Interview with Marlon Kobacker
As the principal in charge of leading the sustainability advisory team with Clean Energy Corporation Australia, Marlon Kobacker brings well over a decade’s worth of experience advising both private and public organizations on a wide range of issues relating to sustainable practices. One of the foremost authorities on the subject of sustainability, Kobacker has been frequently called upon to share his expertise on an international basis and has been featured as a speaker at a number of conferences across the globe. Though his expertise is incredibly expansive, his speaking engagements often focus on strategies for removing the capital cost barrier in a manner that makes the adoption of clean energy technology far more palatable.
The first graduate of the photovoltaic engineering program at the University of New South Wales, Kobacker has always been on the cutting edge of the green energy and sustainable technology industry. In fact, his expertise in the field of sustainability led to nominations for both the “Young Achiever of the Year,” an honor bestowed by the UK Building Services, and the Property Council of Australia’s “New Achiever of the Year.” As a senior ESD consultant with Cundall, Kobacker was centrally involved in a variety of high-profile projects, including the JP Morgan Tower in Sydney and the Tiara United Towers in Dubai, among many others.
Which are the top 3 high-profile projects that you have undertaken?
I’m very proud of all of the projects I have had the fortune of being involved with, and I approach each project with the same detail-oriented focus regardless of the project’s status, high-profile or otherwise. With that being said, the most high-profile projects I have undertaken are the ones I am currently involved with through Sustainable Future Group, EarthRights International, and Clean Energy Corporation Australia.
As far as specific projects that have already been completed, each of the following were fairly high-profile endeavors:
• Singapore National Sustainable Blueprint for 2050 (Singapore Ministry of Environment and Water)
• Future of Manufacturing Foresight Study (UK Treasury)
• Sydney Metro and Sydney Metro Northwest
• Sydney International Convention Centre
• M1 to M2 Tunnel Link (New South Wales)
• Bidadari Park Master Plan (Singapore)
• Bandar Malaysia Master Plan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
How do you feel being nominated “Young Achiever of the Year,” and “New Achiever of the Year.” in UK and Australia?
It is humbling and gratifying all at once to be recognized as a nominee for these prestigious awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also encouraging that the critical importance of the work being done in the sustainable design and clean energy industries is generating this kind of global recognition and helping to raise further awareness of the issues we are working so hard to solve.
Which is the most challenging strategy for removing the capital cost barrier in a manner that makes the adoption of clean energy technology far more palatable?
The most challenging aspect at this point is simply raising greater awareness of the financial benefits generated through the use of available clean energy technologies, especially when compared to the technologies currently in use. This is especially true when considered with a long-term perspective since the financial benefits tend to compound over time -- not to mention the increasing likelihood of greater financial disincentives for using outdated, inefficient, or environmentally detrimental technologies, resources, or practices.
What are some sustainable practices in Green Tech field that is interesting to you?
There are so many interesting developments and practices that will continue to move our industry forward and inspire additional innovations that benefit society at large, but I have long been especially interested in practices that take full advantage of passive design opportunities. This requires early involvement with a project, but there is a great deal that can be accomplished through design strategies that incorporate existing characteristics.
What do you think could greatly help address climate change and have a positive impact on the world?
I think continued educational efforts done on a global scale will ultimately prove to be the most effective strategy for addressing climate change with the urgency necessary to make a positive change possible. Legislative efforts and financial incentives are certainly helpful, but the global scale of this issue requires the total investment of people all over the world. Such an investment can only be accomplished through a comprehensive understanding of the extent and severity of this issue and the actions we can take to address it.
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