UniSA alumni are sharing their knowledge to confront climate change together to make a real difference
Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Management), 1995
Graduate Diploma in Computer and Information Science, 1998
CEO and co-founder of Suntrix
Bachelor of Business (Marketing), 1984
Founder of ZEN Energy
Tackling climate change is the number one priority for UniSA alumni Jenny Paradiso and Richard Turner. Jenny and Richard have both established award-winning and successful solar energy companies, and recently teamed-up to share their wealth of knowledge with those involved with the Research Node for Low Carbon Living.
UniSA’s Research Node for Low Carbon Living, which was co-funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), is a hub for technological, social and economic research, aimed at developing and utilising low carbon products and services.
ZEN Energy is the most awarded business in the solar industry nationally and has such a good business model that it achieved two years of 600 per cent growth during the global financial crisis. Richard and his company, ZEN Energy, have also won a number of awards such as 2014 Runner Up National Innovation Award from the Clean Energy Council and 2011 Excellence in Environmental Sustainability Award from the Technology Industry Association.
Richard says that the ZEN Energy team are passionate and focussed about climate change and the economic future of South Australia.
“ZEN Energy will help position South Australia for future prosperity,” Richard says.
Suntrix, a business that won both the Telstra SA Business of the Year and Telstra SA Medium Business of the Year in 2013, Jenny says was started over the kitchen table.
“My husband and I started the business from home, doing residential installations, firstly for family and friends and then finding out that there are actually a lot of people out there looking for a company that was value for money, that knew what they were talking about, that had that honesty and integrity,” she says.
Jenny manages the strategic direction of Suntrix, Suntrix Commercial and Suntrix Monitoring, and is now helping her residential, commercial and wholesale clients save money and reduce their carbon footprints, as well as overseeing continued growth and diversification of the brand and its processes.
Jenny was able to share her knowledge and experience by speaking at the Node’s Industry Friends of Low Carbon Living forum in August this year, where she addressed the importance of good designs and panel placement when it comes to solar systems and optimising performance.
Richard is a member of the Research Node’s Strategic Management Committee and says his role involves looking at ways to educate the community and home builders, not only on technology that is available but the economic benefit of building more sustainably.
“I chose this industry because I care about the planet, but having a background in business I understand there won’t be a behavioural shift in the population until there are more economical options,” Richard says.
“We are not going to shift the mass population’s behavior until we produce homes and technology that is simply a better economical choice than building cheaper poorly-designed homes and paying a lot for dirty coal power ongoing through the old model.
“People now have the choice of taking control and having independence from the old electricity model.
“It is important to tackle anthropogenic climate change because we have no choice – business as usual will see a four-degree temperature rise over this current century which spells disaster for our future generations!”
Jenny agrees with Richard and believes low carbon businesses have huge growth potential and will provide many long-term benefits.
“Low carbon living, renewable energy, all types of technology relating to that is the way of the future and I think it’s admirable and the university, in particular, should be commended for the work they’re doing and the foresight they’ve had to set this team up, to actually focus on it,” Jenny says.
“We want to make the world a better place any way we can.”
All UniSA alumni have an exciting opportunity to hear from more Industry Presenters at the next Industry Friends of Low Carbon Living Forum at UniSA on October 17. To register, visit the Industry Friends of Low Carbon Living website.
The Research Node for Low Carbon Living also invites alumni to contact them to discuss their low carbon related research needs. These enquiries can be directed to Node Manager Stephen Berry or Node Leader Wasim Saman.