Hello from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia!
I am crossing the halfway point of my term as the “Fulbright Professional Scholar in Climate Change and Clean Energy” (a shorter title would be far better), and it has gone by quickly! Melbourne is a great city, with so much happening every day, festivals every weekend, and ample opportunity to “research” the inside of local bars, music halls, and restaurants.
As to the real research (as opposed to the cultural exchange), I have broadened my scope with my hosts at ClimateWorks Australia from the implementation of the Australian national Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) requirements for office buildings at time of sale or lease, to more broad policy considerations impacting problem areas for Australia. As in the U.S., code compliance and the ability of buildings to reach their design potential are challenging. We are working to find creative policy options for improving both compliance and performance.
The Fulbright Commission encourages and supports the proliferation of the research they fund, and as a result I have some airplane time in my future. I’ve already spent some time in Perth with the Commission, and soon I’ll be headed to Singapore during the first week of April to work a bit with the Building & Construction Authority of Singapore, creators and implementers of the “Green Mark” green building program for buildings (new and existing, commercial and residential), as well as the building code enforcement agency. Side note: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the life of Lee Kuan Yew, who recently passed away and is largely responsible for the prosperity of the successful country/metropolis I will soon visit.
Then in late May, I’ll be headed to Wellington, NZ to present at the Energy Managers Association of New Zealand (EMANZ) conference on the evolution of benchmarking in the U.S. and Australia. Of course, I hope to go over a bit early for some hiking, fishing or other outdoor activity. I'm not completely convinced that the pictures I see of New Zealand's beautiful mountains are real...
June 1st sees me flying nearly around the world to Toulon, France to present a paper entitled “Building Energy Rating & Benchmarking: Understanding Similarities and Differences” comparing benchmarking and disclosure policies in the European Union, the U.S., and Australia at the ECEEE Summer Study on Buildings. My co-authors are Adam Hinge of Sustainable Energy Partnerships and Andrew Burr from the U.S. Department of Energy.
I’ll be back home in San Francisco by mid-June. All that travel correlates to a higher “average speed” than I’d like, but of course I gratefully welcome the opportunity.
 Hat tip to David Goldstein who introduced me to taking my total frequent flier miles for the year, then dividing by the 8765 hours in a year to get that “average speed.”