Tag Archives: Eco

reduce reuse recycle [and rethink]: buildings

sustainable green eco homes building renovation extension Ballarat Daylesford Melbourne Victoria

reduce reuse recycle [and rethink]: buildings

When it comes to caring for the environment, we’re all pretty used to the concept of “The Three R’s”, in terms of sorting our household waste, upcycling furniture, or embracing vintage fashion… but what about when it comes to buildings?

As an architect with a passion for sustainable design, I dream of the day where we can ALL live in affordable, comfortable, healthy, beautiful and sustainable homes that have a strong connection with (and care for) our natural environment.

At the rate we are consuming the earth’s resources, Australians live like we had FOUR planets to provide for us1. Our current ecological footprint is not sustainable, and in order for our childrens’ children to be able to live in a world that provides enough for their needs, we need to make some more responsible decisions now.

Buildings consume around 40% of our planet’s materials, and 30% of energy resources2. It really is time to rethink our homes. It is not just about “adding” on solar panels and water tanks (although that all helps), there’s much more we can do to improve our mindset an create a more sustainable future. Continue reading

Creative Cubby Project – Ballarat Show 2014

You probably know by now that I’m not “just an architect” (nor just a mother), but that I also love sharing my passion with others about sustainable design, often by writing and speaking about it, and being involved with the local community.

I’ve been involved with a fabulous project with a great team that brings a lot of my interests together – it’s a Creative Cubby Project – to teach and inspire (and be inspired by!) our future generations about sustainable living. How much fun?!

Creative Cubby Project Ballarat Show Flyer

Our flyer… it’s all about FREE, fun and family-friendly!

Our first event was at the Ballarat Show, this past weekend. Three full days of creativity, fun, play, innovation, inspiration and learning a bit about sustainability, whilst building a giant cubby house out of recycled materials! We were very fortunate to receive a “Community Impact Grant” from the City of Ballarat to help fund the project. Most of our materials were donated – including some very large boxes, or purchased from the fabulous recycled collection at Reverse Art Truck (formerly known as Reverse Garbage). These included boxes, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, card, bottle tops, synthetic grass, timber dowells, ribbons, magazines, straws, cork, pipe-cleaners, fabric and more!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Materials

Just some of our materials… we had LOADS!

We were a spin-off from an “Eco-Cubby House” event at last year’s show, and were also very inspired by “Caine’s Arcade” – a 9yo boy who built an entire games-arcade from cardboard! Check out the heartwarming video about him, and the “Imagination Foundation” that resulted… We even joined our project in their Global Cardboard Challenge (which is all about engaging kids all over the world in creative play – over 46 countries are currently involved)!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Making

Our little makers (and some big ones too!) were so busy creating!

I loved the imagination and creativity that the kids displayed – and their parents too! We had a rule of “no glue and no paint” so everything could be dismantled and disassembled at the end of the project and then reused or recycled. This meant more innovation and creativity was involved with the building and making! Instead of glue, our fixings included: masking tape, pegs, string, rubber-bands, twist-ties, paper-clips, bulldog-clips,  pipe-cleaners, pins and staples.

Creative-Cubby-Project-Site

Our eco-cubby house and garden!

Our main cubby house was built over the three days and included tunnels, towers, secret rooms, openable windows and doors, skylights, peepholes, curtains, flyscreens, wind turbines, solar panels, ceiling fan, roof garden, green wall (with flowers), letter box, chimney, welcome mat and more! Our main garden area included a large tree (complete with leaves, birds, insects, swing, lantern, nest and more), a sky (including sun, clouds, rainbow and plane), our rooftop garden (full of trees, plants, flowers, scarecrow, caterpillars, rabbits, pig, birds and butterflies),  stepping-stones, a fish pond, and a patchwork shade sail!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Objects

Look at some these fabulous creations!

The kids had free reign over what they wanted to contribute to the project.  Some of their ideas were fabulous! Check out the welcome-sign for the door, the barbecue complete with kebabs(!), the upholstered armchair, the stick insect and spider, and the fish pond complete with water-feature! We had a radio, a tv, a clock, all made out of cardboard! There was also a garage – as we had some truly inventive tractors, trolleys, cars and trains… all run on fuel from renewable resources of course!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Kids

How much fun is a big box with a hole cut in it?!

I think our favourite thing was seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they explored and discovered the ins and outs of the cubby, and then felt some ownership as they contributed. It was so gorgeous to see! We had such lovely feedback from both the kids and adults – many visited more than once, or stayed for quite a long time, and many said it was their favourite thing at the show! We especially loved hearing that our zone was a calm haven amongst the crazy, busy, noisy, expensive and instant-gratification of the rides/carnival-games/junk- food/showbags outside our pavilion. We had repeat comments about the value of ‘quality family time’, free-family-friendly, space to recalibrate, calm haven for kids, creative craft time, easy to replicate at home, held their kids attention, learning more about sustainability and reduce/re-use/recycle… and the words “slow cubby movement” were heard a number of times….

Creative-Cubby-Project-Team

Our Creative Cubby Project team!

I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be part of this fabulous community art engagement initiative!
A big thanks to the fabulous project co-ordinator, Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling, (POD Design) who is a local Visual Artist, who creates intricate, whimsical drawings often with bright, bold colours. She regularly runs art-workshops with school children, encouraging creativity and artistic expression of imimaginative thinking.  And a big thanks to the lovely Liz Cummins, Ballarat Landscape Architect of ‘Bricolage Design‘ who specialises in play spaces and children’s landscapes. Liz also has a background in early childhood education – how lucky were we to have her wisdom and experience! Liz also wrote a great wrap-up of the weekend here. And for those who don’t know me, I’m Talina Edwards, of Ballarat-based sustainable design studio ‘Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design‘, and also a mum to two creative young lads. I think together we made a great team, and please stay tuned for further news about where our Creative Cubby Project might pop up next!

Find out more:
Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeCubbyProject
Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/creative_cubby
Email us at: creativecubbyproject@gmail.com

And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “eco – cubby”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! ;o)

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

 

 

Do you value creativity in kids? What’s your creative outlet? What do you do to “slow” down? (Please reply in the comments box below).


 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!

 

Grand Designs Live Melbourne 2014

Grand Designs Live Melbourne 2014

I have a confession to make…

… I do rather like attending a home-show! Whether they’re industry-specific and more of a trade-show for construction-professionals, or a show aimed at DIYers and the average-joe, I’m all for it! There is always plenty to learn – not only from exhibits showcasing new products, but perhaps more so from the presentations by leaders in their fields. Earlier this year I wrote about my day at DesignBuild Expo, focusing on “Sustainability Day”.

Last week I attended Grand Designs Live in Melbourne. It was rather a last-minute decision, but I’m so glad I went. It is basically the Grand Designs Empire (both UK and Australian versions) branching out to include this event, with the big drawcard(s) being that Kevin McCloud and Peter Maddison present live. There were three stages with presenters on all day over the three days “Grand Theatre”, “Design Stage” and the “Sustainability Stage”.  The exhibits were mainly grouped in four categories: ‘Kitchens and Bathrooms’, ‘Building’, ‘Outdoors’ and ‘Interiors’ which gave a great overview, and there was also “Ask An Expert” kiosks, an Interior Design Competition showcase of some emerging designers, and Book Signing too of course. Plenty to see and do!

Ballarat Architect Home Building Blog

Grand Designs Live 2014


 

I spent most of my time at the “Sustainability Stage”, naturally, as there were some great speakers and topics.

I was really keen on seeing Dick Clarke (Envirotecture and Alternative Technology Association) speak about the book he edited How To Rethink Building Materials. I’d recently purchased this book, and haven’t digested the whole lot yet, but was so excited (yes I’m a nerd!) when I heard of its release. It was the book I was waiting for – over 40 of Australia’s (and the world’s) experts with up to date knowledge about how we can make more sustainable choices when it comes to the materials we select. Dick Clarke is very passionate about what he does, and he gave a great overview of the book, and then showed a couple of examples of different houses he’d designed where the material choices were very different – dependent on the specific site location, owners and particular requirements.

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Dick Clarke on the Sustainability Stage

 

Regional Victoria Building Home Architecture Blog

Rethinking Building Materials

I also enjoyed the presentation by Chris Philpot (Planet Ark) & Sven Maxa (Maxa Design) about Building and Designing with Responsibly Sourced Wood. Planet Ark are currently running a “Make It Wood – Do Your World Some Good” campaign to promote awareness about consumers buying timber products ethically. Look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label as certification that the wood was responsibly sourced. Sven Maxa showed a house he’d designed where most of the timber sourced from the project was either recycled/reclaimed timber, or from plantation sources.

My other favourite presentation was Peter Maddison (Maddison Architects and Grand Designs Australia Host) who presented Sustainability: Case Studies and Principles. He showed us a number of interesting examples of homes from around Australia, which had all featured on Grand Designs Australia, each with their own sustainability agendas. I asked Peter if after four or five seasons of filming so many inspirational homes around Australia, if (as an Architect) he had learned anything that he wished he’s known before? He answered that he is always learning, that we are all always learning, and perhaps some of what he has seen has informed his own architectural practice (as it all becomes part of our subconscious).   I realised I hadn’t yet seen any of the Australian series, so promptly headed off to the Merchandise stall to get myself a box-set of inspiration!

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Peter Maddison

I hadn’t paid the big bucks to see Kevin on the big stage, but happened to catch part of his presentation from the back, along with a growing crowd of gawkers. I loved that he emphasised that “Grand” Designs are about grand ideas, not necessarily grand budgets, nor a grand scale. He showed one of his personal favourite “grand designs” which was a community housing project for single-mothers, that whilst not a grand architectural endeavour, over the years had done so much for the social-sustainability for improving the lives of these women and children that it had a special place in his heart…and that is one of the things that people love about Kevin.

 So what else is it that we all love about Grand Designs? I recently asked on social media, and got some great responses –  there is a lot of love for Kevin out there! It seems we like Kevin for telling it like it is, for engaging the viewer in the journey, and being able to change his opinion. He is obviously intelligent and passionate about telling these stores about people and their homes, and personally I love that he is an Architectural-ambassador of sorts…helping to promote the value of good design and smart decisions. He is also a Sustainability Ambassador – although he doesn’t like the word “sustainability” as it is over-used these days. But his gem of a book that I only recently discovered (and now highly recommend!) is “Kevin McCloud’s Principles of Home: Making a Place to Live” which is essentially a manifesto for a better (more sustainable) way to live; both inspiring and practical! If grand designs is your “architectural porn”, then this might just be your new ” architectural bible”!?! 

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

My new architectural ‘bible’ – Kevin’s manifesto for a better world

Ultimately we all love the stories behind these grand designs – the before and after, the journey, the dream, the things that went wrong, the innovative ideas, the blown-out budgets and timeframes – but without the dramatics that tends to be compulsory on other “reality” shows. We love this, because architecture IS about people and how they live!

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Early Christmas Present to self… also tax-deductible!

Thanks Kevin. (And Peter). Now I’m off to catch-up on a gazillion hours of old series…it is “research” of course :o)

And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “Grand Design”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

 

 

Are you a Grand Designs and Kevin McCloud fan too? Tell me, what is it that you LOVE the most about the show? (Please reply in the comments box below).

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Some well-thumbed and well-loved Grand Designs handbooks… no I’m not getting paid to promote all these!

 


 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our posts!

 

Green building resource guide

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions, so if you have a query  please let us know!

We’ve recently added a “Resources” page to our website, as we often find that we’re recommending links or websites to people for further information. This information will be a permanent page which will be regularly updated. But we wanted to share the news with you first, that it is now live. If you have any additional resources to add – please let us know!

sustainable green healthy home house architecture building

 

There is so much information out there on green buildings, sustainable living and healthy homes, that it can be overwhelming to know where to start!

We’ve compiled this list of resources to help you, and we’ll continue to update it. Hope you’ll find it useful.

 

 

 

BALLARAT RESOURCES:

Smart Living Centre Ballarat: http://smartlivingballarat.org.au

BREAZE (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions): http://breaze.org.au

Ballarat Permaculture Guild: ballaratpermacultureguild.org/

Ballarat Environment Network: http://ben.org.au

Ballarat Climate Action 2014: http://ballaratclimateaction2014.blogspot.com.au

Ballarat Green Drinks events: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ballarat-Green-Drinks

 

SUSTAINABLE BUILDING/ARCHITECTURE REFERENCE BOOKS:

Your Home” Technical Manual (+free online site): http://www.yourhome.gov.au/index.html

Sustainable House” by Michael Mobbs   http://www.sustainablehouse.com.au

Warm House, Cool House: Inspirational Designs for Low-Energy Housing” (second edition) by Nick Hollo http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/6869.htm

Grand Designs Australian Handbook” by Peter Maddison https://shop.abc.net.au/products/grand-designs-aust-handbook-pb

Cradle to Cradle” by Michael Braungart and William McDonaugh http://www.cradletocradle.com

Greeniology” by Tanya Ha: http://www.tanyaha.com/greeniology.html

 

MAGAZINES (PRINT & ONLINE):

Green Magazine: http://greenmagazine.com.au/

Sanctuary Magazine: http://www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au/

ReNew Magazine: http://renew.org.au

Owner Builder Magazine: http://www.theownerbuilder.com.au

Pip Permaculture Magazine: https://www.pipmagazine.com.au

 

GREEN BUILDING WEBSITES – INSPIRATION & IDEAS:

Inhabitat, Design Will Save The World: http://inhabitat.com

Ecological Homes: http://www.ecologicalhomes.com.au/

Sustainable Design Forum: http://www.sustainabledesignforum.com/

Sustainable House Tours: www.sustainablehouseday.com (Second weekend of September each year).

Your Future Home: www.yourfuturehome.com.au

Home style Green: (NZ-based podcast about living in a healthy and sustainable environment, with international content) http://homestylegreen.com

 

GENERAL SUSTAINABLE LIVING:

Living Greener: http://www.livinggreener.gov.au

Sustainability Victoria: http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au

Liveability (Live the way you want, sustainably): http://www.liveability.com.au

“GREEN” Wikipedia http://www.greenlivingpedia.org/Greenlivingpedia

Sustainable Living Festival (Sustainable Living Foundation Australia) http://www.slfestival.org

Sustainable Living Guide: http://sustainablelivingguide.com.au 

One Million Women: http://www.1millionwomen.com.au This is a national campaign to inspire 1 million Australian women to take practical action on climate change by cutting 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse pollutant causing global warming. Every woman who joins has a personal goal to cut 1 tonne of CO2 from their daily lives within a year of joining the campaign.

 

WATER EFFICIENCY:

Save Water: http://www.savewater.com.au

Rainwater Tank Calculations (free online tool): http://tankulator.ata.org.au

Water Efficient Products: www.waterrating.gov.au

CHOICE (independent publisher of consumer information) www.choice.com.au (Generally considers water efficiency in reports and product/appliance rankings)

Saving Water (Dept of Environment and Primary Industries)  http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/water/saving-water

Central Highlands Water (Building and Renovating, Sewer location): http://www.chw.net.au/business/building-and-renovating

Central Highlands Water (Building over easement): http://www.chw.net.au/development/build-over-easements

For solar hot water info, see “RENEWABLE ENERGY” category below

 

SUSTAINABLE MATERIAL SELECTION:

EcoSpecifier (Certified and verified sustainable products database): www.ecospecifier.org

Good Environmental Choice Australia: http://www.geca.org.au/

Forest Stewardship Council Australia: http://www.fscaustralia.org/

Forest Stewardship Council International: http://www.fsc.org/en/

Good Wood Guide: www.goodwoodguide.org.au

EcoBuy (Sustainable procurement advice and support): www.ecobuy.org.au

Greenlist guide (Moreland City Council):  www.sustainablesteps.com.au/pdf/Moreland Greenlist 050905v2.0.pdf

Window Energy Rating Scheme (Window Efficiency Rankings): www.wers.net

 

APPLIANCES (ENERGY EFFICIENT):

Energy Labelling (Appliances) Energy Rating http://www.energyrating.gov.au/

CHOICE (independent publisher of consumer information) www.choice.com.au (Generally considers energy efficiency in reports and product/appliance rankings)

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY / SOLAR HOT WATER:

Alternative Technology Association: http://www.ata.org.au

Green-Power Government Accredited Renewable Energy http://www.greenpower.gov.au

Office of the Renewable Energy Target (and rebate info for solar electricity and solar hot water) http://www.orer.gov.au/

Solar Hot Water Rebate http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/www/html/1378-applying-for-a-solar-hot-water-rebate.asp?intSiteID=4

Solar Hot Water Rebate: www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/www/html/1376-solar-hot-water-rebate.asp

BREAZE Energy Solutions: http://breaze.org.au/about-bes

 

 ONLINE CALCULATORS:

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

WWF Australia’s  Ecological Footprint Calculator (for individuals): http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/people_and_the_environment/human_footprint/footprint_calculator/

Global footprint network calculator: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/gfn/page/calculators

Carbon neutral carbon calculator: http://www.carbonneutral.com.au/carbon-calculator.html

Centre for Sustainable Economy Ecological Footprint Quiz: http://www.myfootprint.org/

WATER FOOTPRINT

Water footprint calculator: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/YourWaterFootprint

LED LIGHTING CALCULATOR

LED lighting calculator: http://www.ledlightingcalculator.com.au 

R-VALUE (INSULATION) CALCULATOR

R-Value Calculator http://rvalue.com.au

WATER TANK CALCULATOR

Rainwater Tank Calculations (free online tool): http://tankulator.ata.org.au

 

GREEN ROOFS (LIVING ROOFS):

Growing Green Guide: A guide to green roofs, walls and facades in Melbourne and Victoria (free download) http://www.growinggreenguide.org

 

SUSTAINABLE GARDENING/PERMACULTURE:

Sustainable Gardening Australia: www.sgaonline.org.au

Ballarat Permaculture Guild: http://www.ballaratpermacultureguild.org

Permablitz Ballarat: http://www.permablitz.net/regional-groups/25-permablitz-ballarat-part-of-ballarat-permaculture-guild

Permaculture Australia: http://permacultureaustralia.org.au

Holmgren Design, Permaculture vision and innovation: http://holmgren.com.au

 

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT:

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Public Transport Victoria: http://ptv.vic.gov.au

BICYCLES

Bicycle Network: https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au

Bicycle Route Maps: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Moreinfoandservices/Bicycles/BicycleMaps/

CAR-SHARE (Melbourne only at this stage – doesn’t seem to be any in Ballarat yet)

Green Car Share: http://www.greensharecar.com.au

Flexicar: http://www.flexicar.com.au

Goget: http://www.goget.com.au

MORE EFFICIENT CARS

Fuel Efficient Cars: http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/

 

CARBON OFFSET PROGRAMS:

Fifteen Trees (Ballarat-based Tree Planting business): www.fifteentrees.com.au

Greenfleet carbon-offsetting: www.greenfleet.com.au

Climate Friendly carbom-offsetting: www.climatefriendly.com

 

GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL / CHARITIES / NGO LINKS:

Climate Council: www.climatecouncil.org.au

Climate Action Network Australia: http://www.cana.net.au/

Greenpeace: www.greenpeace.com.au

Australian Conservation Foundation: www.acfonline.org.au

Oxfam Australia: www.oxfam.org.au

Friends Of The Earth: www.foe.org.au

Australian marine conservation society: www.amcs.org.au

Sea Shepherd Australia: http://www.seashepherd.org.au

Amnesty International: www.amnestyinternational.com

Get Up: www.getup.org.au

 

SUSTAINABILITY & KIDS:

Eco cubby: http://www.eco-cubby.com

Green Stuff For Kids”, book by Tanya Ha: http://www.tanyaha.com/green-stuff-for-kids.html

 

USEFUL LINKS FOR YOUR PROJECT:

Climatic Data for your area: www.bom.gov.au/climate/data

DEPI Land Title Register: http://www.land.vic.gov.au

Victoria’s Planning Schemes Online: http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes

Working with your architect” brochure: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.arbv.vic.gov.au/resource/collection/68DFC359-BAC9-4473-8A61-3AEBA966E77F/Working_With_Your_Architect_Brochure.pdf

 

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We’ll aim to answer more questions about sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes, also with reference to our local climate (Regional Ballarat area in central Victoria and Melbourne) in future posts. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our monthly news  (over there on the top right-hand side of this page) so you won’t miss out on our posts!

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Best tips for more efficient heating this winter

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions, and this post is about the “Best tips for more efficient heating this winter”. You may also be interested in our past few posts: “Best ‘green’ ways to keep YOU warm this winter” and “Best ‘green’ ways to keep YOUR HOME warm this winter”.

Advice Heating Your Home Best Top Tips Keep Warm House Home So hopefully you’ve taken on board our top tips in our past few posts about warming yourself and your home. However let’s be realistic, until we all live in 10-star-rated homes, we will need heating – especially here in Ballarat! Did you know that in Ballarat we spend over 75% of our household energy for heating!  This is because MOST of our housing stock was designed so poorly in the first place! So here’s some tips to make sure your heating is  as efficient as possible – which not only saves energy and the earth’s resources, it also saves you money!

But before we move onto these tips, I must reiterate how important is to do things like seal up your draughts, and close your curtains at night, double glaze if possible, (as draughts and windows can account for over 50% of heat loss!) and check your insulation levels…if you don’t do these steps and others that I discussed in my previous post, then you’re basically letting all your hot air escape…it’s like trying to bake a cake in the oven with the oven-door left open…or like trying to have a relaxing hot bath without the plug in!! It’s not efficient, you’ll be using your heater much more, and it will be wasting you lots of money that could be easily (and often cheaply) avoided!

Efficient Use of Heaters 

Turn the thermostat down a few degrees: Put on some warmer clothes and drop the temperature down between 18 – 20 degrees celsius – if you’re swanning about the house in your summer frock with the heater cranking, it is up too high! These few degrees can make a huge difference to the amount of energy you use – every degree above 20 degrees adds 10% to your heating bill.

Turn your heater off at night (or right down): The ideal sleeping temperature overnight is 16 degrees celsius, and with warm bedding you can still sleep very comfortable with a lower temperature than this. If there are infants or elderly or ill people in your home, they may require slightly warmer rooms.

Only have your heater on when you’re home: Don’t heat your whole house when you’re not even there! What a waste!

Close internal doors: Keep all internal doors closed to unused (and utility) rooms – like laundries. Don’t pay for heating for rooms that don’t require it.

Only heat the rooms that are occupied: Use a space-heater to only heat the room being occupied – instead of heating a whole house.

Zone your heating: If you have central-heating, ensure it can be zoned and have adjustable (closable) vents to different zones that so you only heat the rooms you’re using.

Programmable Thermostat: Ensure your heating system has a programmable thermostat that will cut out when the rooms are warm enough, and then kick back in when the temperature drops.

Use a timer: Does your thermostat or heater have a timer? Use it to set your heating to come on in the morning, and ensure it turns off when you go to bed. You can also purchase timers that plug into your powerpoint that will do the same thing.

Regular Maintenance: Ensure your heater/boiler/ducts/outlets are all regularly maintained to help your system run more efficiently. For example, make sure filters are clean, ducts haven’t come loose, and to make sure it is safe and there are no gas leaks, etc.

Install Ceiling Fans: These can be used both in summer and winter! Turn your ceiling-fans to “winter-mode” or reverse so that they help blow the warm air down from the ceiling and distribute around the room – especially with high ceilings. Don’t turn them up too high though or the faster air-movement will feel too cool. And it’s not ideal to install them if you have low ceilings (2.4 metres or less) – particularly if you’re tall!

Consider “Green Power” to pay for your heating: Consider installing photovoltaics or ensuring that you are buying “green power” from a renewable energy resource to run your heating.

Consider Carbon Offsetting: Perhaps plant some more trees, or look into carbon offsetting to add something positive for the amount of energy your heating is using.

Check Your Wood Source: If you have a slow-combustion wood-heater, where are you sourcing your wood from? Is it from a renewable plantation? Your own block of land? Or some old-growth forest?! Please educate yourself so you can make informed decisions about your fuel. You need to ensure your wood is well-seasoned (very dry) before burning so it doesn’t smoke or produce too many pollutants into the air (and it burns better and produces more heat too).

….and finally

* So you’ve done all these things to keep yourself warm and keep your house warm, and to make sure your existing heating system is running more efficiently, AND you still need the heating on all day and night?  Well, at least you’ll have a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you’ve done the right thing, you’ve saved some energy and you’ve done your best!

** And if you’re still cold…perhaps it’s time to relocate to somewhere a bit more tropical!!! Bali anyone?

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Do you feel the cold? Have you found these posts helpful? I’ve love to hear about it in the comments below!

We’ll aim to answer more questions about sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes, also with reference to our local climate (Regional Ballarat area and Melbourne) in future posts. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our monthly news  (over there on the top right-hand side of this page) so you won’t miss out on our posts!

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature