubts are now completely evaporated.

In summary, please expect a lot more from me, my allies, ‘converts’ colleagues and www.solar-e.com and my company Wise Earth P/L. I hope you can do the same or join us as we push forward and try to adapt and change, as we will need to within one generation! This includes being solid mentors for the next generation so they can be far more effective in their lifetime.

Climate Change Solutions need adaptive management

Climate change solutions desperately need bipartisan political will and the input from the right collaborative experts, led by highly competent project managers – in order to deliver the outcomes needed in a specific time frame.

A multi disciplinary  systems thinking approach is needed

This will require an adaptive management method and a multi-disciplinary approach, just as  that applied by Gene Krantz from NASA when his astronauts’ lives were threatened by mishaps, during the Apollo missions –  Apollo 13 being the most dramatic.
Space ship earth’ needs people who are going to apply systems thinking to a total system overview.

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