Renew’s Green Rebuild Toolkit has been developed in response to the 2019-2020 bushfire season, in which over 3,500 homes were lost around the country and many more structures destroyed.
The devastation prompted a discussion at Renew about how to help people get the most out of any new home that they plan to build—for future bushfire resistance, for thermal efficiency, and for the overall health, wellbeing and comfort of the people who live there.
We thought about the best way to use our expertise to help people rebuild in a manner that’s both sustainable and resilient. Through our long-running event program, including Sustainable House Day and our Speed Date a Sustainability Expert events, we know that people planning a new home in such circumstances need one-on-one advice from an expert. This means they can ask questions specific to their situation, giving them greater confidence when making decisions about their home.
The project secured funding from donor Global Giving to support communities on their rebuilding journey. The initial phase of the Green Rebuild Toolkit includes this web resource and a set of events, including webinars on a range of topics related to bushfire-resistant and energy-efficient house design and construction. Virtual Speed Date a Sustainability Expert events will also run in 2021, enabling fire-affected property owners to meet with a range of experts and get one-on-one advice. Households will also have opportunities to participate in lengthier one-on-one consultations with Renew experts, allowing them to further refine their house plans and maximise energy efficiency within the home.
Renew is also working with its network of experts to create new resources and case studies for this website on topics such as site planning, bushfire- and climate-resilient design, finding the right team of experts with whom to work, materials, renewable energy and rainwater systems.
With the Bushfire Royal Commission acknowledging that climate change fueled the Black Summer bushfires—and that similar dangerous weather conditions are likely to recur throughout the country due to a warming climate—it’s clear that bushfires of this severity will happen again. The task now is to help create new homes that are as bushfire-resilient and sustainable as possible.
Renew has been providing expert, independent advice on sustainable solutions for the home to households, government and industry since 1980. Pictured here is the home of Dean Atkins and Zoe Proctor, featured in Sanctuary 53.
The Green Rebuild Toolkit is developed by Renew, a not-for-profit organisation helping households to live more sustainably, with over 40 years’ experience providing independent advice and analysis on sustainable technologies and practices to households, governments and businesses.
Renew has had many Australian firsts including owning a community wind farm at Breamlea in Victoria, national sustainability education tours with our Energy Mobile in the 1980s and Australia’s first trial of greywater systems in response to growing interest in water saving during the millennium drought. Renew has also led the way in making it easier for home solar systems to be connected to the grid by actively lobbying for consistent agreements and financial incentives for solar households.
The achievements of Renew continue to grow with ever-increasing numbers of people wanting to learn how to live more sustainably. Today Renew engages with more than 250,000 people each year around Australia and overseas.
We are well recognised for our leadership in taking practical action on climate change. You can find out more about Renew at www.renew.org.au