IF you think looking after the environment is all too hard and you need to keep forking out money for energy costs, think again.
Regional home and business owners are doing their best to cut costs and help the environment, and their properties will be on show across the region on Sunday as part of Sustainable House Day.
Among the buildings are a dental surgery, a public toilet, an office building, a mud brick home and a straw bale house.
Community group Sustainable Namoi Living has held open houses for the past six years with the hope that people can learn more about sustainable practices.
Sustainable Namoi Living is a partnership between Tamworth Regional Landcare and Namoi Catchment Management Authority.
Namoi CMA education officer Col Easton said the day would include properties at Tamworth, Quirindi, Somerton, Gunnedah and Narrabri.
“We have a waterless and odourless public toilet at Narrabri’s CSIRO Australia Telescope, which uses passive solar design ideas,” Mr Easton said.
“At Gunnedah the owners have bought two weatherboard houses from town which were destined for demolition, moved them out of town and renovated them.
“They’ve positioned the houses to capture the most sun and used the local breeze to keep the houses cool in summer.”
Tamworth’s Happy Smiles dentist in Marius St, owned by dentist Richard Wise, is one of the commercial buildings.
“He’s used some really interesting geothermal technology,” Mr Easton said.
“The temperature of the ground is very constant, whereas the air temperature fluctuates.
“He’s drilled deep bore holes into the ground and the air that comes out of these holes is at a constant temperature all year around so it’s used for air conditioning.”
Mr Wise also saved the original bricks of the old cottage for the new building.
“He’s also saved a lot of energy in cooking bricks by reusing those materials.”
Home owners and renovators can pick up plenty of tips.
Margaret Dowe’s South Tamworth Californian-style bungalow faces north-east, but its best feature is its white roof.
“In the summer, when it’s 40 degrees outside, it’s 27 degrees inside,” Mrs Dowe said.
“I only used the air conditioner twice last summer.”
The home also has plate glass windows in the living areas and the bedroom which face north.
“In summer I pull the curtains and blinds down to keep cool, then I open everything up in winter to capture the sun,” Mrs Dowe said.
For a full list of the sustainable houses, see Saturday’s edition of The Northern Daily Leader.