1 November 2009
One-on-one with Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Romilly Madew.
One-on-one with Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, Romilly Madew.
Romilly Madew was named winner of the prestigious White Pages Community and Government Award at the 2009 Australian Telstra Business Women's Awards. The award recognises Australia's top performing businesswoman working in government departments, statutory bodies and not-fot-profit organisations.
How long have you been Chief Executive of GBCA?
I have held the position of Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) since February 2006, having previously worked for GBC as their Advocate in 2005.
Can you tell us a bit about your background – education/employment?
My background is in property advocacy with past positions including board member for the ACT Government's Land Development Agency; Executive Director of the ACT Division of the Property Council of Australia; as well as the Council's National Executive Director of Sustainability. Some of the achievements I am most proud of include:
• Chairing the Green Building Council Development Committee for the World Green Building Council - the international umbrella organisation of green building councils and also a member of the World GBC Policy Committee. I was also closely involved with the establishment and development of Green Building Councils in New Zealand and South Africa and now in Asia.
• Representing the GBCA at the Australian Federal GovernmentsAustralia 2020 Summit in the Population, Sustainability, Climate Change and Water stream.
• Authoring The Dollars and Sense of Green Buildings 2006 - Building the Business Case for Green Commercial Buildings in Australia.
• Representing the GBCA on the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ASBEC's Climate Change and Business Case task groups, and chairing its Constructing Cities of the Future and Sustainable Framework Task Group.
• Overseeing the GBCA's development and delivery of the inaugural Asia Pacific Green Building Leadership Forum, held in September 2009 with 10 Asian countries participating.
• Being awarded the 2009 White Pages Community and Government Award at the NSW Telstra Business Women's Awards.
When was GBCA established and why?
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions. Buildings have a great influence over the quality of our daily lives. From home to work, and from learning to leisure, buildings are fundamental to our way of living. Buildings also have a significant impact on our environment. Residential and commercial buildings contribute 23 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. That’s equivalent to 130 megatonnes of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere each year. Australia’s property industry has recognised the need for urgent action and leadership, and through the Green Building Council of Australia, is now at the forefront of finding sustainable solutions to our global climate change challenges.
What is the aim of GBCA?
Our aim is to drive the transition of the Australian property industry towards sustainability by promoting green building programs, technologies, design practices and operations and integration of green building initiatives into mainstream design, construction and operation of buildings.
What are some of the activities GBCA is involved in?
Domestically, we continue to work on developing our environmental rating system, Green Star, especially in developing new Green Star tools including Education and Healthcare which we released earlier this year, we continue to educate the next green generation through our courses and events and we have worked hard to be a powerful and active voice in the sustainability debate with advocacy efforts at all levels of government.
On the international stage, we’ve worked closely with our counterparts in the World Green Building Council on a number of initiatives, including developing a common metric to measure emissions of CO2 equivalents for buildings, and ensuring the role of buildings is recognised in the lead-up to climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in late 2009, this included establishing a World Green Building Day – to showcase the achievements and opportunities of green building.
What does GBCA have planned/coming up?
Our primary focus is to continue our support of the industry’s adoption of Green Star rating tools, and demonstrate to investors, tenants and the broader community that green buildings are the smart choice – both economically and environmentally especially in the areas of existing buildings, green schools and hospitals.
We have now turned our attention to how we build and support sustainable communities and are working with the Victorian Government’s urban development agency, VicUrban, to develop a national framework for sustainable communities and precincts.
What has been your career highlight to date?
Developing a strong team from less than 10 staff to nearly 50 which has worked closely with the industry resulting in having over 190 Green Star certified buildings (11% of CBD in Australia is now certified) and over 400 registered for Green Star, as well as developing a suite of Green Star tools including commercial office, residential, retail, healthcare and education facilities. The real change has happened over the past 2 years, having travelled to other countries to work with and support their GBC’s. Australia’s property and construction is leading the world in leadership, innovation and driving the green building agenda.