Australia is lagging behind in the future of sustainable design

With global warming crisis causing global temperature rises and unpredictable weather conditions, people are opting for air conditioning units to keep their homes cool.

Reports showed that as of 2019, the HVAC (heating, venitlation, air conditioning) market is expected to more than double value to an estimated $14.77 billion (AU$20.44 billion) by 2025.

Big Ass Fans to tackle global warming

But with global warming and temperatures rising, energy-draining equipment are further releasing higher greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbating the global emission problem.

So how do we circumvent the problem and build towards a sustainable future?

Big Ass Fans, a globally leading manufacturer of electrical fans, recently held a seminar.

With The Block’s Shelley Craft, Phil Jackson from Guymer Bailey Architects, Alycia Chapman from Renovating Australia, and 2020 The Block Contestants Harry and Tash, they discussed climate conscious building and renovation trends and the impact made with greener choices.

Big Ass Fans Managing Director Shaun Brehaut said Australia is lagging behind in sustainability efforts and has a long way to catch up to greener countries like Sweden and New Zealand.

“Old habits die hard and people are used to continuing in their current way of living.”

“Sustainable design is not being promoted as much as it could be, which means not enough change is happening that we should be seeing,” Mr Brehaut said.

“Big companies are not talking about it but people are becoming more environmentally aware.”

Phil Jackson from Guymer Bailey Architects also agreed, stating that companies are realising the full impacts design and infrastructure can have on the environment.

“Companies recognise that we need to make a change and it’s economical for them to do so.”

“For example, when you don’t get the orientation right at the beginning, you’re introducing a whole lot of layers you wouldn’t need to if you got it right in the first place.”

“Companies that do it right from the start find they save a lot of money and can reinvest these savings into other avenues that make them even more sustainable,” said Phil Jackson.

One easy option, Mr Brehaut from Big Ass Fans said is using fans rather than air conditioning units. This assertion was further highlighted in findings from the Australian government.

The findings show that ceiling fans produced around $5 and 15kg in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions whereas a split system air conditioner $35 and 160kg GHG in a 12m room annually.

“Conventional fans start around 90 watts. Our fans start at 2 watts and go up to 30 watts, so you’re saving even more money than that, while also helping reduce these emissions.”

At the event, it was discovered that sustainable design was slowly being seen as a viable, stylish and affordable option with more homes built with passive design in mind.

Big Ass Fans’ sustainability trends

Repurposed and ethically sourced materials

With work being defined by the pandemic, designers have seen a shift in trends with people reevaluating the design and affordability of their homes, but also where materials come from.

These can be as simple as choosing lighter materials like timber over steel beas to save on the carbon footprint by reducing the amount of fuel used for transportation.

Mr Jackson said, “Customers are also concerned about the ethical supply of the products they purchase. I feel like in a way it’s a bit of a renaissance on what we should have been doing.”

Green Technology

2022 will see advancements in smarter technology that helps reduce energy consumption.

Block chain technology as noted by Alycia Chapman from Renovating Australia will allow people to control and give their energy back to the grid or share with anyone who needs it.

These advancements include solar power in regions like Queensland and smart technology inbuilt into household appliances to save unnecessary energy usage.

For example, Big Ass Fans’ SmartSense possesses a uniquely built-in setting that facilitates the fans to automatically adjust their speed as ambient conditions changed.

Incorporating natural elements

Working from home has seen indoor and outdoor living blending as a way to remain connected with nature and is more relevant as climate change has an effect.

Overtaking the government

The design industry is also expected to move quicker than the government.

With the embrace of blockchain technologies giving power back to the people, companies are adopting more ethical methods through their own initiatives outside government.

“I think the industry is moving quicker than the government and is having a greater impact,” Mr Jackson said, and noted companies were adopting ethical changes even before the NCC.