What’s “affordable”? What’s “sustainable”?
The question on the first adjective is always open because it depends who you’re talking about. The second, it seems to me, needs to take climate into account and, for housing, the number & type of occupants.
My “sustainable” question arose yesterday when I saw the winner of the Australian Housing Industry Association was praised for having a 10,000-litre (2200-gallon) rainwater tank. In Melbourne, as here, that would be enough to water the garden and, for the family of 4 the house was designed for, would leave them without water through summer & probably autumn.
As in the Rodney district of Auckland, that standard family would have to rely on visits from the water tanker unless they applied the rule of thumb my old neighbour gave me years ago: “Turn the tap off before you turn it on.”
A tank about double that of the award winner would provide a sustainable supply, if used discreetly.
The Australian association presented its GreenSmart home of the year award & sustainable home award to Victorian building company Beaumont Concepts for a home it says has no electricity costs for a family of 4.
It’s “net energy positive; made possible by a 6kW solar PV system & battery energy storage. A 10,000-litre rainwater tank, low-VOC paints & locally sourced materials round out the sustainable features of this stylish build”.
The association said the judges were impressed by the eco-friendly design & finishes: “The home integrates sustainable design & recycled materials with a close-to-zero energy efficiency result.”
It may perform well on other sustainability measures, but on water supply it’s a fail.
Attribution: Association release.