Tag Archives: Melbourne

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

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!

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

 

WHY do sustainable design?

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions, and this post is one in our series of informative articles about environmental design.

The first (and most important question) is:

WHY do sustainable design?

(We’ll also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…)

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This is where we need to take a step back, and look at the BIG picture. I think this quote says it all…

”We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we have borrowed it from our children.”

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Earth-Quote

So we want our children and grandchildren to live on a planet with fresh air, plentiful supply of clean drinking water, an abundance of wholesome and healthy food, with comfortable living conditions and shelter throughout all the seasons. I talk about this in my Elemental Design Philosophy.

It is now an undisputed fact that climate-change (or global-warming) is happening, and while some politicians and members of the community remain skeptical about the cause, scientists are more certain than ever that human activities are the primary cause for climate change. The burning of coal, oil and gas produces carbon (CO2 or “greenhouse gas”) emissions. So our planet is getting hotter and moister, extreme weather events are going to occur more often, sea levels are rising… which means more flooding and other a greater occurrence of other natural disasters and consequently problems with future food production.  These facts came from the latest research by The Climate Council – follow them to be kept up to date with the latest Australian research.

So how do we help reduce the effects (and speed of) climate-change? Emit less CO2. Use less of earth’s finite resources (coal/gas), use energy from renewable resources (solar/ wind). Use energy more efficiently and use less energy. We all recycle our household waste, we all try to avoid plastic shopping bags, we’re all switching to CFL/LED lights, we might try to use public-transport or ride a bike instead of relying on the car…”It’s good for the environment”… all these little steps do help make a difference, but sometimes we can forget what it all really means and WHY we’re doing it in the first place.

The construction industry has a LOT to answer for in terms of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Figures in the US show that buildings are responsible for almost HALF of all energy consumption (and I’m sure that Australia’s figures aren’t that far behind). See the stats here.

As far as our situation here, “Ecological Footprinting analysis shows that if everyone in the world lived like an Australian (or Victorian) then we would need 4 planets to sustain us”. Clearly that is NOT sustainable. 

So architects, building-designers and all those in the construction industry have a responsibility to ensure that buildings are sensitively designed with sustainability in mind. We will answer more about who, what, when, how next time.

So hope this has helped to answer WHY do sustainable design?

Do you have questions about sustainable design? Please ask away 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.

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

My big-hearted tribe

Phew! Can you believe it is ONE MONTH until Christmas? The silly season is well and truly upon us now! It’s the time of year when I start to reflect upon the past 12 months. A LOT has happened here! It’s been a year of new beginnings – starting a new life here in Ballarat after moving our little family from Melbourne, my eldest son starting school, starting my own Architectural practice, buying a house (we move over Christmas!) and really finding my feet and finding my ‘tribe’. Not that I’ve left my old tribe behind, all you gorgeous Melbournians, it has just    e x p a n d e d !

So what on earth am I talking about by ‘tribe’? For me, it’s about finding like-minded people, kinfolk if you like, or simply new ‘friends’ who make me feel connected to this world. Going to the Big Hearted Business conference, the brainchild of the inspiring Clare Bowditch,  earlier this year was a BIG part of this. In fact, my first ever blog post came about immediately after that weekend with a summary of the best bits from the conference – I called that post “The First Day of the Rest of My (Amazing) Life!” and it feels like since then everything is falling into place. Clare Bowditch already had a huge following due to her talent as a singer/songwriter, and now she is also revered amongst creative-types and women as someone to look up to, someone we can all aspire to be like, someone with a big-heart who followed her dreams, made money and made a difference in the world, and who is continuing to do so.

Some of THE most important lessons that I (and the other attendees) took away from the conference is that we must ALL learn to listen to our heart and have CONFIDENCE in our abilities. Writer, Artist and Mother, Rachel Power (another of the conference’s inspiring speakers) recently wrote “Since that event, I’ve heard from so many women who’ve said the conference finally gave them the permission, the confidence and the tools to forge ahead with their creative lives.” (My emphasis).

But the other REALLY important part of the Big-Hearted-Business conference is the COMMUNITY of creative people it has created. Clare Bowditch is very passionate about supporting and providing encouragement to other creatives (and who doesn’t need a bit of barracking and a good kick-up the bum every now and then?!). Clare and the big-hearted-business team post a weekly “Inspiration Bomb” on their website (sign up to receive them to your inbox) which are little pearls of wisdom from successful creative types, to help keep us all motivated. But perhaps more importantly, many of the attendees of the conference regularly keep in touch via a Facebook group where we share news and questions and answers, about where our creative journeys are taking us, and we can all help support each other. Social media has changed the way we can connect with each other, and its such a fabulous way to be able to keep in touch. There have also been numerous “live” catch-ups/reunions in Melbourne and surrounds too for a chance for face-to-face interaction! The photo below is of a few of us out-of-towners who caught up in Castlemaine earlier this year… the lovely Caitlin McGrath is indeed wearing a shower-cap (second from right)! The shower-cap was one of our gifts in the BHB show bag, and as we hadn’t previously met in person, it was a great way for us to find each other!)

BHB regional catch-up in Castlemaine

BHB regional catch-up in Castlemaine

Beautiful Jess Cola (second from left) runs View Point Handmade Gallery in Bendigo, and she has curated an Exhibition of Artworks from attendees of the Big Hearted Business Conference! Another fabulous example of how our tribe are continuing to support each other. I’m really looking forward to going along and checking out all the works of these talented women. The Opening Reception and Market night is THIS Saturday 30th November from 6-9pm at 13 View Point, Bendigo, and runs until 13 December. For more details see their website. The title of the group show is “commUNITY 2013” which explores themes of belonging and connection. It is obvious that this is the theme for the year for my tribe, not just for the art show.

This year, I’ve also connected with some amazing artists, creatives, and also kinfolk interested in sustainable living here in Ballarat –  and this is also mainly thanks to social media with various facebook groups and via twitter. To my generation and those before me, at first this can sound as tragic as what online-dating once was, but its actually been a brilliant way to find out about interesting events around town that are relevant to me, so I could then meet in person and become a part of the community. Because at the end of the day, we all have a primitive need to feel connected, to feel like we belong to a tribe. Family, friends, community. These relationships give our life meaning. I hope you’ve found your tribe too.

Talina x

P.S. Are you interested in hearing from some more of the creative women from the big-hearted business tribe? Check out their blogs below, and find out what BHB meant to them:

Romy Sai Zunde: http://romysaizunde.com

Susan Nethercote: http://creativeconversation.com.au

Caitlin McGrath: http://caituna.wordpress.com/

Martine Zajacek: http://viewsfromtheredbrickroad.wordpress.com/

Maria Harding: http://stencilportraits.com.au/blog/

P.P.S. And if you’re feeling like you missed out on BHB and wish you could be a part of it, sign up for next year’s conference (there’s a waiting list!) and you can also purchase the “virtual” version – just released! I highly recommend it – hours of video footage from such inspiring speakers! Go check out the preview here.