build with heart
Natural Building Australia aims to connect people with the information, guidance, and assistance to help them reduce their carbon footprint by designing and building housing suited to the site, that is both healthier for them and the planet.
To unite and grow the many earth building modalities across our varied climates and develop the industry as a viable and accessible alternative for ordinary families, communities, and professionals.
Natural Building Australia recognises that not everyone has the means to build their own homes, but we can provide access for people to increase their knowledge and capacity around making our homes more resilient and responsive to climate, location and locally available materials.
We are down-to-earth, imaginative, co-operative, inspiring, innovative, trustworthy and forward-thinking.
We aim to
- Grow the network to be an industry player across the country.
- Ensure communities can access resources in their area or tradespeople/opportunities in states where they want to live.
- Provide a relevant hub that helps grow the industry, and the professionals, businesses and suppliers already working within it.
- Educate and help facilitate regulation and systems change.
What is the project?
Hi, my name is Rachel, and my mission is to develop a platform and network hub that can help anyone across Australia access information and resources to help them and their communities build naturally and design smarter homes built to the varied Australian climate. We can all see that as energy prices are rising, households are starting to think about ways to make their homes more efficient. Likewise, as house and land prices go up, more people are looking to take some of the expense out of their build by doing it themselves, and/or move rurally to live simpler and closer to nature. City dwellers too are asking for clever ways they can retrofit or renovate to make their homes more sustainable, and many are looking to natural building solutions but often find it too difficult or get told they can't do what they know they want to!
Taking on building projects, of any size, can be complex, and full of hurdles.
Natural Building Australia is looking to be the first and only nation-wide website and in-person business for professionals and punters looking to get dirty and more hands on with their homes. This campaign is going to raise capital to build the network and develop a platform that can be made available to anyone thinking about making their homes more green, and more responsive to the seasons and weather.
Combining a directory of trades and skills, an interactive map of opportunities around the country, feature articles and webinars, courses and a resource hub, Natural Building Australia will be the one-stop-shop for building smarter and with alternative materials. If you have ever undertaken a building project, especially one that is a bit left-of-centre, you appreciate how isolating it can be. You need support, insight and even hands-on help!
Why is this needed?
If you haven’t heard of natural building, it’s also known as green or environmental building. It's basically a way to use readily accessible local materials such as mud, straw, stone, timber, recycled materials and natural plasters as central to a home, studio or backyard shed/space. The sky is the limit as you can build anything from natural materials! It also extends to the use of tyres, hemp and even tiny houses depending on the situation. Australia has a long and proud history of earth building, but this tradition has often been sidelined, or forgotten, in the rush towards easy and cheap housing solutions!
Making up just a small percentage of annual home builds, it's clear there is a growing desire for less carbon-intensive building materials, but a few things are holding it back! Firstly, accessing information on earth building accross Australia is hard and can be confusing or conflicting! Secondly, existing research is beginning to date, and often only represents one type of building modality. Thirdly, there isn't a whole lot of data being undertaken to allow it to compete with conventional building practices. Lastly, there's a whole industry now devoted to pseudo-green solutions, that aren't actually that sustainable when you think about using the earth beneath your feet!
In one article from 2015, an engineer from the industry complained that more people don't build with rammed-earth due to a lack of knowledge of the benefits, and an under-regulation of alternative building materials! Making up only 13% (around 40k annually) of the total house builds, owner builders are a small but passionate and growing community. And sadly after 40 years, The Owner Builder Magazine has closed, leaving a big gap for people looking for opportunities and insights from those already building differently.
This sector would benefit from greater co-operation, and co-ordination and in order to generate an active and vital building community, it neeeds a responsive and relevant network hub and platform. Currently there is no central directory, platform or events listing to help people find projects or workshops or even just reliable resources to help them get their project moving forward. This is largely because much of the industry still operates at the margins and by word of mouth, and people working in the industry are too busy to spend time on-line getting the word out there!
Considering earth homes have been around since humans first began creating shelter, it's time to give all modalities a bigger platform, help grow the industry and make it a legitimate and competitive part of the building and housing landscape. To help make this a growth industry, we must first unite the people, businesses and knowledge already in it to showcase what ordinary Australians can do to make their homes greener and better to live in!
Together we can make things easier for people to take on greener alternatives, to encourage more people to adopt and the industry can continue to grow!