Sanctuary 41 out now

Renovation can be tricky and expensive, but the rewards can be remarkable as demonstrated by the incredible home renovations in the latest Sanctuary.

It’s often joked that ‘doing a reno’ is a national sport in Australia, such is our enthusiasm for hardware stores and real estate. If only our efforts were better directed towards housing quality for in this area we’re far from match-fit. It’s almost 15 years since mandatory national housing efficiency standards were introduced and yet millions of homes perform worse than 2 Stars – woefully poor on any scorecard. On the upside, research into the return on investment for green home improvements shows benefits for health, comfort, emissions and the hip pocket; simple changes shave tens of thousands from energy bills over 20 years (p76). But while there are many good reasons to address the energy performance of all houses, not just new-builds, we lack a cohesive national approach for achieving this. It’s up to proactive households to change the game – but where to start?

This issue of Sanctuary is intended to be your guide. We profile nine extraordinary renovations from across Australia and New Zealand, and identify the key ESD considerations that have set up these old buildings for a low-bill future. From net-zero energy and future proofing, to sustainable materials and thermal upgrades, we show you how a renovation can improve the whole house (p16). Good renovations come in all shapes and styles, and so we visit a tiny refurbished apartment designed for downsizers (p48), a lofty warehouse conversion that’s achieved a 6.1 Star energy rating (p36), and everything in between. Our cover feature is a spectacular Auckland house upgraded to meet strict seismic codes – it’s instructive to see how New Zealand policy is meeting this difficult challenge (p53; design by Dorrington Atcheson Architects, photography by Emma-Jane Hetherington). I hope through these success stories we not only influence your next project but also help lead the housing sector in a new direction, where super efficient is the norm, not the exception.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE …

As the weather warms up, Anna Cumming presents some cool external shading ideas, Verity Campbell unearths some of the world’s most incredible architectural holiday stays and veterinarian Joanna Griffith explains how cat owners can use design to protect wildlife. And in our summer Design Workshop, architect Rowan Brown weighs up the pros and cons of using shipping containers for a modular mountain retreat.

Sanctuary 41 is on its way to letterboxes and newsagencies near you, full of advice and inspiration for sustainable living and building.

And as always we feature a wide range of innovative sustainable products and design tips for your home.

We welcome your feedback. Perhaps there’s something else you would you like to see in Sanctuary? Let us know on FacebookTwitter or by email.

Urban lifecycle

Urban lifecycle

Sustainably sourced materials meet passive solar design in this custom renovation and extension of a period Melbourne cottage.

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From fibro to fabulous

From fibro to fabulous

Often poor performing and riddled with asbestos, is Australia’s ubiquitous fibro shack worth keeping? These two families on opposite sides of the country said yes, opting for renovations and extensions that vastly improved the liveability of their humble homes.

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Material difference

Material difference

Homeowner Danny Mathews had plenty of ideas and knowledge about low impact materials and how to use them to improve his period cottage, but he sought the guidance of architect Penny Guild to make it happen.

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