Your Home sample - page 9

Welcome to
Your Home
Why sustainable design?
Over long periods of time, by trial and error, vernacular
building solutions (buildings based on local conditions)
evolved, and they all contain elements of sustainable
design. We build today for more or less the reason we
have always built — to make safe, healthy shelters that
protect us from the elements and keep us comfortable.
However, cheap accessible fossil energy sources and
the proliferation of technology and new materials have
encouraged us to solve building problems differently
in recent times. Unfortunately, some of these methods
may be compromising the ability of our planet to sustain
us in the long or even medium term. The new challenge
is to use our technology to minimise environmental
impact, while continuing to improve the comfort and
performance of the homes we create.
Most Australians live in homes that work
against the climate, not with it.
A great majority of Australians currently live in homes
that work against the climate, not with it. These homes
are too cold or too hot, waste energy and are
comparatively expensive to run. Most homes use far
more water than necessary, and can be made of
materials that damage our health and the environment.
Using good design principles can save energy, water and
money, while creating a more enjoyable and
comfortable home.
How is housing changing?
Housing of the future will need to be adaptable and
resilient, helping us to respond to both predicted and
unexpected change. It will also need to suit significantly
changed demographic patterns and lifestyles, and have
minimal environmental impact. Many of the homes
we build today will still be in use in 50 years’ time,
when climate change, population growth and resource
depletion will have created a very different picture.
The move towards ‘positive’ development that has a net
positive ecological and social impact might seem like
an ambitious goal today. However, progressive parts of
the housing industry are working towards this goal and
it must be the norm in any scenario for a sustainable
Caitlin McGee, 2013
Photo: G. Smith
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