Speed date Sustainable Designer Adelaide wrap

We should build homes with nature, said architect and author Paul Downton of Ecopolis at a recent sustainable home design event in Adelaide.

Downton talked about ecological architecture, asking what designing with nature is. “Being green has got lots of different ways of being achieved.”

“Fundamentally what we’re trying to do is fit our human habitation on the planet and work with the forces of nature in a positive way rather than the negative way we’ve possibly managed to do almost entirely up until now,” said Downton.

“Generally sustainable building requires and understanding of processes. Architects and builders for many years have dealt with gravity very well because we’ve noticed that if things fall down it’s a problem. What we have appreciated yet is that ecologies, ecosystems can also collapse and be damaged and cause problems and impact on us. But because it happens very slowly, and we don’t understand the processes, we don’t really get it. We’re beginning to understand, and I think many people here…but the living environment is what we need to be concerned about.”

Downton was amongst three speakers and over 20 sustainable home design and living experts who held speed dates with over 180  Adelaidians at Speed Date a Sustainability Expert last weekend.

The event, held by Sanctuary’s publisher the ATA in conjunction with the City of Marion, partnered householders with leading Australian sustainable architects, building designers, water saving and permaculture gardening experts to give them advice on homes and lifestyles that are more environmentally responsible.

Architect Emilis Prelgauskas said the householders he had ‘dates’ with varied in their focus and interest in sustainable homes.

He said it is key that householders understand from the beginning of their home improvement journey that a small increase in initial build costs can benefit them in reduced maintenance and operating costs and increase lifespan.

“Sustainable build experts have an obligation to continue to inform intending homeowners about what has already been achieved, and what best practice [sustainable design] is aiming for in the coming years,” he added. “The general public impression that minimum compliance ‘6 Star’ energy ratings is somehow even scratching the surface of sustainable homes needs to be put into proper perspective.”

ATA chief executive Donna Luckman said Speed Date a Sustainability Expert was an excellent opportunity for people to learn how to make their homes more comfortable and save money while lessening their environmental footprint. “Adelaide has some of Australia’s most creative and thoughtful green architects and designers,” Ms Luckman said. “This event gave people a chance to speak directly with them for free. It’s lively and it’s fun!”

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Minimising paved areas in your garden will limit heat radiation and water run-off.

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