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Opening up Sustainable Conversations with Strangers

open-house-articleYou’d think having a bunch of people you’ve never met before in your living room would be a disconcerting occurrence.  But the reality is, that when you’re with like-minded people, even strangers become friends very quickly.  Emma Sutcliffe describes her experiences opening her sustainable house to the public.

Last weekend my family and I opened our house for the Geelong Sustainability Group’s Open House Day.  When the first vehicle pulled into the driveway, I honestly thought it would be one of only a handful of visitors.

How wrong I was.  About 200 people turned up that day; young families, retirees, environmental studies students, a smattering of dyed-in-the-wool tree huggers and a small contingent of neighbourhood stickybeaks.

With the help of our solar installer to answer the sticky tech questions, my husband and I did laps of the property; PV array to inverter to battery bank to battery monitor to living areas and back again.  We answered the same questions over and over. And, in what initially seemed a bit of a weird thing to do, took people to visit the worm farm septic system so they could poke their heads into the hole next to the aeration pipe and announce that, no, you really can’t smell anything at all.Question number one is always ‘how much?’. Closely followed by ‘have you ever run out of power?’ or the occasional favourite ‘are you a hippy?’. ($60,000 with an $7500 rebate, no and – daggy red shirt notwithstanding – not really.)

Australia has the highest per-capita number of rooftop solar installations in the world. People are rapidly taking up the new technology and many are going totally off-grid. This trend is bound to increase as power companies continue to gouge the market with increasing prices.

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About Rex

I'm an ex-navy radio man who is passionate about energy independence. I look forward to the day when all our power needs come from renewable sources.

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