Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 GreenSmart Award finalist x2

Principle 10: Use and value diversity


Richard and Peter with the certificates at yet another owner-build collaboration in Tallarook
"Owner-Building is an important part of the building industry, and has many benefits beyond the experience and possible cost savings. In recent years, both the banking industry and the building industry associations have made it tougher for Owner-Builders. This is regrettable for Australia."
- Peter Lockyer GreenSmart professional, architect and builder.

When Peter Lockyer suggested that we enter Abdallah House into the HIA GreenSmart Awards, I laughed. Not just because the HIA represents the industrial housing system - which is the opposite angle of where we are coming from, but because of the really tight deadline that we had to make the submission - two days! Frankly, I felt that the effort would be a waste of time  - I was wrong.

In the rush that followed we put together a half-decent submission. The award would only recognise Peter, being a member of HIA GreenSmart, while I am not. Still, we made our submission pointing out that the project was a collaboration. When our submission was received we got this message from one of the co-ordinators "The home looks, and obviously is, amazing!", which gave us a bit of a lift.

A month later we were informed that we were finalists in the Custom Built Homes and Resource Efficiency categories, the only two that we entered. We were invited to the Awards at Chouder Bay on Sydney Harbour. While initially Peter was keen and I wasn't, it was I who went with my partner Kunie. A trip to Sydney for lunch, the least sustainable thing that I've done since I started the project.


'Sergeants Mess', for a business attire function
As neither of us own a suit, this was the best we could come up with. Photo: Maureen Corbett
Making the most of our long journey we caught the ferry across to Manly to check out the sunset and beach

In a strange coincidence we bumped into Maureen Corbett (our energy assessor) and her partner in Circular Quay. I had a couple of spare tickets for the function and managed to wangle them in. We certainly looked out of place, it was quite amusing.

While we didn't win any awards, we did have quite an adventure. When you look at the competition that we were up against (and the money that they spent) it's pretty amazing the we got as far as we did on a shoestring. See the winners for the Custom Built Homes and Resource Efficiency

Getting into the awards pushed us to open the house up for the Sustainable House Day, and submit some info to the local newspapers. This article appeared in the North Central Review a couple of days before the Awards, in which Abdallah House is declared as a "landmark in sustainability and clean living". Wow.
North Central Review - 4th September 2012

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