Minimise living costs, utilise natural resources, and improve your quality of life. According to Josh Byrne, it’s all about design.
story > Sarah O’Donovan
osh Byrne is an environmental scientist well-known for his role as a presenter on ABC’s Gardening Australia, where he has been demonstrating practical and sustainable landscaping options for the past 13 years. His company, Josh Byrne & Associates, is committed to providing landscape design, urban water systems, and built form sustainability in an inter-related way, creating results that are ‘greater than the sum of [a project’s] individual parts’. One such example is the two 10-star NatHERS energy-efﬁcient family homes Josh designed and constructed with Highbury Homes and Solar Dwellings in 2013. Demonstrating that anyone can build resource-efﬁcient homes at a comparable cost and timeframe to regular homes, the project – and the teams behind it – won the 2014 GreenSmart Water Efﬁciency award. When it comes to the way we live, Josh says that sustainability is becoming
an increasingly desirable aspect of any Australian home, but it is one that can naturally present challenges. ‘There’s a really strong will in both the industry and the community to see better housing being delivered but change is rarely simple, and there’s always inertia,’ Josh says. ‘New solutions, even once technically proven, need time to be adopted by the people on the ground: builders, tradies, city planners, estate agents.’ He believes the biggest challenge homeowners often encounter is in putting together a team that ‘gets it’ – from a designer who can see your vision to the builder who can deliver it. However, taking the time to select the right team members can be what saves consumers the most time and money. ‘[Invest in] an architect or building designer – if you take the time to ﬁnd someone you trust and can relate to, they should be able to save you more money