Drinking rainwater and staying alive

Spring on the way, and spring in us if we choose it Fellow water imbibers: I’ve been asked this lengthy, well-informed and valuable question: ‘Michael, I’m planning a new house with two 20,000L rainwater tanks, possibly of stainless steel, and I’m trying to decide what roof and gutter and downpipe materials to use.  I’ve read the reports of Mirela Magyar’s studies on metal contaminants in rain water tanks in Melbourne, and I’m reading... Read More

Free Estimator for Solutions for Construction Pollution

Free Carbon Calculator   Here is a free estimator.  It’s an excel spreadsheet. Any developer, builder, designer, consultant, council or person may use it to estimate the pollution and impact caused by their project. Once you’ve estimated the impact the estimator suggests how you may offset the impact by investing in carbon farming and by turning food waste into soil. When we build projects we use water, energy, food and other resources.  We sometimes use more... Read More

Waverley Council poisons our food, kids, insects and waterways

Waverley Council's poison truck and poison sprayers Well, there we are trying to get on with our life, us and the little critters and along comes a Council and poisons things. Here’s an email by Vera, a resident of Bronte in Waverley Council’s area, NSW, to her Councillors about recent spraying of poison by the Council. Has anyone noticed today’s rain?  You’d reckon it’d be doing some good, unless you swam at Bronte beach after the poisoning... Read More

Using underground water

A reader has sent me this question: ‘Dear Michael I may have a spring (h2o) or some form of h2o course running through my front yard under the middle of my house & than exiting from the northern corner of the rear of the house. This has been confirmed by a builder who has taken the ‘levels’ to level the house where the house has ‘sank’ in these areas. The house is a 1950′s weatherboard constructed on piers whereby due to the land sloping... Read More

A magic puddin’ pump

Glockeman pump in creek On Thursday I went to Melbourne and got a gift. I saw the most wonderful, inspiring, “I can’t believe that’ pump. (Yes, I know, I love water and sometimes my passion gets the better of me, but wait.) This pump uses no electricity. It was pumping water up over 60 metres.  It pumps day and night.  During the day one household on one side of the creek gets the water.  During the night the household on the other side of the creek gets the... Read More

Smartflo guttering installer for Sydney

Here is an installer to consider for your Smartflo roof gutters that I use as they are self cleaning: Wayne Miller does the majority of the Smartflo supply and fit work in the Sydney area. He lives at West Pennant Hills but travels well to all Sydney locations. He has been working regularly with Smartflo since 2005. You can contact Wayne on 0414 782 513, or e-mail : buildingonyourideas@gmail.com For information on the gutters: www.smartflo.com… May the gutters be with... Read More

Dystopian but terrific writing

One of the people I read each week is James Kunstler.  Firstly, because of the writing, and secondly, because his ideas and ‘take’ on things is so interesting. Dystopean, yes.  Boring, no. His books have a more measured and very well researched richness to them. There’s a link on his blog (www.kunstler.com…) to a recent article in Orion Magazine, Back to the Future A road map for tomorrow’s cities and you can read it, here: www.orionmagazine.org… And... Read More

Does my sewage system produce methane?

This question was put to me: ‘Mike, On  recent tour of your house with Ryde TAFE college, you told me the septic tank did not give off methane because of the anarobic bacteria. You asked me to ask the question on your blogg. Being an old fart, I do not know how to use these wiz bang electronic garbbage, so in search of knowledge, I am contacting you directly. My knowledge on septic tanks is limited to the anarobic bacteria break down the liquids; while airobic bacteria... Read More

Trees in the middle of the road

Richards Ave, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW Free air con, walk away -Trees in the road One of Earth’s finest arborists, John Lennon, advised us well with his rhetorical question, “Why don’t we do it in the road?” Trees in the middle of the road provide free air conditioning. Which road would you rather walk in, live in and pay the electricity bills in – a road like Richards Ave, Surry Hills, or the thousands of other roads in our cities which have little... Read More

Sustainable and unsustainable streets

A flooded street For some reading about recent thinking about how our climate is changing, this is a useful article: www.economist.com… The photo above is from that article. It shows an unsustainable street, and it seems how we live here in Chippo, and Australia generally, is partly the reason there are streets like those.  Hopefully, the work being done to trial sustainable streets in Chippendale will reduce the number of unsustainable streets elsewhere.  Read More

  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
    For permission to re-print any articles or to book Michael for a speaking engagement go to Contacts. Please ensure all quotes from Michael's blog include a reference to sustainablehouse.com....au.