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Rebecca Coulthard

from Caring for the Environment to Environmental Sustainable Design Engineer
I ensure buildings are built and operate in a sustainable way.
Construction and infrastructure
Hutchinson Builders
Job Level
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Ask me about

  • Turning my love of animals and the environment into a job
  • finding my passion in sustainable design
  • Why environmental standards are constantly changing

About me

In high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I ended up studying a broad range of subjects in Year 12 to keep my options open. I was interested in buildings and design, but then also cared for the environment and loved animals. 

From this I decided to study Environmental Engineering & Science at Monash University – initially with the plan of being an engineer or using my science degree to work in conservation or zoo keeping.

Once I started university, I soon realised my passion was the combination of the built environment and sustainability trying to do my part in creating a better future. I was thrilled to find ESD engineer as a career pathway as the role of making buildings more sustainable was what I wanted to do.

After I graduated university, I was applying for various graduate ESD engineering jobs. It took a while but eventually I landed a job as an ESD engineer in Brisbane.

About my role

  • Analytical
  • Curious
  • Thorough

An ESD (Environmental Sustainable Design) Engineer assists on buildings projects to develop a pathway to achieve the project’s sustainability aspirations. There are a number of standards in industry to benchmark sustainability performance, including standards focusing on design and construction and standards focused on operational performance.

An ESD Engineer works closely and collaborates with the wider design and client team to ensure everyone is aware of sustainable initiatives to be implemented and push design team to go beyond the status quo.

On top of meeting overarching sustainability aspirations, the ESD Engineer role is also to get more detailed and complete modelling exercises to understand and predict the energy and water efficiency performance buildings. From this modelling the ESD Engineer works with the design team to implement changes to building materials and systems to improve performance.

Once a building is constructed and in operation, the ESD Engineer also gets to track the energy and water consumption of the building and work closely with the services team to ensure systems performance are optimised. 

Students Book Here Educators Book Here


  • High School Certificate
  • Bachelor of Environmental Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science (Physics)


  • Mathematical Methods (Maths B)
  • Physics


  • Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Honour List
  • Dean’s List Fellowship Award Faculty of Science
  • Premier’s Award for Visual Communication & Design (Yr 12)


  • 1 Cat
  • 1 Dog

15 year old me!!

“You don’t need to get everything perfect and right all the time, progress is much more valuable and you’ll learn more by being willing to ask the ‘silly’ questions and being curious. ”

My career journey

Curious to know how I got here? Here’s a snapshot of my career pathway.
  1. Finished high school and went straight to uni2.
  2. Changed my science major from Biology to Physics
  3. Completed a semester abroad in Sweden
  4. Landed my first graduate engineering job and moved to Brisbane
  5. Jumped across to the construction side working for Hutchies

My employer

Hutchies has been building the structures in which Australians live, work, study, shop and play since 1912. As Australia's largest privately owned construction company, our business capability allows us to build not just in big cities but also in the most remote regions of Australia and across multiple sectors including: commercial and residential high-rise, health, education, retail, and aged care – just to name a few. We pride ourselves on providing the best possible value, ensuring buildability without compromising quality or design. Hutchies was born as a family business, and we’ve held on to the same core values for 110 years; investing in relationships, taking care of the community, and giving our people the knowledge, skills, and tools, they need to grow and develop and delight our clients through their work.