It has long been a dream to get stuck into an eco-renovation. In reality it’s a bit mind boggling especially when you have no experience of design, building or architecture.
A key concern is the cost of going green. Everyone knows that creating a sustainable home will lead to long term cost savings (we are talking pocket here as well as environment). But this has to be weighed up against how long you will live in the house and how much the bank manager will lend you. I’ve been doodling some ideas for weeks now, and its time to get serious. So I took myself off to the Sydney Home Show for some eco-renovation inspiration.
Skipping past the spas and saunas I headed for the Green Building section. I’ve got a vague idea of what I need to be thinking about so after an initial sweep I honed in on the double glazing, solar hot water, photovoltaics, water tanks and heating.
I had been keen to find out more about eco-friendly flooring. There were a few stalls with bamboo and jute carpets, but no cork tiles. Everything you read says cork tiles are a very eco friendly flooring option, but I wanted to see them first hand, not least to see whether they have moved on from the shiny 80s style bathroom floors I remember from my childhood.
The home show was certainly a good way to see lots of different green building ideas in one place. I had a chat to someone about insulated awnings. I worked out the size of the water tank I need and got some great advice in relation to energy efficiency in the home. It also got me thinking about ‘future proofing’ the home by incorporating ’smart wiring’, particularly as I will be working a fair bit from home.
However, one of the most important things that wasn’t covered a great deal in the home show was passive design to make the most of the environment for heating, cooling and shading. The Australian government’s passive design technical manual provides an excellent resource, but as we are going to be extending an existing building we are going to be a bit constrained by what’s already there.
So, the next stage is to take my ideas to an architect who knows a thing or two about environmental design, and thats what we’ll be doing in the coming months.
If you have any advice, you know of some eco friendly products/services you just can’t do without or if you have tales of your own eco renovation efforts we’d love to hear them. We found a great blog http://greentasreno.wordpress.com/ written by a couple doing an eco renovation in Tasmania, and there are a few case studies on the government site listed above that we’ll be studying for ideas.
It looks like its going to be an interesting journey. Any advice welcomed!!
We’ll keep you posted.