HomeBuilder a half-baked idea that’s widely condemned

ANALYSIS: On Thursday, the Morrison government introduced its HomeBuilder (insert trademark) scheme with the intention of supporting residential home builders that were starting to see work dry up.

Ponderings on a post-pandemic “Harbour City” pick-up

It actually seems that some of the environmental optimism accompanying the COVID-19 “rupture” is surviving into the recovery phase. How and where is it being expressed and are there opportunities for its extension?

Our podcast, How to Build a Better World: Peter Newman

Listen to The Fifth Estate’s first podcast series, with new episodes released regularly. Our managing editor Tina Perinotto has taken to the mic to chat to the people on the frontline with the power to address the big ecological, social and financial problems of our time. We’ve called it “How to Build a Better World” […]

10 ways to keep Sunshine Coast liveable and sustainable

As more people flock to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the temperate climate and breathtaking views, the Sunshine Coast Council is looking for ways to accommodate growth without compromising sustainability, liveability and affordability.  The council has launched a new design guide specific to the region, complete with 10 guiding principles specific to the unique […]

Is prefab the answer to pricey Passive House builds?

It takes precision and care to construct an airtight building that’s good enough to pass the tough blower door test for Passive House certification. None of it cheap.

On gas and hot air

News from the front desk: Five or six years ago the notion of cheap and plentiful gas available to our homes and offices might have been something to fear for its impact on climate and our greenhouse gas emissions.

Cooking with gas: bad for the planet, and bad for your health

Australia’s federal government looks like it’s digging its heels in on gas but be warned, cooking with it is bad for your health. And while rangehoods can help, not all of them were created equal. In fact, the best ones are so loud people don’t turn them on.

Podcast: Architects as climate activists, with Caroline Pidcock

In our latest episode of How to Build a Better World, managing editor of The Fifth Estate, Tina Perinotto, speaks to Caroline Pidcock, an award-winning Australian architect and advocate for sustainable design. Caroline has been pouring much of her energy into the Australian branch of Architects Declare as the group’s spokesperson, which involves working out […]

Will we choose a bum-led zombie urban future?

Despite pockets of silliness, like the freedom ‘n’ gun-loving idiocy erupting in the US, sensible minds are turning to what happens once COVID-19 restrictions are eased. Already, tensions are starting to appear between resuming past urban policy settings and the need to rethink them deeply.

Ventilation might help slow COVID-19 spread but let’s not forget energy use

While the evidence so far indicates that increasing outside air circulation may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in buildings, some common sense goes a long way for facility managers looking to keep occupants safe without wasting energy on overzealous air circulation. 

NCC doesn’t cover demolition and contaminated lamps in landfill are the result

Around 85 per cent of mercury-containing fluorescent tubes and lamps still go to landfill –poisoning our land and water tables – even though it’s illegal and Australia has signed an international convention. Simple changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) are part of the solution.  

Making infrastructure sustainable offers a bigger bang for our buck

Infrastructure’s social licence to operate is in jeopardy thanks to the community’s construction fatigue and sheer opposition, with around $20 billion worth of infrastructure projects delayed, cancelled or mothballed over the past decade. Making these projects certified under a sustainability rating scheme could turn the tide.

Coronavirus could nudge product design in a more circular direction

It’s time for wide-open creativity as we work our way of the pandemic crisis. What about more local manufacturing and production – and a big eye on circular economy as we go? New research that just received grant funding might help lead the way.