Tag Archives: Green Building

Your Home Designed Globally, Created and Aligned Locally

I often get asked to explain what I do – even when I say I’m an architect, or that I run my own architectural practice, I still get blank looks, or people want me to explain more. I’ve met some very inspiring women entrepreneurs over the past few years, and many of them have great business advice – including how important it is to try and communicate what it is I do (for you) in one short sentence. I previously thought my ‘elemental design‘ tagline and philosophy had it covered, but it seems that this might have been a bit obscure.

I’m very aware of the ‘eco-fatigue’ that exists now that there is so much green-wash out there, so I was keen to avoid words such as sustainable, eco, green, environmental, ethical, natural, organic, healthy, earthy, and so on, yet of course I still want to evoke that this is my ethos! (Which is why I like the term ‘elemental‘ design instead to cover these). However avoiding these words does make things a bit difficult, doesn’t it?!

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations

“Your home designed globally, created and aligned locally.” – Talina Edwards Architecture

Continue reading

It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

I recently wrote this review for the ArchiTeam newsletter ‘Datum’ – the original article appeared here and if you’re wondering ‘What is Passive House?’, you can read more about this in my previous post.


It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations



Comfort, you say?

  • Not too hot, not to cold – just right, always.
  • Healthy indoor air quality.
  • Calm, peaceful spaces.
  • A place for well-being.

Hands up who wants a home with these qualities?!

Heading along to the Passive House Conference in Melbourne recently, organized by the Australian Passive House Association, I was expecting a lot of technical information over the two jam-packed days. There were 24 presentations, plus workshops and a tradeshow. However, the biggest message from the local and international experts was to remind us that Passive House is all about occupant comfort, and this is achieved with well-designed (& well-built) passive buildings envelopes. This might sound obvious, but so often with discussion of the Passive House standard, the focus shifts to discussions of energy-efficiency and also the mechanical-ventilation system (which is really only a small component). Continue reading

Three (very tempting!) reasons YOU should come to the Sustainable Living Festival in Ballarat!

Want to live a more a sustainable life? The Smart Living and Building Expo can help you!Sustainable Living Festival 2016 Melbourne Talina Edwards Architecture Ballarat Daylesford Creswick Castlemaine Geelong Green Building Eco Renovation




Well it’s that time of year again! The nation wide Sustainable Living Festival is on once again – including our very own local Ballarat (Buninyong) version – The Smart Building and Living Expo!This is the third year this event has run (and the third time I’ll be here!) – and it gets bigger and better every year. A great range of local stallholders, exhibitors and services – all with a focus on sustainable living. (Here’s some pics of the first time I attended). It is on Sunday 28 February from 10am to 4pm at Royal Park in Buninyong (corner of Hedrick and Warrenheip Streets). I’ll be located inside the hall again, so whatever the weather brings, we’ll be sheltered. Hope to see you there!

Not sure if it is your thing? Here’s three (very tempting!) reasons why you might want to come along (you won’t want to miss these!): Continue reading

Ballarat Smart Building and Living Expo & a GIVEAWAY!

Talina Edwards Architecture is proud to announce we will be attending Ballarat’s Smart Building and Living Expo once again this year, as part of the statewide events for the Sustainable Living Festival.

Ballarat Buninyong Sustainable Living Festival Daylesford Hepburn Castlemaine

Last year was such a great day – with lots of sustainable products and services – and I met so many lovely people who wanted to chat about their “green” renovating or building plans. See some pics and more about last year’s event here.

Come along on Sunday 22 February from 10am to 4pm at Royal Park in Buninyong (corner of Hedrick and Warrenheip Streets). Last year was a big success, and this year looks set to be even bigger and better! If you come along, be sure to come and say hi to me – I’ll be set-up inside the hall again. Continue reading

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle)

National Recycling Week 2013

National Recycling Week 2013

Did you know that it is National Recycling Week this week?! Founded by Planet Ark, it aims to bring awareness to the environmental benefits of recycling. The focus is mainly on kerbside recycling of waste at home/school/work, so I thought I’d give you some ideas beyond those basics and focus on how recycling can be applicable when building or renovating your home (or any building!). As the construction of buildings is one of the highest uses of energy, it makes sense that if we can recycle components, then it prevents waste, and saves energy that would otherwise be spent on creating something new.

Re-use of building materials commonly saves about 95 per cent of embodied energy that would otherwise be wasted.


1. Recycle existing houses

Don’t demolish existing houses, clearing the site and then rebuild from scratch! This is such a wasteful activity in terms of an entire building going to landfill, and then a whole new house being built. If possible, it is always more sustainable to renovate – rearrange/alter/upgrade/add-on/improve/retro-fit the existing house. There are plenty of ways to economically and sustainably do this, without bringing in the wrecking-ball. If some demolition is required, find a demolition-contractor who will de-construct the building and salvage the existing materials so they can be recycled. If the house is pulled apart piece by piece (rather than being reduced to a massive pile of rubble) then many elements can be re-used (either by you, or sold to others). Typically you should be able to salvage roofing materials, framing timbers, flooring, doors and windows, cabinetry, light fittings, and plumbing fixtures.  See here for further information about Building Material Waste and what can be recycled.


2. Choose Recycled Construction Materials

If building or renovating, there are many options today for selecting recycled building materials, or those with recycled content. I.e. Recycled/Salvaged Timber, Concrete with recycled aggregate, Recycled Rubber Flooring, Recycled Bricks, to name just a few. The Junk Map site is a great directory for finding recycled building materials (and  furniture and homewares) in Australia, or try Recycle Build Australia an online trade site. Choosing recycled materials doesn’t mean you have to go the extreme of building an ‘earthship’ with your own hands with walls constructed of tyres and bottles (however some of the results can be amazing!).

3. Choose Construction Materials than can be Recycled

Think about the life-cycle of your building and how durable it is – how long will it last? Can the building’s components be recycled at the end of their life? As mentioned in my first point above, when a building can be ‘dismantled’ rather than ‘demolished’ it is much easier to recycle the parts. For example, think about construction methods were components are screwed together rather than glued. i.e. Carpet tiles that can be removed (and recycled at the end of their life) and replaced easily, instead of the whole carpet being pulled up and sent to the tip. Many timbers are excellent at being recycled – particularly if nailed/screw-fixed. Although metals like aluminium and steel are very high in embodied energy (the energy required to make the product), they are also highly recyclable.

Recycled timber doesn't have to look rustic

Recycled timber doesn’t have to look rustic

 4. Consider Recycled Cabinetry/Doors/Windows/Handles

If you can give a new lease on life to something that would’ve otherwise ended up as landfill, then why wouldn’t you?! It is getting much easier to source items these days thanks to ebay, gumtree, local buy/swap/sell sites, trading post online, local salvage yards and of course markets/garage sales etc. Reclaimed kitchen cabinets can have loads of character, and may just require a new benchtop and a coat of paint. Salvaged timber-windows may require new glass (consider double-glazing) but can look fantastic once restored.

Extreme use of recycled windows!

Extreme use of recycled windows!

5. Upcycled Furniture

If you’ve ever spent some time browsing through Pinterest you’re sure to have seen some fabulous ideas for ways clever DIY types are “up-cycling” old palettes/ladders/cots etc. This goes beyond just recycling the second-hand item and re-using it; “upclycing” is all about improving someone else’s pre-loved trash and turning it into a whole new piece of treasure. Or check out Recycled Interiors blog for some ideas.


Not all of these ideas will appeal to everyone, but they are all worth considering when building or renovating your home. Each time we re-use and recycle things, it all helps the health of our planet.

Are you a recycler? What’s your favourite recycled/up-cycled item in your home? I’d love to hear your comments below!

If you want to learn more about all things design, architecture, sustainability and healthy homes, please sign up to follow my blog by email (top right hand corner of this page).

Talina x