‘We started the process by designing and building our own home. At that time [about 10 years ago] no-one really understood what we were trying to achieve. However we plugged along with it and launched the business just as the GFC was ending.’ Since then, Joe’s continuing drive to improve his knowledge and expertise in sustainable design and construction has seen him become one of the region’s leaders in environmental building practices. ‘A fundamental principle underpinning the business is to be recognised as the “standard-setter” in new architect-designed, environmental residential and commercial construction,’ he says. To this end, Joe, who became a HIA GreenSmart Professional in 2011, regularly presents talks to community groups regarding sustainable building. He’s also been involved in the training of other contractors in waste-water management, and has held information sessions for local architects regarding options for sustainable products and designs. ‘Sustainable building is important. It’s good for the environment, for the occupants of the home – because [the homes are] a lot healthier and more
comfortable – plus it’s also great for the back pocket and saving money,’ Joe says. Achieving true sustainability in housing requires a holistic approach – starting with site management, which is particularly important in bushland areas such as the Blue Mountains. ‘Waste management during construction is a signiﬁcant factor; we separate our waste streams and re-use and recycle as much as we can.’ Joe says a recent internal waste audit showed that an estimated 86 per cent of construction waste from Blue Eco’s building sites is recycled or re-used, with only 14 per cent going to landﬁll. Early on, the company developed a stringent environmental and waste management policy to identify and control the total environmental impact of their projects. ‘People say, “Oh, I’m going sustainable”, and whack a solar panel on the roof. Well, that’s not what it’s all about,’ Joe explains. ‘It’s encompassing the whole design and how the home is actually built, and ensuring it’s built right.’ Blue Eco Homes employs eight staff and will generally have four or ﬁve projects on the go at any one time. Joe is passionate about delivering the highestquality product possible – both in ﬁnish and ongoing performance. In achieving
‘WASTE MANAGEMENT DURING CONSTRUCTION IS A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR; WE SEPARATE OUR WASTE STREAMS AND RE-USE AND RECYCLE AS MUCH AS WE CAN’
In cold climates, in-slab hydronic heating is a cost-effective, energy smart way to supplement a solar passive system. A central boiler heats water that is then circulated through pipes which are installed before the slab is poured. A zoned system means you only need to heat rooms you are using.