Friday, August 14, 2009

Eco-Hut Challenge - Building Experts

One of the great ways to find out about sustainable building is to get the experts in. We are very lucky here in Wanaka to have some fabulous sustainable building experts working at Sustainable Wanaka. Sophie, Jess and Audrey came down to Wanaka Primary to talk to the students about sustainability, how it relates to building and in turn how that fits in with developing a sustainable community.

Sophie spoke about general sustainability within the home and the kind of things we need to think about. How do we use our water? Can some of our waste grey water be used again? Energy use within the home and how can the design of our home influence how much power we use? How do all these building materials get to us here in Wanaka? Can we find more locally produced materials to cut down on transport? Can home and garden design help us deal with some of our waste products?

Jess and Audrey delved deeper into building design. What is passive solar heating and how can we change our design to let the sun work as our heater? Once the building is warm how can we sue insulation to keep it warm? They had some awesome photographs of unusual building materials. Sustainable design is about making the most of what you have to hand. Can we use resources from a waste stream to build your building from? Not only will you save natural resources doing this, you also save so much energy and effort that would be needed to transport the fresh materials to you from the manufacturers, who can very often be located overseas.

I was lucky enough to be floating around between the two rooms taking photos and adding little bits of information to questions being asked. I was so impressed with the quality of the questions that were being asked, it's obvious that everyone has really been working hard on finding out about building. Great work Wanaka Primary!

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