there any case studies of your Sustainable Projects?
There is an office project in Double Bay, Sydney
and a strata project in
The Queensland EPA and the Urban Development
Institute of Australia Queensland have prepared case studies of
two recent projects which I have been involved with: Casurina
Beach Township and the Agnes
Water Beach Club. You will need the Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view these documents.
So much has changed, is
the book still relevant?
All the issues
outlined in the book are as relevant today as they were when the
last edition was published.
Read the book for your essential guide to the elements that go
into making a house sustainable: power, water, waste.
How can I improve
the efficiency of my refrigerator?
As outlined in
the book, the objective is to maximise the volume of cool air around
your refrigeration system. How you achieve this will vary on a
case by case basis. If you have access to an underfloor
airflow then placing the fridge over a grate will work. For
others it may be necessary to use a vent through the wall or ducted
Do your SmartFlo
gutters still work?
Yes. We still endorse the SmatFlo integrated
gutter and leafguard system as an efficient way of collecting water
and reducing the maintenance required by falling leaves.
Why should curtains and
blinds be away from the windows?
Glass is a
very poor insulator. Air is more efficient. By creating
a pocket of air between your curtain and the glass you will improve
the insulation. Of course the insulation properties of the
curtains or blinds you use will also contribute, as will the
efficiency of the "seal" they create. We recommend box pelmets
to limit air circulation around your windows. Search for
"curtains insulation" for many articles about the benefits of blinds
and curtains. Sample article:
Are there any
alternatives for PVC insulated wiring?
We listed two
possible suppliers in the book: Olex and Triangle. It appears
Olex only operated to supply the Sydney Olympics construction and
Triangle does not do domestic wiring. We usually recommend
EcoSpecifier for alternative products. If anyone can
suggest an alternative Australian supplier for non-PVC insulated
wiring let us know and we will update this link.
What is it like to
live in a Sustainable House?
Life is much the same as it was before we renovated
the kitchen and bathroom to make them bigger. The only difference
is when the sun shines we make our electricity, and when it rains
we make our water. We have 240 volt appliances - fridge, dishwasher,
clothes dryer, computers, video games, lights, etc, and we have
mains grid quality electricity.
rain water safe to drink?
Over 3 million Australians
drink water from rain tanks every day. Data from fortnightly monitoring
over 18 months at Sydney's Sustainable House
showed that the water was safe to drink. This data has been published
in Michael's 1998 book Sustainable
published by Choice Books.
on site sewage a good idea?
About 25% of houses in the United States, serving
over 65 million Americans, have on site waste treatment. Over 37%
of new housing in the US is using on site waste treatment systems
in preference to "big pipes" leading to centralised sewerage
systems. There are two main reasons: For over 20 years very robust,
affordable systems have convinced developers and house holders that
the systems are workable and cheaper. In addition, the US EPA in
a report to Congress, having reviewed the systems across America,
began a positive program for management, monitoring and raising
standards generally. The same increase in on site waste treatment
is taking place in New Zealand (which generally has clay soils and
so has greater environmental difficulties compared to many Australian
soils). The evidence is out there - the choice is yours.
are your bills like now?
As we sell our surplus clean solar electricity to
the grid (during the day when the sun shines) for the same price
we buy the dirty coal-fired electricity (during the night or when
it rains) we no longer pay electricity bills. In the last bill,
for the months July to October 2001, the local electricity company
owed us AU$28.10, and we carry that credit over to the next bill.