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How can you change a typical suburban house in Wollongong into a sustainable, healthy home and organic food garden?

Join us on an adventure to explore the possibilities... 



Non-Toxic Painting

biopaint.jpgWe all know that ‘fresh paint’ smell isn’t good for us…but the thing is even after the smell is gone, standard paints can off gas nasties such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) for months and months, aggravating asthma, irritating our eyes, nose and throats and causing lethargy. And the chemicals used in paints can have a nasty environmental legacy.

You might be surprised to know there are alternatives - we certainly were! BIO paints are high quality non-toxic paints made from plants and minerals, not petrochemicals. They can be colour matched to most colours, and are great to work with. And we love that these paints are 100% biodegradable so you can wash the brushes out onto the grass!

Check out:



Switching to CFL Efficient Lighting

A quick phone call was all it took to arrange for someone to come and swap all our incandescent light globes for energy efficient CFL's. And they did it for free! The new CFL bulbs are brilliant - they last much longer than incandescents, and use a quarter of the energy. Please don't be put off by the flickering, long warm up time, and stark white light of old compact fluorescent lighting. The new CFL lights have all overcome these problems and you really can't tell the difference between incandescent lighting and CFL lighting now, except for the shape of the bulbs!

Remember when disposing of CFL lights at the end of their life, you can't just throw them in the bin - they need to be properly disposed of on your Council's chemical clean-up day. This is because the CFL's contain more mercury than incandescent bulbs - but overall in places like NSW where most electricity is from burning coal, they result in less mercury being released into the environment because they require less energy.

For more info contact Green Alliance on 1300 787 749 (local call cost), email, or visit


Home Renovations

Think of a sustainable home and you're likely to think of a sleek new architect designed building with all the new efficiency gadgets. But making changes in our behaviour and smart alterations to existing homes, is a much better environmental choice than building from scratch. And just because a building is given a five star eco rating, doesn't mean that people will use it that way - it's all about what we do within our home. If you grow some of your own food and support local food producers, your probably already miles ahead of houses that produce all their own energy and water, as food is by far the biggest part of our ecological footprint.

So, healthy and eco-friendly renovations is the name of the game at the moment! It's fantastic to see more green home renovation products becoming available. But separating products which are marketed as healthy and environmentally friendly, from those which live up to their promises, and then actually being able to find those products locally is quite a challenge. We hope our ideas and local resource list is helpful for you!

Renovations%20Kitchen.jpgSo far we’ve:

  • Removed the carpet to expose the floorboards, which will be polished with a natural linseed based wood oil. Floorboards don’t hold pollutants and allergens like carpet, new carpets and their glue often contain a number of harmful chemicals, and floorboards are easy to clean – no vacuum required!
  • Reused materials where possible – wall panelling is being used as veneer, tiles will be given a new life in mosaics, concrete from the driveway will be cut up and used as garden paths.
  • Opened up the wall between the kitchen and the lounge room to improve social activity around the preparation of vibrant, healthy food.
The Total Environment Centre has produced a great  'Safer Solutions Guide to Renovations' at . There's also a fantastic manual for renovating and building sustainable homes at


Green Power for a Green Future

Let the wind blow because today we’ve gone 100% Green Power! By joining more than 500,000 Australian homes and businesses that support Green Power, we’re supporting the development of exciting renewable energy projects like solar, wind, and wave. Perhaps Wollongong could be the first Green Powered city???

Check out our article on Green Power for more info.


The Adventure Begins!

And so our adventure in urban sustainability begins! A cute little 1950's commission house, a good-size north/north-west sloping block with few trees...sure there's a huge swimming pool and a garage that could be a second house, and the previous owners had a love affair with concrete to rival our love affair with sustainable living and sharing home grown organic food, but haven't we got plans! A healthy and eco friendly home, vibrant organic vegetable gardens, a grove of subtropical fruit trees, ponds, rainwater tanks, grapes growing up the back veranda ... let the fun (or is that work?) begin!!!!!

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