The owner and developer of the Szencorp Building, Peter Szental, passed away at home surrounded by his close family on 14 July 2010. He was a tireless and passionate champion on climate change and sustainability, and widely respected for his pioneering work over three decades to improve Australia’s sustainability.
Peter was a passionate advocate for action on climate change and sustainable buildings, possessing a sharp eye, an impatience for action, and a strong ethic of business accountability. He is credited with a leading role in turning energy efficiency into mainstream business in Australia. Some of his achievements included:
- Turning the Szencorp Building at 40 Albert Road in Melbourne into a recognised world-leading example of sustainable retrofitting. The building achieved global fame for cutting its energy use by 65 per cent, and for achieving the highest water, energy, waste and Indoor Environment Quality ratings from NABERS given to any Australian building. It was the first retrofitted building to achieve a 6 Star Green Star rating.
- Founding the Szencorp Group to focus on energy efficiency solutions for buildings and green property developments. The cornerstone of the Szencorp Group, Energy Conservation Systems, has been at the forefront of Australian efforts to improve performance in buildings since 1983, as well as establishing joint ventures and growing energy efficiency industry capacity in Thailand, Malaysia and India.
- Establishing leadership positions in development of a range of clean technologies, regularly demonstrating a vision far ahead of his time. At various times Peter held clear national leadership positions in the development of technologies as diverse as efficient lighting, solar air-conditioning, bioenergy, and electric cars.
- Serving as Founder of the Australian Alliance to Save Energy and Founding President of the Energy Efficiency Council, as well as being instrumental in the establishment and early work of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Green Building Council of Australia, Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Clean Energy Council. He sat on advisory committees for Federal and State Governments too numerous to list.
Peter defied conventions and had diverse interests. He was passionate about the Melbourne Football Club, where he served as a Director. He held degrees in science, politics, philosophy and business. His many private passions, including skiing, wine, spending time with his close family, football and the arts, were pursued every bit as much as his professional commitment to leaving the world a better place for all of our children.
Peter will be greatly missed.