Builder Steve Dyer, architect Tone Wheeler and new home owner Joel Fleming outside one of the new eco homes at Byron Bay. The energy bills of these homes will be 70 per cent less than electricity-only powered homes.
Builder Steve Dyer, architect Tone Wheeler and new home owner Joel Fleming outside one of the new eco homes at Byron Bay. The energy bills of these homes will be 70 per cent less than electricity-only powered homes. Kate O’Neill

Green homes priced to sell

THE NOTION that building a ‘green home’ is too expensive or high maintenance is a myth that needs to be debunked, according to new ‘eco’ home owner Joel Fleming, of Byron Bay.

Mr Fleming, who founded Sydney-based carbon credit company Climate Friendly in Byron Bay six years ago, is the owner of an innovative new sustainable home near Sunrise Beach.

The home has an eco-friendly design that minimises greenhouse gas emissions and is super energy efficient.

It is powered primarily by solar, with some gas and even less electricity, which he says will result in power bills up to 70 per cent less than an electricity-powered home.

Key design features include ‘building conditioning’ rather than air-conditioning, achieved through strategically placed windows, fans and doors and the use of reverse brick veneer.

An innovative roof system with built-in insulation also helps keep the home cool in summer and warm in winter.

Eco paints and polishes that do not contain harsh chemicals or petroleum products were used throughout the house.

Even the bathroom has been designed to minimise the use of chemicals – there is no shower screen and therefore no need to use harsh glass cleaning products.

The home has been built in a more up-market, executive style, with quality finishes, but Mr Fleming said everyone could incorporate sustainable features, no matter what their budget.

“For example, five-star taps don’t cost any more than three-star taps,” he said.

“And a passive solar design, facing the windows north and avoiding facing the west is a simple logical thing that doesn’t cost anymore.”

Mr Fleming said it also helped to have a builder who was as well educated on eco-design as Steve Dyer, of local company Build Better.

Mr Dyer built Mr Fleming’s home and a similar one next door, with the help of architect Tone Wheeler of Environa Studio.

Mr Dyer said builders should be helping clients to get educated about sustainable housing and to show them there were many ways to minimise the impact of building on the environment.

Mr Dyer said the home next to Mr Fleming’s cost 10-15pc more to construct than a project home, which was widely considered to be the cheapest new house option.



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