His plan is simple enough: buy one giant, carbon-hungry McMansion on more than 800 square metres of land and carefully demolish the brick veneer home to rebuild four sustainable, affordable and architecturally designed townhouses for $450,000 each – less than half Sydney’s $1 million median house price…
Gallois’ dream is to create a company or strata-titled commune where like-minded “model citizens” embrace sustainable living rather than climbing the profit-centric property ladder…
The community-funded project has attracted sponsors and some of Australia’s best environmental architects – including Tone Wheeler, who designed the eco house on reality TV show Big Brother – which is why the price tag is so reasonable.
“We have raised half the money and we want one or two more families with like-minded values to register their interest,” Gallois said.
The price tag could be even cheaper if there was a family currently living in a McMansion who wanted to join the project and downsize into one of the eco-townhouses, which feature greywater treatment, a shared laundry and “features that save space and are good for the environment”.
Gallois is taking aim at several issues at once: the growing size of Australian homes, limiting the carbon footprint and energy use for single-family units, avoiding the “profit-centric property ladder,” and finding alternative funding to make this possible. It will likely take some time to do all of this; the third and fourth ones seem more difficult to me while the first two are already prompting a number of people in the United States and Australia to consider other options. The market for smaller homes may be growing as people consume differently and both retiring residents and younger people want some smaller options. Being more energy-efficient is more attractive with rising energy bills and it isn’t too hard to do some simple things in newer homes that could have positive long-term consequences. But, how do you get buyers to see their homes differently such as moving away from “the most bang for your buck” and having lots of extra space for things that owners might need? Or to find large enough funding sources to do this on a bigger scale when it may be more profitable to develop, build, and sell McMansions?
See an earlier June 2015 post on the project here.