Yarra Sustainability Awards 2018

Below is a list of all nominees for the 2018 Yarra Sustainability Awards. 

Building Design and Development

Archiblox – Sunny House

Sunny House was inspired by Archiblox’s Carbon Positive House design, a world first in prefabricated homes that goes beyond zero carbon to produce more energy on-site than a building requires. With a small footprint, this two-bedroom home incorporates the Archiblox ethos to 'design big, build small' without compromising functionality.  The house maximises passive design strategies to reduce energy demand and enhance liveability. The building envelope is insulated with ozone panels that are fully recyclable at their end of life and the double-glazed windows are positioned to optimise cross-ventilation. A key feature is the north facing sunroom that acts as a buffer zone, stabilising temperatures and reducing reliance on heating and cooling. Sunny House provides the owners with a highly functional and beautiful home that touches the Earth lightly.

GIW Environmental Solutions – North Fitzroy apartments

Designed by locals for locals, ‘Nth Fitzroy’ is a unique collection of 26 apartments that celebrates its local context and fosters community in the heart of the inner north. Cloaked in white mesh with operable shutters, the facade provides summer shading while enabling occupants to enjoy winter sun.  The central open-air atrium provides natural ventilation and acts as a community hub, connecting the residents through shared walkways, greenery and communal areas.  The building achieved a 7.2-star average NatHERS Energy Rating, reducing energy use by 30 per cent and features solar power for common areas, substantial rainwater harvesting and sustainable timbers throughout.Nth Fitzroy combined the skills of many City of Yarra-based designers and artisans, to create a unique apartment building that offers sanctuary and retreat from a busy world.

LAYAN Architects – Cremorne Studios (Winner)

Cremorne Studios is a 6-storey highly sustainable, energy efficient commercial development, modelled on the world-class German sustainability standards of ‘PASSIVHAUS’. The building has a strong, clean aesthetic and the rawness reflects the original warehouses in the area. Materials are used in their pure form for easy reuse at the end of their life span.

Optimal thermal comfort was achieved through high performance insulation (R4.2 in walls and R7 in ceilings); highly efficient glazing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The designers prioritised the wellbeing of occupants through focussing on indoor environment quality. High levels of daylight render the workplace lighting almost unnecessary and significant cyclist facilities encourage active, healthy commutes to work. The building sets a benchmark for sustainable design and aims to be a precedent for other developments.

Peddle Thorp Architects - Supply & Co. Richmond Lofts

Comprising 129 apartments, the Supply & Co. development pays homage to Melbourne's manufacturing history whilst creating comfortable new dwellings.

With an average NatHERS energy rating of 7.2 stars, the development provides high levels of thermal comfort, reduces energy demand and future-proofs the building against increasing utility costs.  An innovative operable shading system enables residents to maximise views and daylight whilst minimising solar loads.

The development achieves high levels of natural lighting to all dwellings, has effective natural ventilation and no use of borrowed daylight.  The development also avoids materials that off-gas chemicals while water efficient fittings and rainwater harvesting will reduce potable water demand by around one third.

The redevelopment of this underutilised industrial area offers a low environmental impact lifestyle to its new residents.

Sustainable Homes Melbourne and Field Office Architecture – Eco Townhouses (Highly commended)

The three-level townhouses in Clifton Hill were designed with an eco-conscious home owner in mind and are at the forefront of sustainable design and construction. Through clever design and innovative construction practices not typically seen in the residential sector, Sustainable Homes Melbourne and Field Office Architecture have produced high quality and efficient dwellings that will stand the test of time.

Built on a challenging site, they aim for optimal self-sufficiency and achieved 7 and 7.1 energy star ratings through clever orientation, reverse recycled brick veneer construction, high performing thermal mass, insulation and glazing. They also feature a 14 kilowatt solar array and two 10 kilowatt batteries and no use of on gas; water conservation, reclaimed bricks and sustainable timbers with no chemical additives. These homes raise the benchmark for sustainable design and construction. 



Archiblox are inspired by the potential of prefabricated modular architecture to create conscientiously built, sustainable residential and commercial projects. Their buildings leave a smaller footprint through passive design techniques and a range of efficient features. Building off-site minimises disturbance to the surrounds and reduces waste often associated with on-site builds. Archiblox love educating their clients about sustainable architecture as part of a larger movement towards a better way of living.

Bettercup (Winner)

Bettercup aim to eliminate single use cups from events and festivals, through providing customised solutions to meet client needs. Their services include the hire or purchase of Melbourne-made cups, washing, on-site management, collection and storage services. Bettercup is scaling up and recently supplied 25,000 cups to the Dark MOFO festival in Tasmania. The future is bright for reusables with more people to thinking about their waste and demanding alternatives.

GJK Facility Services and Toyota

Through a collaborative partnership, GJK and Toyota have implemented the Tersano system – an approach to cleaning that eliminates the need for chemicals through using safely electrified water. This partnership has paved the way for wider use of the Tersano system throughout Toyota and the whole industry. By eliminating chemicals, GJK and Toyota are removing the main source of environmental pollution in the cleaning industry. 

IKEA Richmond (Highly commended)

IKEA has strived to make their recent multi-million dollar refurbishment as sustainable as possible, recycling 85 per cent of construction materials; installing solar-powered charging stations for electronics; replacing print communications with LED display boards and using sustainable timbers and fibres. Significantly, they installed the Enrich 360 organics recycling machine which will convert around 31,000 kilograms of food waste each year from IKEA’s restaurants into fertiliser for farms.


Pookipoiga’s Richmond boutique and online gift store curate a wide range of quirky gifts and products from local artisans and social businesses. Around half their stock is made from recycled or upcycled materials and they have reduced single use plastics by 90 per cent. Meaning ‘little washer boy’ in Finnish, Pookipoiga clean and care for our environment, while creating an alternative retail story that gives back to the community.


Reground is a sustainable waste education service, redirecting coffee waste away from landfill. Working with local cafes and community gardens to return coffee to the soil as fertiliser, each time you see the Reground van they are moving over one tonne of coffee waste, or 33,000 lattes worth!  They are making Melburnians’ coffee habits lighter on the planet, people and the pocket. 

Stomping Ground Brewery

Stomping Ground have become a sustainability force in the craft brewing industry, attracting attention from the bigger, well-known beer brands. They’ve led the way by embedding sustainability across their business through a focus on low beer miles, lightweight packaging, a solar install that meets 60 percent of their needs and sending spent grain to a local farmer. They aim to inspire patrons from Yarra and beyond along their sustainability journey.


Our excessive consumption of clothing is at great cost to the environment. Tumnus' online fashion sharing platform and 'Share More. Wear More. Pop Up' reminds people that it needn’t be this way. While clothes hiring services are increasingly common, Tumnus’ peer to peer network goes beyond one-time usage offering a fun, social way to share quality garments. Tumnus offers a realistic alternative to buying with no sacrifice to style.

Community action   

Condell Gardeners’ Community Garden

The Condell Community Gardeners have transformed an underused area in Fitzroy into an open food garden, creating a vibrant meeting place for locals and visitors. They really have packed a lot into one street! The garden takes food scraps from residents for composting, provides an educational space for children and the shade trees, seating and street art are a place for respite in our sometimes-hectic city.

Cultivating Community’s Public Housing Gardens

For over 20 years, the six community gardens across Yarra have enabled people from diverse backgrounds to grow food from their cultures, practice sustainable gardening techniques and connect with one another. They provide an excellent example of sustainable city living over the long term, with over 300 people currently growing food sustainably in these oases amongst the public housing towers.

FareShare Abbotsford Kitchen Garden

FareShare is a food rescue charity that turns rescued and donated food into nutritious meals for people in need. They created their Abbotsford kitchen garden to ensure a steady supply of fresh vegetables for their meals. Demonstrating what small-scale urban agriculture can achieve in an inner-city location, there are over 50 regular volunteers who’ve created a thriving community space and helped grow tonnes of vegetables each year.

Finbar Neighbourhood House (Winner)

Finbar House in Richmond recognises that it’s no longer enough to be sustainable; we must be regenerative. With this ethos in mind, each week they take 1500 kilograms of food waste from residents and businesses, turn it into rich compost then back into food. Finbar emphasises sharing, reusing and repurposing resources, by sharing produce, seeds and skills and providing a drop-off point for a wide range of wastes.

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth pulled together a coalition of environmentalists, workers, businesses and community energy groups to push for ambitious renewable energy targets for Victoria. After a major three-year community campaign that transformed energy politics and policy in Victoria, the state government has committed to Renewable Energy Targets of 25 per cent by 2020, rising to 40 per cent by 2025.

Latrobe River Bankers’ River Bank Revitalisation

The Latrobe River Bankers are a small but tireless friends group who’ve transformed 1.5 kilometres of Yarra River frontage beside the La Trobe Golf Course from a weed infested mess into a beautiful natural environment. Thanks to their weekly working bees, more than 6,000 native grasses, shrubs and ground-covers are thriving and provide homes to a larger range of birds, animals and insects. 

Melbourne Farmers Markets’ Wash Against Waste Initiative

Melbourne Farmers Markets have been plastic bag free for a decade and they’ve now taken another large step - eliminating single use items at their markets. They established a portable wash up station to reuse all coffee cups, crockery and cutlery for the market brekkie stalls, avoiding the use of thousands of single use items at every market, every week.

Melbourne Girls’ College

At this annual community event, students and sports groups pedal and row to power the outdoor movie screening, completely removing the need for coal-fired electricity. This creative approach puts the fun into engaging people around energy use and generation and it’s a waste wise event too. All food is packaging free and the generators are made from recycled washing machine motors. Pedal on MGC!

Open Table

Every month Open Table offers free, volunteer-run community lunches in Fitzroy, Richmond and Carlton North, made with surplus food from local businesses and food donors. These hearty, vegetable-based meals bring people from diverse backgrounds together to share their stories whilst addressing the growing issue of food insecurity. Open Table further raise awareness about food waste by running workshops on reducing food waste at home.

Richmond Community Learning Centre’s Backyard Waste Warriors (Highly commended)

Burnley Backyard offers many creative ways for people to reduce their waste, meaning everyone can gain hands-on sustainability skills to match their interests and lifestyles. From fixing items at the monthly repair corner; composting communally; sharing food scraps with the cheeky chooks; plus the Burnley fruit squad harvesting fruit that would otherwise go to waste, there really is something for everyone.


Acacia Children's Centre 

Acacia’s Sustainability Outreach program promotes sustainable resource use in the centre and encourages the children to explore, create and develop their curiosity through reusing and recycling materials. The children do an amazing job looking after their garden, composting and creating their own project board from recycled materials. Together the educators and children have gained further knowledge about nature and the world that we live in.

Academy of Mary Immaculate

Through 'Earth Hour at Academy’, Christa, one of the students, and the school's environment group engage teachers and students to turn off lights, heaters and air-conditioners and then present the energy savings to the school community. Other initiatives include Keep Cups, reusable water bottles, worm farms, recycling and environmental awareness days. Christa’s creativity and passion for sustainability has been an inspiration to teachers and students alike.

Alpha Children's Centre

The centre’s ‘We Think Green’ initiative encourages wonder and inquiry to further the children’s knowledge of the environment and healthy eating. Through story and song educators support the children to follow their interests and learn from practical outdoor experiences. They learn how to grow plants, harvest food and contribute plant and compost materials from home. These important early teachings are raising the next generation to care for our environment.

Bridge Road Early Learning Centre

The centre’s Communal Community Composting project created a hub for the children and families to participate in sustainable practices by contributing their household’s organic waste to the compost farm. The rich organic soil is then distributed amongst gardens in the centre, the children’s homes and community. The aim is to educate and instil the importance of sustainable practices to create a quality future for all to enjoy.

Collingwood Alternative School

With a commitment to making the school eco-friendly, the students introduced a merit system to curb the school’s energy consumption and waste production and create a fun way for everyone to be aware of their actions. The school also reduces food kilometres by growing food, has reduced waste through Keep Cups and limited the use of paper, single use and non-recyclable items.

John Street Community Early Childhood Co-op

John Street CECC has engaged its community around sustainability by encouraging families to regularly donate pre-loved baby goods to the ‘St Kilda Mums’ initiative; offering a cloth nappy service to all families and introducing ‘wet bags’ to eliminate the need for plastic bags within their service. They’ve found the more sustainability ideas they explore, the stronger the interest from children and families, which then flows into their home lives.

Melbourne Girls College (Winner)

The school’s key to sustainability success is to be engaging, realistic and fun. They’ve banned disposable cutlery and replaced them with metal ones for hire, reintroduced the locally threatened Murnong yam daisy; saved more than $7,000 in water by detecting a major underground leak; installed 33 kilowatts of solar through their innovative ‘Adopt-a-panel’ campaign; and continued hosting their human powered cinema event for the community.

Princes Hill Secondary College VCAL students 

Together with the North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House, the VCAL students initiated a new composting new project. They set up the systems, are collecting food waste at school and maintaining the garden beds and compost bins at the house. The students have involved local businesses, collecting coffee grounds from cafes and leftover newspapers from the newsagency. The students’ interest in sustainability has expanded to hosting a fundraiser screening the documentary ‘Tomorrow’.

Richmond West Primary School

The Richmond West Primary School kitchen and sustainability program reduces waste by creatively repurposing a wide variety of found and donated materials in the garden. Bucket lids are turned into artwork, coffee husks become garden mulch and there’s so much more. Giving these materials a second life keeps them out of landfill for longer, while also bringing creativity and colour to the school and community.

Yarra Primary School

As part of their kitchen garden program, the school has worked hard to revive a neglected garden space into an abundant and cared for vegetable garden. The students reap the rewards of their labour by enjoying new foods as they learn about biological science, sustainable practices, nutrition and healthy eating. It's inspiring to see students nurture their plants and take great pride and care for the garden.

The Frank Fisher Award  

Fiona Armstrong  (Winner)

Fiona is a leading public policy analyst, researcher and advocate. As Founder and Director of the Climate and Health Alliance, she is a champion of human health and the environment. Through her leadership, she united the sector and brought together politicians from across political divides. One major achievement was leading the framework for a national strategy on climate, health and wellbeing for Australia to fulfil its obligations under the Paris Agreement. 

Martin Brennan

Martin has a long commitment to sustainability through his professional life and community activism. He was a founding member of ICLEI - the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives in Australia and New Zealand, and expanded ICLEI’s role to work with the Pacific island states. He is Chair of the Fitzroy Resident’s Association and his time as a Councillor with the City of Melbourne saw the establishment of the Sustainable Melbourne Fund.

Bart Kolodziejczyk

As a tireless innovator and entrepreneur, Bart has founded wind and hydrogen energy companies, as well as technologies to eliminate the use of animals in the cosmetics industry.  He has authored numerous policy papers and popular science articles on the issues around nano-waste and synthetic biology. Bart has shown true leadership spirit through inspiring hundreds of high school students, mentoring young leaders and establishing several not-for-profit organisations to influence environmental policy. 

Local Hero

Caleb Lee (Highly commended)

Inspired by his Yarra River walks during kindergarten, 5-year-old Caleb developed a deep love for the river that spurred on his fight against litter. Armed with a ‘grabber’ tool, he’s led his friends, teachers, family and community on an eco-hero adventure. He created a ‘no-butts’ campaign on his street, mobilised people to clean up Dight's Falls, removing 20 bags of rubbish on one day – and so much more! 

Kerry Echberg (Winner)

As a member of Yarra Climate Action Now (YCAN), over the last nine years Kerry has volunteered her time, energy and passion to bring about action on climate change. Whether writing submissions to Council, speaking at government panel hearings, such as the East-West Link panel, or chanting slogans and waving banners at rallies, Kerry's efforts go far beyond YCAN. Her selfless dedication to establishing a safe climate for all deserves recognition. 

Lucy Skelton (Highly commended)

Lucy is a highly accomplished environmental warrior. Her social enterprise ‘beHappy.bags’ raises money for environmental organisations and awareness about plastic pollution. As a leader with Melbourne Girls’ College Environment Team, she drove their plastic cutlery ban and organised a sustainable seafood lunch for over 200 students. Lucy is highly regarded by her peers and is a role model to younger students through her genuine approach and commitment to improving our world.