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Headway Down Under
Australia is a rewarding location for environmentally minded
young building services engineers. But, says Illina Nanitsos,
the profession needs to push the green agenda harder
ustralia has in the past been thought of their travels. Unfortunately, it seems that much
as a country that lags behind the UK and of the Australian public remains unaware of the
other European countries in discovering ever-changing and expanding green technological
new initiatives and technological advances that persist around the globe, as we strive
advances. Today, however, this gap seems to have towards a more sustainable future.
decreased dramatically as our connections around This makes it difficult to recruit young Australian
the globe increase and organisations such as CIBSE engineers into an industry that has so much to
provide a ‘real time’ view of technological and offer.
sustainable advances in the industry. It is up to engineers in the industry to make others
Building services in Australia are driven primarily aware of the importance of sustainable development
by the industry. Ratings that we use to measure so that we may set in motion
efficiency, such as NABERS and Green Star, have the an avalanche of ideas that
effect of pushing us further to improve the country’s will make the industry and
We have an
standards in design. These ratings did not begin as our society develop into the
legislative requirements – they were the result of the sustainable vision that we
obligation to
industry aiming to raise building services quality, strive for.
minimise detrimental
efficiency and effectiveness. Creating a sustainable future
The large populations and building-project density is everyone’s responsibility.
effect that these structures
in the UK and around Europe give the advantage Each person should take a stand
have on our
of being able to test new technologies and green to minimise their own carbon
initiatives. At the same time, this concentration footprint and take care that their
creates an inertia that affects the rate at which these lifestyle encourages a greener
fine ideas may be integrated into society. environment. While the bulk
Australia has the advantage of implementing these of society can separate paper from plastic, shut the
ideas at a somewhat faster rate as they filter their lights off when they leave the room, and maybe even
way to our side of the globe. Ideas, once grasped, buy a Prius, a great burden of responsibility falls
are quickly implemented and, due to our lighter on the building services engineer to create designs
density, each structure that is built creates a huge that promote a high level of sustainability within
impact ‘down under’, and helps push our industry commercial and residential buildings.
forward. Buildings are part of every society across the
Being an Engineer in Australia has been a great globe. It is essential when producing a design that
experience for me and many other young engineers will ultimately become a part of this society, that we
that I work with. In the short time that I have worked are not merely conscious of the sustainability issues
in the industry, I have learnt not only a fantastic inherent in the makeup of every building, but we
amount about building services design (and am still must use our powers of engineering for good instead
in awe of how much more there is still to absorb), of evil.
but I have also become aware of the importance of Through the command of our designs we have an
being a consultant, not just an engineer. obligation to practically minimise the detrimental
It has been a tremendous learning curve and I effect these structures have on our environment. l
feel that I have been fortunate enough to work with
consultants who have emigrated from all over the Ilina Nanitsos is project engineer, Steensen Varming (Australia),
world, each with the knowledge and expertise they
and president of CIBSE Young Engineers Network Australia/
New Zealand. This article represents her personal views.
have acquired from their own country or through March 2010 CIBSE Journal 27
CIBSEmar10 pp27 opinion.indd 27 25/2/10 15:51:38
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