Our efforts to wrench the Australian housing sector onto a sustainable footing are entwined with climate, energy and, increasingly, housing affordability. Decent policies in these areas remain elusive and the politics more divisive than ever. Thankfully, we’re not completely without options.
Sanctuary 39 shares stories of how savvy consumers are preparing their homes for the inevitable transitions in energy. In particular, it focuses on shacks and studios under 75 square metres that have gone back to basics with design and materials. A Tassie backyard shack doubles as a residence and writer’s studio, a one-bedroom Kiwi ‘bach’ expands like a Tardis to sleep visitors, and prefab construction saves on build time for a rural retreat in Victoria. With clever floor plans, small structures like these could also be adapted to become affordable secondary dwellings.
In addition, Tom Nockolds highlights the 90+ community energy projects already operating around the country.
Owner-built homes are a rare treat for Sanctuary and several are featured in this issue, including a rustic recycled container cabin in Queensland and a sleek family home built on a modest budget in the ACT.
Sanctuary 39 also visits architecturally designed projects. The True North House is a remarkable response to an unusually shaped site. From the inside, its curvaceous form makes it feel like “looking out through a water drop, or hiding inside a musical instrument”. The Cube renovation reached a 7 Star energy rating for the whole house – already an impressive achievement for an old cottage – and the owners continue to monitor its performance to see how much further they can go.
Also in this issue is an investigation of your right to repair the products you own and look into solar access laws; there are new legal precedents being set all over Australia as more solar households head to court to test the right to the sun in the suburbs.
Anna Cumming helps you keep cosy through winter with a guide to high-performance curtains, blinds and shutters and Mara Ripani encourages you to think more creatively about fence design.
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