May 29, 2017


Hi, thanks for reading my posts. If you like them, please share or give some feedback and if you don't like them, tell me what you don't like- I have thick skin and it can help with future posts. Those of you who know me, know that I don't make decisions in my life based on what it will cost, or will I get my return.

I do things that I want to do, and when it comes to living my eco friendly/ sustainable/ permaculture designed life (whatever you want to call it!) I make my most educated decision on what is going to be the best in the long term for the planet, and my family. Yesterday, I had planned a full day going around to all the sustainable house days in Sydney, and check them all out to see what all the other hippies are doing.

My dad calls me a hippie which I find very amusing- considering he takes a lot of steps in his life to tread lightly on the planet and he just won’t admit that he is doing his part for the future! My wife and I packed the Prius with some drinks in the fridge of our car and headed off to our first destination- the NIRIMBA Tafe Green Skills Hub. I had originally planned to see what was going on, then move to the next destination, however that all changed very quickly. After arriving, my wife and I saw a few speakers with some interesting subjects. We decided to stay and watch to see what was being taught in Tafe and what the mainstream are learning.

All the speakers were great. I learned that, slowly, mainstream is catching up to the hippie way of life-  when I say catching up, they won’t be overtaking us for a long long time unfortunately! There were four speakers. The first was about Aircon, how to make it more efficient and how to purchase the most efficient system on the market. The second speaker was talking about renewable energy.

I was finding it hard to keep my mouth shut and let him talk- that didn't last long either, as the crowd had questions he couldn't answer. I asked if I could share my experience and opinion, then I was off- the passion and knowledge started flowing which sparked some great conversations. The calling for lunch was the only thing that stopped us I reckon. Third speaker was all about passive solar design, getting the building right and retrofits, which had some really great content. The fourth speaker was very interesting- I will get back to this one.The last speaker was all about sustainable building materials, which was great to see being taught in Tafe and the building industry. Speaker four had a few interesting talks but honestly not something I was going to stick around for. Real Estate is not a passion of mine, but the talk started off about how they have changed the mentality of real estate agents to sell properties based on being green. That one line got me hooked- being a sales trainer all my life and sales is all about understanding behaviour and mentalities.To then combine it with sustainability meant I was glued to my chair and wasn't going anywhere.

The main focus was, how do you get a return on your financial return on your eco friendly investment? I can relate to this as we just recently purchased a share of a property from a family member, I am think this place is going to be worth a fortune so much more than the neighbors, Its off -grid for electricity with grid back up, Skylights all over the place, insulation, external shading devices,  Solar Hot water, water tanks with town water as back up, it comes with over 30 established fruit trees, all the herbs you will ever need, 5 rotational garden garden beds that will feed a family of 5. All the valuer had to say me is "mate that stuff doesn't sell or make a property worth anymore". He said from his experience a house with solar will sell faster on a market by a few days maybe he had no real data. It would get you your money back he told me.

I was excited and disappointed all in the same moment, excited that I was going to get our house cheaper as all the stuff we had done didn't add any value supposedly. I was also saddened that people don't see the true value in all of that stuff and real estate agents just fob it off as if your a crazy thinking that anyone else in the world would care about that stuff when buying a house. Obviously he lives at home with mum and she still pays for everything! No he was a very lovely guy he just told me that's what goes on in the market and he wants to buy batteries like mine.

The fourth speaker had been embedded in LJ Hooker’s business for the last 4 years. They were getting a real understanding on this- the reasons that real estate agents couldn't sell green homes and the reasons buyers didn't want to buy green homes, how they are going to change that, and how you can make your green home go up in value. We are all talking about it the wrong way- we are using the wrong language on how we are communicating what it means to live in a  green home. The new word on the street islivability. What was found in the research, is that the majority of buyers aren't keen on green homes because it means less.

My father and I had this discussion about water saving shower heads. Dad says they’re crap because you sacrifice, I simply replied, did you buy one or use the free one from a door knocker? He told me the free one, so I went and purchased him a $35 one- bang, problem solved. You get what you pay for, I told him. I even told him, he could keep the $35, as he now enjoys 8L a minute showers that feel no different to his 25L a minute shower head! This type of mentality is what real estate agents are dealing with, any home that was sustainable, green or permaculture designed meant that the buyer who intends on buying the home was going to be sacrificing, or giving something up.

 The other side of the coin was people were buying these eco friendly homes, thinking they would be cheap to run, then realising that that had to make some sort of effort- "you can’t leave the Aircon on 24 hours a day and still get cheap electricity bills? But the agent told me it was an eco house so it will be cheap?!". Some people you just can't help, unfortunately that's the majority. I was really impressed with the talk and what has been done by the team at the livability real estate to create the change, it all made sense to me. Training real estate agents to look for green features and adding them to the property's listing just like you would with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a garage.

The great thing about what they have also done is unless the agent is qualified and trained, they can’t just tick it on the websites- unless they are certified and have done Hippie training they can’t add them. For example, you can now search for homes with solar hot water, solar off grid, the lot! The future's looking brighter. Check out the website and see if your home has the 17 things Also book yourself a free appraisal to satisfy your curiosity- it might even motivate you,  the greenest of the green to do more! After that, the day was almost over so I got to one house and got so many more ideas for my place. I can't wait for next weekend to start making some changes of my own!

Next year we will have our home open as well to share what can be done in the big smoke (the city). Have a Yabba Yabba do day. Please share you you found this helpful. or would like to get notifications when we post new blogs, subscribe at the top.