Googong Sustainable Housing Project

 

Many aspects of sustainability of a township, from walkability to water efficiency, are built in from early planning stages.

Many aspects of township sustainability, from walkability to water efficiency, are built in from early planning stages.

 

Imagine comfortable, healthy and thoughtfully designed homes that are well suited to our Capital Region winter and summer extremes – buildings with low running costs and minimal impact that above all are a joy to live in!

The Googong Sustainable Housing Project is a Queanbeyan based response to the exciting global challenge of building such homes. During the period 2014 -2016 we offered one on one house-plan based consultations for those building at Googong, and free public workshops for all. A series of real life case studies, success stories, current research papers, cost benefit tools, and fact sheets are made available here for your reference.

There is something here for everyone, for all budgets, for all levels of interest and all approaches. It is our hope that this project will uplift and inspire you, that conversations you have and buildings you walk into will motivate you to find out more, that existing local relationships will be strengthened and new connections between interested home owners, builders, local groups, government, researchers, and organisations will be forged.

Purpose

The need for energy efficient, thoughtfully designed homes that support lifestyles, health, and the environment is becoming increasing clear around the world, particularly in the wake of the recent COP15 climate summit in Paris where this need and its financial and social benefit were specifically named.

This project is primarily intended as a community education project, providing homeowners and builders at Googong with the information they need to make informed choices about the building block they choose, the type of house they design, the materials they build with, and how choices can affect energy and water savings as well as comfort levels over the years of living in their new home.

In providing this community education, this project sees itself as working with Googong Township to further common commitment to sustainability in this new community and the surrounding area. Queanbeyan City Council’s own processes to promote sustainable housing are being reviewed as part of the project’s deliverables. Planned ongoing research monitoring energy use in these homes as well as qualitative project findings will be able to be shared with other local government areas as well as industry and government to assist with informing policy.

 

Benefits

Sustainable housing ultimately benefits all of the community, one of the many reasons why the project team are so excited by the work they are doing and seeing at Googong!

Sustainability is a very broad topic. It includes the well known energy efficiency, water efficiency, and use of renewable energy, but it also includes choice of materials, designing layout so that people can live in a home that suits needs over a long period of time, life cycle cost and benefit of a home, attention to local climate, area and biodiversity, and fostering of community and place.

Homeowners

On an individual basis, those homeowners who take the opportunity to incorporate sustainable initiatives into their new homes from early planning stages will find that there are a range of measures available at little to no additional cost that will benefit them from the moment they move in, and continue to benefit those who may live in the home afterwards. Simple measures like attention to house orientation, placement of windows and doors, attention to the detail of insulation and sealing of gaps translate to significant energy savings over time as the home costs less to heat and cool. Including solar hot water or pv panels can mean that one can be independent of the grid, or have an income stream instead of power bills. Choosing no or low VOC paints, materials and furnishings supports good health. Even placement of windows for cross ventilation (save on that air conditioner use!), ensuring good natural lighting in a home, and creating spaces that people gather in will make the difference between a house that has just has people in it, and a home that people actually enjoying living in. A consultation with Matt or Tony will empower a homeowner to understand sustainable options suited to their home and discuss these with their designer and builder.

Builders, Businesses, and Industry

Green building is a fast growing field, with significant benefit both financially and for a businesses’ reputation, particularly as certification and acting on care for customer’s welfare and future costs can provide a point of different between businesses. Growth in available materials and smart technology as well as the recycled materials field has been considerable in the past decade, and green building provides an arena for highlighting business innovation, flexibility, and problem solving. Contributing positively to the future through care for the environment and with understanding of long term impact of high performance sustainable housing assets to the Australian economy and society is seen as responsible and desirable.

Sustainable building is enhancing the Australian building industry, and Googong is a great opportunity to be involved on a local level.

Communities – Local, National, International

Communities such as Googong which have been planned around walkability, accessibility, defined energy and water saving targets which include whole of township water recycling and efficiency, and deliberate fostering of connection between people and a sense of community are practicing Australian best practice.

Add these social and health benefits to the significant financial benefits to the Australian economy associated with energy efficiency, and we have a win-win situation.

How it works

Consultations (Sustainable Building Advisory Service)

Free 1 hour one-on-one consultations with experienced architect Tony Edye or energy efficiency expert Matthew Ruffin were available to people buying and building at Googong between 2014-2016. The consultation enabled the homeowner to understand the issues to be thought about when considering the site selection and design and construction of a new home. A report was prepared on completion of the consultation outlining key issues and recommendations for the homeowners situation, a useful resource to refer to with builders, architects and other professionals involved in the building process.

We encouraged all homeowners and builders to attend the consultation together so that questions arising could be answered on the spot, and shared expertise could result in a home suited to homeowner, climate and budget.

Workshops

A series of Free workshops were open to all interested community members, covering key sustainability issues they could consider when building or renovating. Participants improved their knowledge and capacity to work with their builder to ensure their homes incorporate measures to improve the comfort, health, environmental quality and running costs.

Separate workshops designed for specifically for builders were also provided.

Workshop details can be viewed here.

Online Resources

A checklist listing the Top 10 things you can do for free or a low cost to improve the sustainability of your home as well as more detailed Factsheets on a range of sustainable housing topics, links to further information, and case studies are also available on this website for anyone wishing to access them.

These resources will be updated and added to as the project progresses.

Eligibility

To have used the Free Consultation SBAS service you must have been buying and building at Googong. The workshops were open to all community members in the Queanbeyan area and surrounds who would like to attend. The website resources are still freely available for anyone to access and use.

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This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government though its Environmental Trust

RECENT NEWS

  • One Year of Successful Sustainable Housing Consultations, One to Go!

    September 23rd, 2015

    The Googong Sustainable Building Advisory Service has been up and running for 1 year now, with over a year to go and consultations still available at no cost to you!

    Read More
  • New Googong home owners benefit from Free Sustainable Building Advisory Service

    November 24th, 2014

    The Googong Sustainable Housing Project providing people building in Googong FREE consultations and workshops is . . .

    Read More
  • Free consultations still available

    October 29th, 2014

    The Googong Sustainable Housing project has now been up and running for just over 6 weeks and is well under way.

    Read More