Thursday, March 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home

With the exchange of contracts growing closer, I've been contemplating whether to buy another house next year or build. I've been watching a little English TV show which is on before the news called Great Designs or something (c'mon I'm pottering around the kitchen I didn't pay attention). Basically it's a weekly show from 1999-2000 that follows people designing their own homes from turning warehouses into palaces or greenfield builds of environmentally friendly homes.

I like the idea of a 'green' home. Mostly because I have an affection for the environment and want to reduce my impact but also because conserving water and energy reduces bills significantly. We have a recycled water treatment system at home now . . we pay no sewage fees, it's all treated and then channelled through sprinklers onto the garden. We have water saving features on our taps and showers, a broad verandah around the entire house which keeps it cool most of the time but it's not exactly environmentally sustainable. I just watched a couple in England build a home with double glazed windows, solar panelling, composting toiled (don't go euuww it looks like a normal one) and reed filtering sewage system with no smell. They bought recycled door and floor timbers and built with a Scandinavian timber of compressed pine. Lovely. The result was a warm, energy efficient and cosy abode with power bills of sixty pounds a year! A year! I pay $300 a month for electricity . . . $1000 a quarter for council rates (rubbish removal and whatever else rates finance). OK our water bills are fairly cheap at $120 a quarter but that's because we're careful with consumption and the impact of restrictions.

So, buy or build. The sort of house I'm looking at is suburban . . older because the blocks are bigger but boy are they energy guzzlers.

I've only ever had one build and I mucked that up pretty well but hey, it was emotional, I was inexperienced with the distraction of young children . . .could I do it a second time?

When ClareBear was at Uni one of her practical projects was sustainable design and she worked closely with the Macarthur centre for sustainable design. I became absorbed in it . . how to maximise light and energy, what materials to use, how to irrigate and recylce water and sewage . . I'm actually warming to the idea . .

Nah . .too little house on the prairie!

One word . . .cleaning!

Never get planning position for this, looks like half a pide

Getting warmer . . .


ian said...

You need to buy a house in Hobbiton.

Nick said...

Good for you. I really admire people who build their own eco-homes. I just don't have the savvy and the grit to do it myself, I'm far too lazy. Of course builders should be putting up eco-homes as a matter of course but they just moan that they'd be too expensive and the government doesn't put any pressure on them. Eco experts from other countries are shocked at how much energy floods out of our pathetic British homes. The government has just announced several massive new eco-towns with state-of-the-art houses but on past form they might easily go back on it.

Terence McDanger said...

I love that show.

Kevin is the guy that hosts it and every time I watch I'm just waiting for the neagtive old fucker to start moaning about how the couple have spent too much money, are running out of time or into unforseen problems. He's the voice of fucking doom!

(I know he's just heightening tension for TV but he gets on my tits he does).

And I'd love to live at Bag End.

Thriftcriminal said...

I'm with Terrence, good show, you can check out all the houses on:

Have fun whichever you do!

Emperor Ropi said...

If I were you I would wait a few years with that environment friendly house because those houses aren't really compatible to present days electronic etc.. systems.

nonny said...

I like doing up old houses. The house I live in now is old and is only lickle but it has character. I hated every minute of the old house being built. It is a nighmare, problem after problem, and that was just a house I bought of plans, i did not have to design anything. As well as that you can make an old house envoirmentally friendly. I insulated the attic, connnected a water storage unit to the gutter for watering the garden, have double glaze windows and I put two solar panels on the back of the house, they don't provide all the electricity but you definitly notice the difference. In fairness now, I am blessed with both a plumber and an electrician in the family so including the government grant it only cost about 1,200 euro. I'm sure you could be a lot more inventive than me. I'd just hate to have to think about designing a whole house.

Quickroute said...

I'm with Ian - I like #3 - it looks like the hobbits house in 'The Shire'!

Grannymar said...

I'll rent a room in the last one.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the last one looking a bit like the new houses up the road from you?

Baino said...

Ian: Very funny! (clown)

Nick: Don't be too flowing with the praise! I haven't committed yet, just thinking about it. Whatever I do there will be an environmental edge to it but it's easier in a warm climate to be conservative with energy and water.

Ah that's the guy Terrence! Tell it like it is man . . go on . .let loose! I think you're being a bit harsh. The one screening here is from 1999/2000 so it's pretty old but I love seeing the end result.

I'd like to live at Dingly Dell or Fairymeadow, both in Australia and neither as pretty as their name!

Oooh thanks Thrifty . . a project for the weekend while you're wondering the bogs!

Ah Ropi, you can have your cake and eat it. I'm not quite green enough to sacrifice my surround sound!

Nonny you're a legend! What can I say. I'm in awe of what you achieve you clever young thing! See I don't mind the design . . I just hate the hard work!k

Quickroute: either that or something out of Cone Heads.

And ladies yes, the last house is very similar to the ones encroaching on our back fence but is aparently an eco design from Adelaide . . .incidentally Anony, one up the back sold last week for over $2 million on a 720sqmetre block! More money than sense if you ask me! And if you're stalking in Norwest, you'd better drop in!

Anonymous said...

Heeheee, no stalking Norwest yet ... it also looks a lot like monstrosities crowding our poor little 1940's home in own street with similar values. A good guess!

Let me know when you do move and I'll send some of those burley guys in fluro singlets your way ;)