Nillumbik Shire Councillor Jane Ashton recently tried speed dating to find just the right match - environmental that is.
Inspired by Clean Energy Nillumbik's "Nillumbik Trail" at September’s Sustainable House Day, in which 6 local eco-friendly households opened their doors to the public, Jane and husband Howard joined 60 or so others at its October follow-up: a speed dating event with 22 sustainability experts at Edendale Community Environment Farm.
Two months later, the Ashton home was a hive of activity.
“We’d long talked about doing something for the environment beyond solar panels, but internet research was overwhelming,” Cr Ashton says.
“The Edendale gathering demystified and simplified things. There’s nothing like talking to people who’ve done it and those who did it for them.”
The Ashtons are already seeing - and feeling - the difference, with walls newly insulated and windows retro-fitted. Next stop the roof. Everything from air leakages to shower heads, dog doors to water tanks were appraised by experts and recommendations made, most of them adopted and cheaper than they expected.
“We were daunted by perceived costs before all this, but have been pleasantly surprised,” Cr Ashton says. “It’s a relatively small-term investment for long-term gain, both financial and ecological.”
Jane recommends that residents interested in such changes contact the independent body behind such initiatives: Clean Energy Nillumbik, whose sole purpose is to soften the Shire’s environmental footprint.
“I can’t sing their praises enough,” Cr Ashton says over the whir of tradies transforming her home. “I’m reminded of a phrase that resonated with me at university: ‘Act local. Think global. If everyone in Nillumbik, even 50 per cent, did a little bit, together we’d do a lot.”