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Can Australia's cities be liveable, competitive, productive and sustainable?

24th Apr 2013

Romilly Madew, chief executive officer of the Green Building Council of Australia, wants these four aspects to work hand in hand so that Australia's cities can evolve and thrive.

Sometimes it can seem hard to strike a balance between so many important factors that go into a city that is truly sustainable in every sense of the word.

However, we know it's becoming increasingly clear that cities must become energy efficient and environmentally sustainable if all the other aspects are to fall into place.

As environmental damage poses an increasingly large threat to human safety and lifestyle, it's important to look for ways to make the way we live environmentally sustainable - after all, without the environment there's not much else!

Clean and renewable technologies such as solar panels is a key part of this strategy.

While Australia has hit the one million mark of the number of solar panel systems throughout the nation there is still a lot more progress to be made, considering our population has recently been announced as 23 million.

Ms Madew asserted that Australians are the richest people in the world by median income, with cities rated as very 'liveable', however we also have some of the highest rates of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and car dependence.

Greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption are two of the problems that can be greatly diminished by the use of clean and renewable energy sources.

It seems we're slowly catching on, as new developments are increasingly turning to the sustainable approach.

Sydney's new waterfront precinct development of Barangaroo is a keen example of this, incorporating environmental sustainability into its every move.

It includes plans to generate more renewable energy that it uses, with solar energy on site to service the public areas and renewable energy generated off site, such as a solar farm generating enough electricity to power around 5,000 homes.

As well as this, the development plans to utilise a chilled water and harbour cooling system, provide recycled water and a waste recycling service.

Green travel options will be ubiquitous with public transport links, walking and cycling networks and electric car power stations.

Such sustainability measures integrated into everyday infrastructure, building and construction, businesses and households will pay off in the long run as we move towards a renewable energy future.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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