Clare Claydon is a Bank Australia customer who is participating in Sustainable House Day this year. We asked her about her journey to creating a sustainable home.
What motivated you to make your home more sustainable, and what did you begin with?
We began gradually, over 30 years ago. I’ve always been a keen gardener. We transformed the front paddock into a veggie garden and an orchard. We haven’t bought veggies for the last 25 years - even through winter. We now have 80 fruit trees with about 120 varieties, with fresh orchard fruit from November to August and citrus all winter.
I’ve also been interested in indigenous vegetation, we’ve planted several thousand indigenous plants on the property from which we collect and sell seed for local revegetation projects.
In 2005, we decided to buy solar panels and a solar hot water system. While the solar and the wood fire assist to keep our usage down, we also try to live in a mindful way by switching off lights, shutting doors to keep the heat in or out and choosing economical appliances.
Our motivation has turned up a notch with the arrival of grandchildren who deserve not to inherit a mess of a planet. Sustainability helps us become more in tune with nature, and to feel that we’re living as lightly on the planet as we can.
Was your home built from the ground up or renovated?
Renovated. Our house is built under a hayshed which was built around 70 years ago. We have all the advantages of living under a huge roof which include fire safety, generous water catchment, and protection from summer sun - it’s like living under a large parasol!
Which improvement to your home do you believe has created the most sustainable impact?
The humble draught-proofing and eco-glazing means we are now cooler in summer and warmer in winter. There is now no need for air-conditioning and, the wood stove keeps us toasty all winter.
Which one of your new additions are you connected to most?
We love our wood stove, when we cook and bake, it heats our living area with no additional heat source. It also heats our hot water, dries our clothes and then we put the ash out in the orchard to help sweeten the soil! We also love our composting toilet (being gardeners and water-misers).
Do you believe it’s achievable to create a sustainable home?
Yes, but it can be challenging.
What inspired you to open your home for sustainable house day?
We love sharing what we do. It’s a treat to have people around who want to learn and ask questions about sustainability issues. We learn from them too!
Sustainable House Day, another initiative of the ATA, is proudly supported by Bank Australia.