Winner and finalists - Industry and Business

Regional Connections, for the Carbon Farming Futures Outreach and Extension project

The project used proven extension and adoption methodologies to ensure there is effective change in attitudes and practices of farmers being influenced in this project.

It goes beyond getting a 'research message' out to farmers - it is working through a complex topic, understanding its implications for farming enterprises and having a significant number of advisers equipped to engage and support producers in carbon management into the future.

A critical element underpinning this project was that the advisers already had a trusted relationship with that client - and understood the individual business circumstances of the farm - Mark Stanley, Director, Regional Connections

Regional Connections is a Port Lincoln company that specialises in the development, management and delivery of projects concerning agriculture, natural resources management and climate change. In recent years, this has included the Australian Government's Carbon Farming Futures Outreach and Extension Program.

The program worked with 33 trusted farm advisers from South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania who influenced more than 600 broadacre farmer clients, to help them better understand the effect of emissions from farming, and how they could incorporate carbon farming technologies into their operations, to reduce the impact of climate change.

The farmers' knowledge, understanding and attitudes to carbon farming were measured at the beginning and end of the project to see if it was impacting their overall perceptions and farm operations. A key finding was that about 70 per cent of the farmers had taken at least one action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage on their farms.

Goodhouse Architecture

Goodhouse dreams of South Australia becoming a leader in designing and constructing environmentally and site appropriate, low energy housing.

Australian homes are getting larger and are using more and more energy to build and operate. With good design and appropriate construction, Goodhouse offers a sustainable alternative which minimizes energy use and carbon footprint and maximizes function, quality and healthy living - Mark Thomas, Director and Architect, Goodhouse Architecture

Goodhouse Architecture has been nominated for its work in making sustainable houses affordable. Launched in 2013, the company has developed a design and construction system that delivers highly energy efficient and sustainable homes.

With hot water systems and heating and cooling requirements being the main energy users in a house, Goodhouse designs houses with these factors firmly in mind. This includes designing to the site and environmental conditions and using a range of non-standard alternative construction methods such as hydronic underfloor heating and structural insulated panel systems. Goodhouse makes the most of the passive heating and cooling opportunities of the site, and installs appropriately-sized solar systems that will generate more power that the house will use, which will ultimately offset the house's embodied energy.

So far the company has built 12 houses to these standards, with another four currently under construction, and more than a dozen in the pipeline. Each house, on average, uses less than one fifth of the energy used by a comparable house in the same area, and can be designed and built in an affordable way. Through the development of smart design and construction systems and efficient project processes, Goodhouse is significantly more affordable than the traditional architectural housing product, and as such is attainable to a much wider market.

SA Water

This demonstrates SA Water's measured, ongoing, innovative and collaborative leadership in tackling climate change through successful energy management activity. It highlights the successful cost-effective opportunities implemented to adapt, optimise energy productivity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and raise awareness and our collaboration with others across Australia to do more - Rob Macpherson, Energy Management Lead, SA Water

SA Water manages and treats millions of litres of wastewater, with three major metro wastewater treatment plants processing the equivalent of about 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day. The energy intensive wastewater treatment activity has a significant impact on climate change in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases and offers both the greatest challenge for adaptation and mitigation, as well as the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions.

Using a measured, ongoing, innovative and collaborative approach, SA Water conducted detailed energy efficiency opportunities assessments on their wastewater treatment plants and then looked to optimise their energy use. This work included installing a $26M new combined heat and power station to capture biogas from the wastewater treatment process to use as fuel to produce renewable electricity and heat. The clean renewable electricity self-generated at their Bolivar wastewater treatment plant is enough to power 4 000 houses per year. Their original and innovative approach has seen them reduce emissions from their wastewater treatment sites by 13,000 tonnes over the past two years and reduce costs, benefiting South Australian customers and the community.

SA Water has a current Climate Change Sector Agreement with the SA Government. They have an annual Energy Award as part of their Energy and Environment Awards, to raise awareness of climate change issues and recognising people's actions to address them. Their collaboration through the energy program and wastewater treatment activities has led to shared knowledge with all the other water utilities across Australia, benchmarking and delivering shared outcomes.

South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA)

A significant outcome of the environmental activities of SAWIA has been to instil cultural change in its members…But there is a much wider benefit - such engagement provides the South Australian wine sector with tangible resources to actively demonstrate how the industry engages in environmental issues and provides assistance in how the sector promotes itself domestically and globally. The wine industry has the benefit of having a perception of a green industry and strong environmental performance is an expectation of global markets…When linked to the place of origin through the industry's Label Integrity Program it also has the potential to have a beneficial impact on South Australian as a destination and place to do business - Mark Gishen, Project Manager - Environment and Technical, SA Wine Industry Association

The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) membership represents approximately 96% of the grapes crushed in South Australia and about 36% of the land under viticulture. Since the year 2000, SAWIA has led a culture change in climate change awareness and action in the wine sector through its Environment Program. In 2008, they joined with the Wine Grape Council of South Australia to enter into the first Sector Agreement with the State Government in 2008 to accelerate action in the wine sector. SAWIA has taken a strong leadership role in educating wineries about climate change, adaptation and emissions measurement and reduction.

From assisting wineries of all sizes to identify energy 'hot-spots' and reduce emissions, to putting a spotlight on environmental and climate excellence through their annual Environmental Awards, SAWIA's work has resulted in immediate and lasting environmental benefits focussed on water, electricity, greenhouse gas emissions and waste reduction.

Their leadership has also helped create an ethos of continual environmental improvement in the South Australian wine industry and their projects have helped provide material evidence of industry's strong environmental credentials. This has the potential flow-on benefit of building a competitive market advantage within the industry, while promoting the benefits of South Australia as a clean, green destination and place to do business.