Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sustainable House Day 2011

Part of Sustainable September includes Sustainable House Day. We visited an open house on Sunday morning, a renovation (retaining the small, street-facing original double brick home) using passive solar and universal design principles throughout. It was really helpful to talk with the owner and hear their experiences on the ins and outs of designing and building a home using green principles.

Here are my take away thoughts:
  • Get a number of quotes from architects and builders before making a final decision.
  • Have a good ongoing relationship with your architect (they can also help when talking with the builders, especially if issues arise).
  • Be prepared to compromise if necessary for practicality sake (it's incredibly expensive to take a purist's view on sustainable design and building!) and be wary of "green washing".
  • Be available regularly at least to stay in touch with progress, especially if there are suggested design changes.
  • Engage builders who are knowledgable in sustainable building practices, materials and approaches (including minimising on-site rubbish and disruption where possible).
  • Be realistic (and well prepared) about budget and timeframes!
  • Think beyond the initial build/renovation (i.e. future proofing and ongoing maintenance needs, etc).
  • Be prepared for a relatively stressful time throughout. :o)
And the garden? Don't leave it til the end, build it into the design and get stuck in! :o)

Happy gardening!

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