I did a class run by The Watershed on Monday night, Eco Choices for Home Renovators. This is my second class from this organization, the first being a worm farming workshop.
They're funded by the City of Sydney and Marrickville councils to promote sustainability in the area and their courses are excellent, and free!
The class covered many of the basics which I know well, about passive solar design, materials choices, embedded energy, energy efficiency, volatile organic compounds and the like, but was a good recap. What's more, there were great case studies and samples of materials that can be used.
We're renovating our bathroom and installing built-in wardrobes next week, with my uncle staying with us to do the work, so I'll be putting some of these ideas into action there.
Where I'll really use it, though, is in the design of the shed/office building we're planning for the back garden. I'm planning to integrate passive solar principles, as well as enormous amounts of insulation, into the design to get away with absolutely minimal heating and cooling. To that end, I've starting drawing it in SketchUp, which is an amazingly easy-to-use 3D modelling tool from Google. It's just a shame it doesn't run under Linux, which means I have to do it at work. Above you'll see my first crack at it, which isn't very accurate as I'm still learning the tool.
I've already changed my mind about some of the features of the design you see here, and I'll be working on it a lot over the next few months. Will show you future drawings here.
For context, it's going along the back of this garden.