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Kyal and Kara on eco-friendly design

Kyal and Kara are always conscious of being kind to the environment. Here they share their top eco-friendly design tips.

Kyal and Kara on eco-friendly design

20 September 2018

With a young family, Kyal and Kara are always conscious of being kind to the environment. Here they share their top eco-friendly design tips.

With the war on waste in full swing, Kyal and I have increasingly become more aware of our choices within our household day to day, plus on a larger scale, with our renovations and their impact on the environment. It’s easy to think that choices made on an individual level will have minimal impact on the world around us, however, if everyone begins to make sustainable choices, we can have a profoundly positive impact on the environment – especially for generations to come. 

When selecting any building material, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the options available, but a good way to filter through the vast array of options, is to have a look at the environmental impact of each product.


Heating and cooling can make up to 38% of the home's energy requirements, so a well insulated home will assist in significantly reducing your carbon footprint. Many insulation products, such as glasswool, polyester and cellulose fibre insulation are now produced using recycled content. For example, Bradford’s Glasswool is made of up to 80% recycled glass – including glass bottles that are not suitable for container glass manufacture.1

Cellulose insulation is primarily made up of recycled paper and generally speaking has the highest amount of recycled content when compared to other forms of insulation. 

When selecting any building material, it’s also worth noting how easily the material can be recycled after use.


We’re big fans of using paint as a cost effective solution to transform a room or home – however, it’s important to choose a paint that has as little environmental impact as possible. In particular, aim to choose a paint that is low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound).

Volatile Organic Compounds are chemical compounds that easily evaporate at room temperature, or for example, as paint dries. Exposure to such gases can have potentially serious health implications, and from an environmental perspective, can contribute to 'urban smog'. These issues can be avoided by choosing a zero or low VOC paint – many of which are now approved by the National Asthma Council as a part of Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.

Recycling and upcycling

Before commencing any work, take a good look at the existing home and make a plan to reuse any materials that are appropriate to be recycled. It’s important to do this before you lift a hammer, to ensure that materials are not broken or damaged in the demolition phase.

Not only are you making a great eco-friendly choice and saving cash, recycled materials are often the best features of a renovation – making your project unique – as opposed to a 'cookie cutter' development. Plus, it’s always nice to have a story behind certain design choices, for example, a feature wall using recycled timber floor boards.

Passive design

In the planning stage of any renovation, the design should allow the home to take advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range.

Good passive design will ensure less overall energy is consumed, and in turn mean less environmental impact.

Smart design choices include positioning windows to promote natural cross ventilation, and adding ‘wing walls’ to assist ventilation through windows that sit perpendicular to the prevailing breeze.


1, 1 July 2018

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