Turn Your Lawn into a Productive Garden



With increasing urbanisation, landscaped areas are dwindling with more and more hardstand being added to the spreading concrete jungles. Walk down most inner Sydney suburbs and grassy patches are a rare sight.


All of this hardstand area only adds to the stormwater runoff generated during a storm, with efficient guttering and downpipes taking stormwater downstream where it enters receiving waterways, taking with it fine sediments and various types of nutrients and pollutants.


Prior to urbanisation, when water was treasured, stormwater runoff had the opportunity to infiltrate into the land, increasing soil fertility, accommodating plant grown and contributing to the wider ecosystem.


There is a way to reconnect this disconnected system between water and the land.


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by Leonid Bronfentrinker | SOURCEABLE

House Prices Fall in Most Capitals



Property prices have dipped across most of Australia’s capital cities, adding to speculation that the housing price boom is past its peak.


Latest auction result figures from property information group CoreLogic show the number of auctions, and the number of successful sales, increased in the week to May 14 compared with the previous week.


However the value of homes across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth fell by a collective 0.5 per cent for the week and 0.9 per cent for the month, with Brisbane the only capital city to record a rise in values.


"The strong auction results add some complexity to speculation that the housing market is moving through its peak rate of growth," CoreLogic said in a note.


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by Gordon Lane | SOURCEABLE

WELL Ratings the Next Big Evolution in Buildings



There’s no question buildings affect our health, and WELL ratings help to ensure they improve occupants’ well-being and boost productivity.


Around Australia, the solution many office workers use to combat ‘tiredness’ in the middle of the afternoon revolves around a latte from their favourite coffee shop.


Less common are thoughts about better access to daylight, better ventilation and better thermal comfort. More broadly, whilst considerable effort has gone into improving the performance of buildings from a sustainability perspective, less attention has been given to building design from a standpoint of human health.


Yet the importance of buildings in health outcomes cannot be underestimated. In cardiovascular health, for example, the elimination of environmental pollutants such as tobacco and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) helps to avoid damage to the heart and vessels. In the immune system, use of non-toxic chemicals limits the exposure to chemicals which weaken immune function whilst water and air-filtration systems limit exposure to bacterial and viral pathogens and allergies.


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by Andrew Heaton | SOURCEABLE

Australia Prepares to Pumped Hydro



Pumped hydro involves using surplus energy to pump water uphill to a storage reservoir. The water can then be released downhill to generate electricity on demand.


The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has told Malcolm Turnbull pumped hydro could be the key to unlocking "cost-effective large-scale energy storage that can stabilise high levels of renewable energy in the national electricity grid", such as in South Australia.


"Pumped hydro is the only mature, bankable technology that is readily available at scale," ARENA chief Ivor Frischknecht said.


"However, the lead times are long. Most PHES projects take between four to seven years to develop and construct with the majority of cost associated with civil engineering and construction."


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by Justin McGar | SOURCEABLE

Greenery is the 2017 Colour of the Year



“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.” – Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute


The Pantone Color Institute recently announced Greenery as the 2017 Colour of the Year. The Institute describes Greenery as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”


Over the past five years, we have seen an increasing proliferation of plants in our urban environment with communal vegetable and herb gardens becoming commonplace, foliage spilling from multi-story buildings and green walls surprising us in unexpected places. In interiors, we’ve seen the resurgence of indoor plants and green walls as features in the commercial interior landscape.


The more we become immersed in modern life and our high-tech world, it seems the more we crave contact with the natural world.


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by Judith Briggs | SOURCEABLE