Environmental scientist turned teacher,
Mark is passionate about energy efficiency. After buying a rundown 1970's home, Mark put his passion into practice.
Mark is a secondary teacher with a background in environmental science (lucky kids!). He worked for
15 years in water allocation, and is now part way through a fast-track teacher training course while
working at a new secondary college in northern Melbourne. He is passionate about energy
efficiency, and when he and Jane moved to Research in 2015 with their three children and Jane’s
mother, he had the chance to put his ideas into practice. The house was a rundown 1970s build, so
they did a first renovation straight away, fixing the kitchen and hot-water service, draught-proofing
doors and windows. The big reno, a few years later, involved adding a second storey, which gave
them the opportunity to put in solar panels, high-quality insulation, double glazing, the lot.
Mark and Jane have opened their house to visitors on Sustainable House Days since 2019, and you
can see a video explainer at on the Sustainable House Day website here.
Reno 1: induction cooktop & heat-pump hot water
Replacing an ancient upright electric stove was a priority during the first renovation. Mark & Jane
found IKEA had a good brand of induction cooktop at a moderate price, and they are extremely
happy with it. Mark reels off the advantages: it doesn’t use gas, heats really quickly, has sensitive
controls, is easy to clean, and very safe (if something boils over it turns itself off). He’s a fan! His heat
pump hot-water service is equally user-friendly; it sits outside, uses very little power, and its 270-
litre capacity serves a family of six, no trouble.
As to the future, Mark and Jane don’t envisage getting an electric car any time soon. Their commuter
car is still going strong and they’re highly unlikely to replace the 4WD used for holidays, given the
price of EV equivalents. However, Mark is keeping an eye on developments in home batteries and
especially vehicle-to-grid technology.
Best next step for Nillumbik?
Mark’s greatest wish for Nillumbik, and indeed for Australia, is widespread retrofitting of buildings to
increase energy efficiency; ‘Our housing stock is appalling’, he says, and yet it could be improved
fairly readily. Introducing the 7-star requirement for new builds is a useful first step but we could do
so much better. What’s on your list?