Monthly Archives: April 2011

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.

Australian Solar Energy Society New Collaboration

The re-birthing of the Australian Solar Energy Society (‘AuSES’) in Western Australia has taken one step closer to achieving posterity. Prof. Ray Wills, CEO of  the  Sustainable  Energy Association of Australia (‘SEA’) joined the society as an individual member and formally joined our interim committee in Western Australia. We are now looking forward to creating a mutually benefitting vision for our two organizations.

Venture Capital – First Research Your Market

We recently held a meeting  at SEA headquarters in Northbridge which was made available for a technical talk by Mr Andrew Hall, CEO of Bright Generation. Andrew talked about the role of venture capital in innovation and product development. His recommended key consideration for innovators, when taking a product to the market place was in the early stages was to base the capital investment on solid market research and test marketing.

Pull not Push

This made sense to the audience as a prudent procedure, before the big dollars are sought. Andrew explained that  this process ensured that the market entry was “pull” driven rather than “push” driven,  making it more likely for support by large investors. Then rapid expansion could safely occur.  The quicker the ‘valley of death’ on the graphed innovation curve is breached,  the smaller the risk and less capital is  needed for ultimate success.

I think his advice of  looking at investment as a two stage process starting with trial manufacturing, adaptation and assessing market responses with real products made a great deal of sense to me.

It is easy to see why Andrew is successful in the renewable energy field and we are fortunate to have him on our advisory committee in WA.

SEA Will Foster The AuSES  Solar Mentors Programme

The great news for all Western Australian AuSES members is that,  as a sponsor, The Sustainable Energy Association,  through Ray Wills,  will assist in the process of achieving the goals set for AuSES in WA. They will provide sponsorship for the Society on a trial basis and will assist with the growing of our individual memberships in this state.

The key plank for their support is the fostering of the solar mentors scheme and developing stronger links between students and young professionals, with experienced industry people and leading academics.

This planned cross-pollination of ideas between industry leaders and university people is bound to deliver healthy outcomes for the solar and renewable energy industries as well as individuals, who are looking at creating specialist careers for themselves.

Dr Bill Parker, and myself,  along with the advisory committee,  unanimously agreed to this path for Western Australia’s AuSES, at our first committee meeting.

Collaboration With SEA Events

This  year we will start to plan collaboration with SEA events to introduce key experts who have had peer reviewed papers published.  This will create more opportunities and exposure for our emerging  scientists,  professionals and innovators.

I believe that the focus should spread comfortably to each of the sites and I am sure that SEA will be most valuable in assisting this worthwhile process.

I envisage that within a year or two all states will benefit from the approach. We can recall the halcyon days when the CSIRO sponsored our society and  for 20 years put Australia well  and truly on the world map when it came to cutting edge technology in solar and  renewable  energy  systems.  Many of these technologies are still viable in this 21st century.

The next meeting is planned at  Curtin University  in June, the  date and venue to be announced (around the winter solstice).

How You Can Help

Here are a few ideas: For all past,  potential and existing members the key to our momentum and success will be two fold:

–          Joining AuSES or continuing your membership for many years, as well as introducing new members to AuSES

–          Encouraging as many student members as possible to join to take advantage of our mentor scheme, as brilliantly constructed by Dr. Mary Dale.

–          Attend our meetings and networking events and bring younger guests !

Looking forward to our next meeting and ‘solar-beers’ networking event. Let’s keep the forward movement  going. The next two generations are to be the beneficiaries.

Garry Baverstock AM                                                                  President AuSES in WA

31st March 2011

Cottesloe Foreshore Plans For Development

Often the truth is missed in a good story. This is clearly the case with the media portrayal of the Cottesloe Foreshore Plans and issues surrounding the new proposed planning scheme and the rules guiding future development along Marine Parade. As a follow up to the recent public meeting at the Civic Centre Hall, regarding the beachfront, the Cottesloe foreshore plans and the ensuing media frenzy, I have decided once and for all put my opinion clearly for the public record where I stand on this issue.

As explained many times to the Town of Cottesloe, my employer on this issue, I am not here to have my opinion ‘bought’ to serve official opinions with which I do not necessarily agree. In being commissioned for the work for the Town of Cottesloe I have made my position very clear that my opinion is a professional one and but it cannot be twisted to suit any dogmatic standpoint in this important argument about future development along the foreshore and commercial strip along the beachfront.

2004 Solar Study  Cottesloe Foreshore Plans

Image WSW CoverMy presentations made since 2004 have really been consistent.  The problem is that some of my principles have been respected when it has suited the political stance of many in the Council – others conveniently ignored and in some cases, simply corrupted. The same could be said of the pro-development government personnel who attended the Enquiry by Design, and who are in my opinion, if anything, more political and fundamentalist about developmental action.

When it came to planning strategies at the Enquiry by Design (‘EbD’) consultation process some 5 years later, Councillors and officers alike ignored reason, in regard to a review of the development zone and the principles for protecting a future beach alignment.  Then to make matters worse, the State Government ignored their own advice regarding ocean level rises in submitting their own version of 3D envelopes for beachfront development.

At the public meeting on the 16thMarch, 2011, along with private discussions with the Council I pointed out as clearly as I could that the ‘elephant in the room’ is ocean rises due to Climate Change. But it is a rather like the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ : people listen, are stunned,  yet do not even try to join up the dots to deduce what this means for any town planning scheme. Even at the EbD this key issue was virtually ignored in the final design concepts and most importantly, not addressed in the draft scheme LPS3, when it clearly is the single most important influence on our coastline development and beach amenity for the rest of this century and beyond.

Apart from ocean rises there are going to be even more serious threats to the beachfront, our culture and the business world that must be seen in the context of opening the doors to big developers to take over the beach front built environment. After 2035 the global population is now predicted to diminish dramatically till the end of the century.  There only 25 years left of ‘boom’ times for this planet as energy sources are greatly degraded and changing life as we currently know it dramatically.

Proper Decision Making Process

Why is it not being dealt with?  Why is all the argument concentrated on height and view of the beach,  when the current location of the commercial zone will be overlooking sea walls by the end of the century? It make one wonder how fervent minds can be deluded by their own locked-in fears and perceived solutions. For what duration are we planning and designing the future commercial zone and foreshore?

What has not been clearly published in the papers is that I am not actually  ‘anti-development’ at all. My firm Ecotect-Architects, worked hard as a paid consultant at the Enquiry by Design (EbD) to ensure that maximum development could be achieved, while at the same time serving the public interest for now and well into the future.

The Enquiry by Design Process

The process was well conducted by Andrew Jackson of the Town of Cottesloe to be able to influence a change in direction for Cottesloe within the proposed LPS3. What the people of Cottesloe and the wider general public need to understand is that the EbD was a guideline to framing the LPS3 as a draft.

I believe a lot more work by independent consultants, acting under the Authorities’ inputs and guidance, could have delivered the best planning rules and guidelines for developers, before it became law. At the same time it would have served the community interest.  It appears that misguided advice by some public servants convinced the government that they could do better to serve the ‘big development’ lobby.

As we now know their efforts have produced results which are primitive, unprofessional and offending to most of the community. They do not incorporate sustainability in any way.

Image Cottesloe Beach shadows

Overshadowing the beach


This EbD delivered community consultation as well as representation by the key landowners/developers of the two main sites in question: the Ocean Beach Hotel and the Cottesloe Beach Hotel.  Unfortunately it seems that the powerful developer lobby has convinced the politicians that somehow the EbD was “orchestrated by community groups with a twisted view of what is good for the community”.  Many community groups with varying opinions and the land owners along with their commissioned consultants, were given ample time to present their viewpoints during the process.

For those who did not contribute or attend the Enquiry by Design, my presentation  is downloadable from here, to show clearly what all the government people, consultants, councillors and general public as well as community interest groups offered to the process. For those who did attend, perhaps you may like to refresh your memory

Where from here now?

Future For Cottesloe Foreshore Plans and the Beachfront

I believe that we need a credible sponsor for a select group of consultants, managed by Ecotect-Architects, to devise a developed concept and acceptable plan, from which proper 3D envelopes will establish what can actually work and serve the public interest and local residents. It needs a tick of approval by all parties. Some compromise may be needed. For sure the scheme is not even close to having served due process or any chance whatsoever of gaining public support.

This needs to be sponsored by an appropriate independent party to design a stage-by-stage solution that will serve as a guide to finalizing the LPS3 and future amendments as well as provide the solid principles for any future scheme in the future so the beach facility will be available to our children and grandchildren and their offspring.

What say you?

I know I am prepared to put some spadework in to make sure this happens.

Refer to my strategy plan presented to council in order to counter the objectionable submission that amends the LPS3.

Please be aware that although my presentation was involved in the Enquiry by Design, we were ‘conveniently’ left out of the final process and final drafting of the LPS3.  The subject of ocean rises never made it to the table and was therefore ignored, as it was by the main planning consultants during the process.

Reference Documents

Cottesloe Solar and Shade Analysis 2004

Predicted Sea Level Change in WA 2009/10

Cottesloe 2011 Planning Scheme Review

Garry Baverstock’s Letter To the Town of Cottesloe Mayor

Regional Government

The secret to solar and renewable, as well as general sustainable and clean forms of energy, to be successfully introduced in this 21st century is the effectiveness of policies and legislation of regional governments.  One of the immediate concerns with inaction at this level will be the horrific damage that will be caused from ocean level rises.  These are already happening and accelerating.

Throughout the planet, Climate Change due to the excessive use of fossil fuels is increasingly causing problems for our coastline developments.  The key to solving and adapting to unwanted changes in sea levels is effective Regional Government.

All around the planet sea levels will raise by varying amounts and the reasons for this is the forces of gravity from the moon, the sun and large planet like Jupiter and the bulging of oceans at the equator (mainly due to the gravitational effects of the moon).  Of course the moon caused tidal variations will create odd spasmodic changes in sea levels, never experienced by mankind before in the period that human kind has lived in earth. It will wreak havoc on all costal developments starting from 2020 onwards.

There is a wake up call for all governments (particularly in the developed world) to start taking into account sea rises for the next 100 years.

This will mean that some development will have to be demolished and moved inland and buffer zones created for all new developments (it goes without saying that they should be as carbon ‘neutral’ or ‘minus’ as possible).

Here are some papers that used Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia as a case in point:

Cottesloe Solar and Shade Analysis 2004

Predicted Sea Level Change in WA 2009/10

Cottesloe 2011 Planning Scheme Review

 Garry Baverstock’s Letter To the Town of Cottesloe Mayor