Jotting 1

Did you ever ponder as to why Australians are the greatest wasters of land and materials (per capita), in the world, that’s right – IN THE WORLD? Personally I’m not that surprised, but without formerly giving it much thought, I probably would have nominated the U.S. to have won this shameful accolade, but no us Australians are sadly the true gold medal winners.

The outcome is not that hard to understand though. We are very wasteful when it comes to the style of housing we have fallen in love with over decades of mindless suburban sprawl, the biggest culprit being that of the Single Storey home design. I’m not even referring to the growing popularity of bigger homes today, but merely their design.

Single storeys are all slab, roof and wall, thus the maximum spread of any given size of home to live in, resulting in the maximum cost per square of building and land consumption. This ‘spread’ in turn consumes more energy to heat and cool a home, which lessens the value of housing for your dollar.

Let’s look at this syndrome more specifically. The building of a roof is one of the more costly aspects of home construction, yet most Australians unwittingly or otherwise increase their house cost by dismissing the use of roof space as part of their home layout. I’m not referring to Double Storey designs either because these also waste roof space and save nothing on wall area. Double storeys do however save roof and slab cost, as well as land consumption.

If more Australians adopted roof space in their designs (of which 80% could be designed as ‘habitable’), they would be embracing building like countries have been doing overseas for centuries, who consolidate home spread and hence save money, land and reduce energy consumption. Appreciate that you can still have the same living space you desire; you simply build and live in a more ‘Efficient’ way, whereas Australians on the whole live in the least sustainable housing design mode you can choose, which unfortunately also increases suburban infra structure costs.

It’s all pretty crazy and quite ironic that people who subscribe to Single Storey design are perpetuating the most wasteful design mode of housing in the world, yet most likely believe that they are choosing a cheaper and easier way to obtain a family home. Nothing could be further from the truth!

I’ll explain more about how this ‘Australian’ idiosyncrasy has come about in my next jotting.