Who do you work for?
I work for the Moreland Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL), which is located in inner-city Melbourne. MEFL is an independent not-for-profit organisation established by the Moreland City Council to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the municipality.
What does your job involve?
When I started my job as the business program coordinator, I helped businesses, community groups and home owners to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and increase their energy efficiency. An example of this was the Phoenix Fridges Project, in which I worked with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to refit donated refrigerators to make them more energy efficient, before they were given to people who needed them. To help businesses, I have devised plans to meet their energy needs and decided if they needed training, time or money to meet their needs.
Why did you choose to work in the renewable energy industry?
I always wanted to work in the renewable energy area. At first I thought that nuclear energy might be the answer to global warming. I was advised to go to Friends of the Earth to get their opinions about nuclear energy. I ended up working for them for seven years as an engineer advising governments and organisations on issues associated with nuclear energy, uranium mining and disposal of radioactive waste.
What has been one of your recent achievements?
My proudest achievement has been my management of the Coburg Solar Cities Project. This project, which received funding from the Federal Government, has involved a community-wide campaign which will assist 5000 households, 500 businesses and 50 community organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and work towards carbon neutrality by 2030. We have established a community enterprise to deliver energy efficiency services, including 1000 energy efficiency audits and retrofits for low income households. The project also involves redevelopment of the Coburg City Centre to become an internationally recognised sustainable urban redevelopment, using sustainable urban design and innovative technology.
What training did you have to become a mechanical engineer?
I attended schools in Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. I studied English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in my final years at school and then completed a Mechanical Engineering degree at Monash University.
What is your advice to students?
There is a real growth in technical jobs in the renewable energy field. There is an exciting pioneering aspect to these jobs. It also is very rewarding personally to be working with sustainable energy projects because you can make a difference to the environment and to peoples’ lives.