Sunday 31st May 2020


1:00pm - 3:00pm


Renew is proud to present a virtual Speed Date a Sustainability Expert event in partnership with City of Casey

Join us for a fun and informative session where you will receive free personalised advice from leading sustainable architects, designers and sustainability and energy efficiency experts.

Bookings are essential for this free virtual event.

Important note: When booking for this event you will need to preference four experts you would like to date in order to complete your registration. All experts and their profiles can be viewed below. 

As this is a virtual event, all participants will need access to good internet and a computer with a camera and audio. 

This is our first virtual speed dating event. For more details about how it will proceed, email for more information.

Click here to find out more about SDSE.

The Sustainability Experts

  • 3ARK – Ratko Mrkogaca

    Due to popular demand – Expert Just Added!

    Ratko Mrkogaca became interested in improving the often overlooked aspects of improving the comfort and energy efficiency – especially the “airtightness” of buildings after years of seeing many poor construction practices and habits by occupants that resulted in uncomfortable homes and inefficient buildings.  

    Now with 3ARK, Ratko works assessing building performance and advising designers, builders and occupants on quantifying and identifying improvements to airtightness – a fundamental means to improving the performance of buildings.  

  • Abbie Lane – City of Casey’s Waste Education Officer

    Abbie has been working in Waste Education for nearly 12 years. Before that, as a secondary teacher, she was sneaking environmental topics into all classes she taught.

    In her role at the City of Casey, Abbie educates residents, schoolchildren, co-workers and anyone that stands still long enough about how to reduce their waste, how to recycle right, reducing food waste, composting, and food growing.

    Her passion for the environment sees her incorporate a lot of ‘bigger picture’ issues and topics that are all linked to waste as well. Abbie is also passionate about promoting that ‘greener living’ can be done on any budget.

  • Alison Chatfield – Permaculture & Garden Design

    Alison has extensive knowledge in horticulture, permaculture and holistic garden design having worked in the horticultural industry for over 20 years, completing an Advanced Certificate in Horticulture with VCAH Burnley in 1992 and a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) with Geoff Lawton and father of permaculture, Bill Mollison in 2012. 

    Alison has a particular interest and passion for designing and establishing edible food forests and native gardens; fostering healthy soils and compost; growing indigenous bush foods and creating water-wise gardens using wicking beds and passive water harvesting techniques. 

    Alison currently works for a large nursery and a small scale regenerative vegetable farm in the Casey area and is the Convenor for Greater South Eastern Permaculture Group. 

    Dates with this expert are now fully booked for this event 

  • Arvio – Peter Smithdale

    Peter has 20 years of experience in building low energy homes in the UK and Australia. 

    Much of Peter’s work has involved optimising existing designs for construction as low-energy homes and has a keen eye for what really matters, along with the technical knowledge of construction and analysis.

    Peter is a UK registered Architect and a Certified Passive House Designer and currently works as a Passive House Consultant for Arvio where he supports clients to install innovative solar and battery systems.

    Peter’s past work in the UK can also be viewed here.

    Dates with this expert are now full booked for this event. 

  • Bryce Gaton – Melbourne University

    Bryce has been building, driving and writing about Electric Vehicles (EVs) since 2008 and is well-positioned to answer any questions related to EV technology. 

    Bryce is currently the secretary of the Victorian branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA), chair of the Victorian AEVA sub-committee for EV Charging Support and editor of EV News. (The national newsletter of the AEVA).

    He regularly writes on EV topics for TheDriven website and Renew magazine and on behalf of the AEVA presents on EV issues and opportunities to government, business and community groups. 

  • Chris Johnson – EcoMad

    Chris Johnson is a sustainability consultant, energy auditor and managing director of EcoMad. He specializes in energy efficiency for the built environment including energy audits (1000+), building plan reviews, and product supply. In addition to this, he is the co-owner of Draught Busters which specializes in the installation of energy efficiency measures including draught proofing and insulation.


  • Dimase Architects – Antony

    Dimase Architects see each project as an opportunity to serve both the client and community interests by looking optimistically at the present and being mindful of our environmental responsibilities. Our approach is to create architecture that connects people to their environment and makes the best possible use of our resources.

    Dimase Architecture believe good architecture is for everyone and their creative work is guided by a rigorous approach to sustainable design, building science and the creative and considered re-use of older buildings and materials. Dimase have a particular interest in developing daylight design and low energy living within great architecture.

    Dates with this expert are now fully booked for this event. 

  • Fuchsia Branwhite – Garden and Permaculture Expert

    Fuchsia is qualified & experienced landscape and permaculture designer, as well as a horticulturalist, with over a decade of experience in providing garden care & advice to clients across Melbourne.

    Fuchsia has worked on many urban sustainable garden projects, including her own urban permaculture ‘farm’ at her rented Pascoe Vale house where she facilitated farm tours, grew organic heritage vegetables and fruit trees, raised chooks and tested all sorts of sustainable ideas. She’s also been involved in the Permablitz movement & has been been featured in the Open Garden program and Renew Magazine.

    She can advise on all things to do with productive gardening, practical permaculture principles that are easy to implement, the best way to lay out your garden, what to plant, where to plant it, how to decide what will work best and a host of other garden-related tips & tricks.

    Fuchsia is a garden expert that has just been announced for this event. 

  • Greenly – John Hassall

    John Hassall has plenty of experience designing, planting and maintaining green roofs and walls, but can answer all of your garden design questions. John’s background in waste management sparked his interest in green roofs and walls because they typify modern society’s ability to overlook or waste valuable spaces.

    John has experience in both building and landscape management and the combination provides him with knowledge that is crucial for designing and managing green roofs and walls.

    John enjoys discussing all things environmental sustainability, particularly biodiversity, waste reduction, and urban agriculture. He enjoys sharing his own gardening experiences, both on the ground and on the roof.

  • Julie & Anthony – Peppermint Ridge Farm

    Julie Weatherhead and Dr. Anthony Hooper have decades of experience on sustainable living, and are well-versed offering practical advice on permaculture; designing a house for sustainability; sustainable farm planning; growing organic fruits, vegetables and native foods, and designing and implementing food forests. 

    Julie and Anthony live and work on their 8-hectare property, Peppermint Ridge Farm. Since purchasing the site in 1983, they’ve worked tirelessly to implement their regenerative plan for the property and vision to create a living classroom. Peppermint Ridge Farm includes an orchard, vegetable garden, chickens, holistic grazing, agroforestry plantations and native food nursery. There’s also a schoolhouse and restaurant serving native and other foods from the farm and offering monthly “Tour & Taste” events. The schoolhouse building is set up with composting toilet system and a 6kW solar array for the building’s power needs.

    Julie and Anthony live on their property in a house built from reused materials and based on the Passive House principles. They have also published a book ‘Australian Native Foods Harvest’.

    These experts are fully booked for this event. 


  • Marie Carrel – Planet Architecture

    Marie is the Director of Planet Architecture as well as a member of the Building Designers Association of Victoria and is also a registered building professional.

    Marie pays special attention to integrating ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Development) with high functionality and stylish aesthetics in her work and has thorough knowledge of the environmental value of building materials.

    Marie’s vision is to deliver sustainable design and information services widely to accelerate the rate of change towards sustainability.

    Planet Architecture specialise in the design of new green homes, extensions and renovations, with particular attention to high functionality, passive solar design, carbon footprint, conservation and non-toxicity.

    Dates with this expert are now fully booked for this event. 

  • Martin – Roots To Purpose

    Martin and Roots To Purpose design home properties and community gardens from a holistic design perspective, using permaculture principles with a common-sense ‘back to basics’ approach.  Their aim and passion is to educate, support and create a lifestyle that reconnects people back to connection with the natural living world.

    Martin can help you to design your unique property by observing and understanding your property in relation to nature’s patterns, cycles and landscapes – strategically combining and placing elements and features in ways that establish efficiency and sustainability. 

    From basic composting and recycling home waste, to small gardening projects, all the way up to full working systems, Root To Purpose can help you to design a system that suits your needs while empowering you with the tools to continue to apply easy to understand permaculture principles.

    This expert has sold out

  • Maurice Beinat – EcoMaster

    Maurice Beinat is a well known energy and thermal efficiency expert who has worked in the space for over a decade, retrofitting thousands of homes and public buildings. 

    If your home is too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer and has huge energy bills, ecoMaster can fix that, permanently and without structural change to your home.

    Maurice Beinat co-founded ecoMaster to help reduce the environmental impact of existing homes and help people to achieve affordable and low carbon living that protects people from extreme weather and is comfortable all year round. 

    Using his own 1.5 star home as a test case, Maurice has developed and applied technologies to reduce his home’s energy consumption by a massive 84% in a very affordable manner. That home is now rated at 7.6 stars, is carbon neutral and pays the family to live there.

    Sorry, this expert is fully booked, you may register your interest on the waiting list.

  • Renew – Michael O’Connell

    Michael O’Connell is a Renew technical specialist with a long history in public education and presentation around sustainable living topics.

    Michael has over 25 years’ experience in the Telecommunications, IT, Construction and Renewable Energy industries. He is a past president of the Renew and runs a design and energy management consultancy business with a focus on sustainable development.

    Michael designed and built his own house using passive solar design principles together with solar power and integrated permaculture garden.

    Dates with this expert are fully booked for this event. 

  • Renew – Tim Forcey

    Tim Forcey has acted as an energy consultant in over 1000 Melbourne homes and curates the 12,000+ member Facebook Group “My Efficient Electric Home” where home energy dilemmas are resolved every day.

    Tim is an accredited Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard assessor, has published research into home energy economics with the University of Melbourne and is a valued volunteer at Renew. 

    Prior to taking up a keen interest in home energy, Tim worked in industry with companies such as Esso, BHP, Jemena, and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

    Tim has recently also launched his own consultancy business “Tim Forcey Home Energy Advisor” where he helps people to improve comfort and energy performance in their homes.

  • Simone Schenkel – Gruen Eco Design

    Gruen Eco Design are passionate about sustainable design, believing that it is something that can and must be affordable for everyone. For Gruen Eco Design it’s important that sustainability is integrated naturally throughout the whole design process, rather than designing something and trying to make it sustainable later. 

    Simone Schenkel is a Certified Passive House Designer, and owner at Gruen Eco Design. Thanks to her architectural studies in Germany, an essential part of her education was based on sustainability as well as passive house design.

    Gruen Eco Design are really proud of their 9.4 star self sufficient home in Smith Gully, which was built on a restricted budget yet achieves all the sustainable and energy efficient features the clients were aiming for.

    This expert is booked for this session.  You may still select to go on the waiting list in case of cancellation.

  • Solar Savvy – Andrew Armstrong

    Andrew Armstrong specialises in energy efficient building design and energy auditing and is currently a provider of Victorian Government residential Scorecard assessments.

    Andrew is passionate about providing home owners and builders with clever, holistic energy and sustainability advice, helping people to understand how the search for a more thermally efficient place to live begins with an understanding of how the outside environment influences the inside of buildings and homes through all seasons. 

    Whether your wanting to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, or cut the costs of energy purchased – both can be addressed through the understanding of the different heating and cooling options, hot water systems, energy efficient appliances and other renewable energy opportunities.

    Dates with this expert are now fully booked for this event. 

  • Steffen – Steffen Welsch Architects

    Steffen Welsch Architects offer expertise in residential, commercial and institutional buildings and their designs celebrate light, balance and beauty.

    Adopting an ecological approach to the building and its environment, Steffen Welsch Architects work hard to find the right balance between cost efficiency, environmentally sustainable design and implementing innovative systems and products.

    Dates with this expert are now fully booked for this event. 

  • Sustainable Plumbing Solutions – Brent Papadopoulos

    Brent Papadopoulos is the Managing Director of Sustainable Plumbing Solutions, who have been providing people with clean, safe and socially responsible plumbing solutions since 2003. 

    Brent has been awarded Green Plumber of the Year 3 times and is very knowledgeable about all things sustainable plumbing including water storage and grey water treatment.  

    This expert is fully booked for this event.