It's a beautiful November day in Melbourne as I stand on the roof of Australia's first completely carbon neutral office building. The wind is blowing something fierce, but it's still worthwhile to be here on the roof to get a glimpse of the technology that makes this, the Pixel Building, such an appropriate venue for this event with the Secretary and Prime Minister. The sunlight filtering down through the slight cloud covering is captured by photovoltaic panels which track the sun, while inside, the colorful facade (which I'm told took extensive CAD modeling to create) both blocks glare and lets in ambient light to reduce lighting costs. Not to mention a Honeywell company is responsible for the "brains" of the building, the building's management system. The Australian press are excited for this first opportunity to cover Secretary Clinton and Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaking together.
The Secretary and the Prime Minister arrive, and we thankfully have a few minutes to quickly head up to the roof to take a look around before seeking shelter from the wind for the actual press conference. Photographers snap away upstairs as the two chat with Daniel Grollo, CEO of Grocon, who constructed the Pixel building. At the end of a marathon trip through Asia, Secretary Clinton still has some magic up her sleeve with announcements on education, clean energy research, and the importance of combating climate change. Here in the country's "greenest" office building, Secretary Clinton announces new scholarships marking the 60th anniversary of our Fulbright agreement with Australia. Designed to increase scientific cooperation, both countries pledge $225,000 over three years for Fulbright scholarships in renewable energy research. In addition, the Secretary and Prime Minister announce support (including $500,000 from the Department of State) to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute and the launch of a new joint program in solar energy collaboration.
Meanwhile, the wind is turning turbines on the roof, which were manufactured locally and installed and used for the first time on this building. The Secretary's right, it's time to put similar technology to wider use.