Sunday, October 15, 2006

Energy and Water Efficient Houses in Canberra

Eco-living Exhibition
Three energy and water efficient homes are on display in Canberra from February 2006 to May 2007 in the "Eco-living Exhibition". The houses are at North Watson, in Canberra's inner north, near the main road to Sydney. The general public can visit during opening hours and school groups can book a tour. As well as be showcases for the particular products and designers, the display homes are GreenSmart certified, and intended to educate the public about an integrated approach to sustainable design for energy and water conservation. Designers of the houses, gardens and water systems will be on hand to answer questions at set times.

In April I looked at one of the houses, at 13 Roma Mitchell Crescent, and talked to the designer. In October I went back and talked to one of the suppliers of the energy and water saving equipment and at some of the other houses.

The Eco-living display is impressive, but limited to detached houses on suburban blocks. What is needed is an example of environmentally sustainable cluster housing. Most Australian homes now have only one, two or three people in them. It is very expensive to install a heat pump in a one bedroom apartment and difficult to find the room for it. An alternative is to share one heater between several apartments, but then some way to share the cost is needed.


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