Sustainable House Day is an annual event in September organised by Renew, a national, not-for-profit organisation that inspires, enables and advocates for people to live sustainably in their homes and communities. Apart from the Royal Adelaide Show, this will have to be my favourite activity for spring in Adelaide. I love it as I will be able to see some cleverly designed houses and features that I have never thought of but good for the environment. However, it is not just about inspecting houses like a home inspection for property sale. It is also about to meet real people who are passionate about sustainability and willing to open their own home and talk to strangers about their house and how they embrace green living in their day-to-day life.
What do you expect in a sustainable house? A bee hotel?
There are 18 houses for open this year with 2 in the western suburbs, 2 in the south, 6 in the east, 5 in the hills and 3 down south. 16 of them are purposely built with sustainability in mind. Only 2 of them incorporated sustainability features through renovation. It goes to show it is much easier to build a sustainable house rather than retrofitting sustainable features in an existing dwelling. If you are planning to build a new house, it is definitely worth visiting these houses and learn first hand from the real people what they have done well and what they could have done better when building sustainable houses. If you will have renovations, choosing the project type with renovations will make sense. If you are simply interested in how you can live more sustainably, most of the time meaning cheaper power bills, pick some houses in your local area to visit. From my own experience, I have learnt that putting bubble wraps over a skylight will reduce heat loss in winter and keep the house cooler in summer. During the house open day, owners, as well as other visitors, were keen to share their tips to reduce power bills.
That's what I found ... a composting toilet that doesn't use any water!
The highlight of this year will be the Zero Carbon House in Campbelltown for me. It was designed by TS4 Living. Their architect Paul has studied 9 years in university to learn to design sustainable houses. Who would have thought there are so many design principles involved to make the house comfortable without the need for a heater or air-conditioning? According to TS4, it has been calculated that this Zero Carbon House will become carbon neutral by 2045. In other words, all of the carbon generated creating the materials, constructing the home and the transport and shipping during this phase and all of the operational energy required to heat and cool the home will be offset by the energy exported from the solar panel installation. This is truly a house that won't cost the Earth.
Rainwater tank, veggie patch, compost bin are often featured in these sustainable houses.
Another highlight of this year in Adelaide is the 10 Star Home in Woodforde. It's the first 10 star home in South Australia. Since it is still under construction, you will need to register separately via this link to inspect. I wonder what it takes to take it to the maximum achievable level in the star rating scale set out by the National House Energy Rating Scheme. I'm excited to meet the experts and find out soon.
The donation for the house open is chosen by the owners for a great cause. Please donate generously.
Register at Sustainable House Day to check out which house or houses you are interested in. Plan your route. I usually manage to see only 3 houses each year as the owners usually run a house tour to explain the features of the house and why they choose certain options to be sustainable. Adding a bit of Q&A time, you can spend an hour easily just to see one house. Mark your calendar 15 September 2019 Sunday to go see some houses and get inspired. If you are not based in Adelaide, don't be disappointed. It's a national event. Check out their website to see what's available in your area. Only two weeks to go, I'd better start planning now. See you at the Sustainable House Day.