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Centre for Design at RMIT

Minister for the Environment and Heritage,
Senator Robert Hill


MEDIA RELEASE

GREENING THE BUILDING LIFE CYCLE


Builders, architects, planners, developers and other industry members are being urged to consider the impact of the building life cycle on the environment in a series of workshops in Sydney and Melbourne next month.

Funding for the workshops has been made available under the federal government's Natural Heritage Trust.

"Buildings are significant contributors to Australia's greenhouse emissions, consuming about a quarter of our annual energy resources," Environment Minister Robert Hill said. "Unless stringent measures are taken to improve their environmental performance, Australia is not going to meet its Kyoto targets.

"At the same time, the construction and demolition industry is responsible for about a third of the solid waste that goes to our landfill each year. Building an average-sized brick veneer house produces about 27 tonnes of solid waste.

"This project will look at how environmental impacts can be minimised by looking at the entire life cycle of a building - from its planning and construction phase through to its use and demolition."

The project is being conducted by a consortium led by the Centre for Design at RMIT University. Other partners include Sustainable Solutions, RMIT Building and Construction Economics, Deakin University, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation and Construction Information Systems Australia Pty Ltd.

"This is another example of how the Government is working in partnership with industry to improve environmental outcomes," Senator Hill said.

Project Manager at the Centre for Design at RMIT Tim Grant said that life cycle assessment (LCA) provides an internationally agreed framework for comparing different impacts such as greenhouse, water pollution, resource use and solid waste.

"The project aims to improve the tools to assess the life cycle impacts of buildings," he said. "Buildings are built once but are operated for many years, so it's important to assess the full life cycle impact of buildings before they are constructed."

Consultative workshops will be held in Sydney on October 9 and Melbourne on October 13 to identify the best way to help the industry take up life cycle assessment. The project will culminate in the development of a strategy to promote the uptake of LCA in the building and construction sector.

More information is on the Internet at http://buildlca.rmit.edu.au

September 15, 2000

Contacts:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Tim Grant (Centre for Design RMIT) 03 99253490; tim.grant@rmit.edu.au

Commonwealth of Australia