About Us, Biography & Ethos

About Progressive Sustainability

Progressive Sustainability specialises in home and small business energy assessments, energy saving and green building workshops, and sustainability-related education services for households, businesses, governments, schools, clubs and community groups.  It is managed by Matthew Ruffin, an experienced university and TAFE lecturer, qualified trainer, science communicator, and energy assessor, who is committed to sustainability as an ethos, a lifestyle and a business.  Are you an individual or household in need of an energy audit?  Or are you committed to lowering the impact of your lifestyle but need help understanding the issues and how you can act on them?
Are you a small business looking for ideas on how to cut your energy consumption, or to train your staff in sustainability awareness and sustainable behaviours?
Are you an energy utility keen to train your call centre or general staff in energy concepts?  Or seeking to run energy efficiency workshops for your customers?
Are you a government department looking to hold office sustainability or general sustainability issue awareness training for your staff?
Are you a school wanting to hold a series of seminars engaging your students in sustainability topics like energy, water, biodiversity, climate, sustainable building, transport, agriculture, etc?  Or would you like to provide training and support for your teachers on sustainability issues?
Are you a local council needing consultation on sustainability issues, or training for staff about what sustainability means, why it's important and what they can do about it?
Are you a local club or community group seeking to train your staff in energy awareness, or run seminars for your members about issues like household and lifestyle sustainability?
If you are looking for anything even distantly related to what has been described above, please contact Progressive Sustainability here:  
Contact us today  If we cannot help you, we will do our very best to refer you on to someone who can!


The ethos of Progressive Sustainability boils down to one self-evident truth: a civilisation that is unsustainable will at some point collapse.  Obviously, collapse is highly undesirable, so it is in the interests of all who care about their own future and the future of those yet to come to rapidly re-imagine and re-design how we do things along sustainable principles such as:
  • efficient resource use, no matter what the resource
  • renewable, non-polluting generation of energy
  • closed-loop production and consumption systems where waste is anathema
There are myriad benefits to sustainability within organisations including financial savings, reduction of future regulatory risk, improved staff morale, and reduced environmental impact.


mug-shotMatthew Ruffin is an energy assessor, sustainability communicator, university lecturer, qualified trainer, and consultant in environmental issues and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) sustainability.  Originally trained in the 1990s as an ecologist during his BSc at the Australian National University (ANU), Matthew more recently completed a Masters in Resources, Environment and Society (major: human ecology, systems thinking) at the Fenner School of Environment (ANU).  Matthew also has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.  As a leader in sustainability through education and consulting, Matthew’s expertise delivers practical solutions to people and organisations to start making a difference to their TBL sustainability NOW.
Matthew’s recent work experience includes four years teaching Sustainable Communities at the University of Canberra (UC), seven years of teaching and training in environment and sustainability at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Home Industry Association (HIA), and five years as a household energy assessor for the ACT Government’s defunct HEAT program during which he conducted detailed energy audits of over 1000 Canberra households.  Matthew also worked for the ACT government's ActSmart program as a small business auditor, conducted a series of Energy Saving Workshops for the community on behalf of ActewAGL each winter for four years running, and has designed and delivered customised energy literacy training for ActewAGL retail and call centre staff.
Matthew’s specialty is communicating about energy and sustainability issues and the ways to address them.  During Matthew’s HEAT audits he taught households how they could be more comfortable in their homes while saving money and reducing their environmental impact at the same time.  Matthew designed and taught two semester-long environmental awareness courses for CIT, and has taught the Sustainable Communities course at UC with extremely positive and enthusiastic feedback from students.
Not only is Matthew well acquainted with various aspects of sustainability, he is committed to living a sustainable lifestyle in which he monitors the impacts of his consumption and actively reduces his impact on natural resources and the environment – he is someone who researches the issues, teaches about them, and also acts upon them.
Matthew strongly believes that sustainability education is a crucial tool in moving towards a sustainable society, and that greater awareness and understanding of sustainability enables individuals, households, schools, businesses and governments to develop models of sustainable behaviour and commerce.  Matthew understands that developing knowledge and skills in others to implement sustainability measures is crucial to achieving Australia’s environmental goals, which are a significant challenge facing the community.
Early adoption of sustainability as a personal or business ethos is a way of future-proofing against the changes to society and economy that are inevitable in a growing world straining against the limits of the planet’s resources and natural systems.