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Sustainable House Handbook by Josh Byrne

The Sustainable House Handbook
A comprehensive guide to building an affordable, energy and water-efficient green home. Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne takes readers through the process of planning a 10-Star rated house, featuring five essentials:

  • Northerly Orientation,
  • North facing glazing with appropriate shading,
  • Cross Ventilation,
  • Thermal Mass and
  • Insulation. 

A series of videos to demonstrate the principles can be found here.

Tents to Castles: Building energy efficient, cost-saving aussie homes
The Climate Council’s report on home energy efficiency demonstrates that there are numerous benefits of higher minimum standards: better comfort, lower emissions and cheaper bills for householders.  Australian energy efficiency standards are well below that of our international peers. We have some of the highest energy bills in the world, and a mortality rate from cold living conditions twice the rate of much-colder Sweden.

The Convict Valley
The story of the second British penal settlement in Australia, where a notoriously brutal convict regime became the template for penal stations in other states. Mark Dunn explores relations between the white settlers and the local Aboriginal landholders, and uncovers a long forgotten massacre.
Shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Australian History 2021
In 1790, five convicts escaped Sydney by boat and were swept ashore near present-day Newcastle. They were taken in by the Worimi people, given Aboriginal names and started families. Thus began a long and at times dramatic series of encounters between Aboriginal people and convicts in the second penal settlement in Australia.
The fertile valley of the Hunter River was the first area outside the Sydney basin explored by the British, and it became one of the largest penal settlements. Today manicured lawns and prosperous vineyards hide the struggle, violence and toil of the thousands of convicts who laid its foundations. The Convict Valley uncovers this rich colonial past, as well as the story of the original Aboriginal landholders. While there were friendships and alliances in the early years, in the scramble for land in the 1820s tensions rose and bloodshed ensued. Mark Dunn relates stories about convicts, white settlers and the Aboriginal inhabit-ants that have long been forgotten.

Fixation: How to have stuff without breaking the planet
Our massive, global system of consumption is broken. Our relationships with our stuff is broken. In each of our homes, some stuff is broken. And the strain of rampant consumerism and manufacturing is breaking our planet. We need big, systemic changes, from public policy to global economic systems. But we don’t need to wait for them.
Since founding Fixup, a pop-up repair shop that brought her cover-age in The New York Times, Salon, New York Public Radio, and more, Sandra Goldmark has become a leader in the movement to demand better “stuff.” She doesn’t just want to help us clear clutter—she aims to move us away from throwaway culture, to teach us to reuse and repurpose more thoughtfully, and to urge companies to produce better stuff. Although her goal is ambitious, it involves all of us adopting this framework: have good stuff, not too much, mostly reclaimed, care for it, and pass it on.
Goldmark wants us to value stewardship over waste. Choose quality items designed for a long lifecycle, commit to repairing them when they break, and shift our perspective on reuse and “preowned” goods. Together, we can demand that companies get on board.
Passionate, wise, and practical, Fixation offers us a new understanding of stuff by building a value chain where good design, reuse, and repair are the status quo.

Bilbies and Bandicoots
Celebrate these little natural wonders.
We like to think of Bandicoots as being our Bilby equivalents and because they are so closely related, why not? 
It’s National Bilby Day, Sunday September 11, so spare a thought for Bilbies and Bandicoots, nature’s little eco-engineers that help aerate the soil and are part of the biodiversity essential for healthy forest landscapes like Munibung Hill.

MMM … Issue 33, Sept. 2022