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Proprietor, Darryn Parkinson, your abode design+development

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How does someone begin the design process? Sketching? Visualisations? Crayons on walls? Not according to Darryn Parkinson. He starts his design process by thinking about sustainability. Check it out here.

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Darryn Parkinson

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20 years experience in design and construction and a long standing interest in sustainability.

Started your abode in 2006 with the aim to design and build the best eco friendly and sustainable houses and renovations in Sydney.

Sustainability is at the core of all of our work. We are constantly striving for the best environmental solution at all stages of a project.

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Sustainability is at the core of everything you do, so every decision through that process we make is based on - is that the most sustainable choice? - and that obviously needs to be balanced against budget and clients expectations and costs, so there is a mix there.  But first and foremost every decision we will go in and determine what is the most sustainable solution for that.

From a design perspective, it's very much focused on orientating houses so that you get good northern aspect and cross ventilation, good shading. The ultimate aim is to have a non air conditioned, non heating house.

The construction side becomes much more nuts and bolts, so it's very much more about choices that are made when you actually use products. For example by choosing timbers for a product then we will always focus on either a recycled product or a sustainably forested product.

Like a lot of the glues have a massive amount of formaldehyde - board products and bamboo particularly. There are a lot of bamboos that are really high in formaldehyde, there is only one product we have found that has a water based, no formaldehyde adhesive, the rest of them have massive formaldehyde adhesives.

So to me it doesn't make a lot of sense to be choosing those products, ultimately I see it as greater benefit if you chose a recycled Australian hardwood, over importing a product that comes all the way from China.

Reducing the amount of waste generated in any of the trades is important, reduces the amount of landfill that we create, also keeps the costs down, they don't have to buy product that they throw away.

Look for a low toxic choice for a product, so either low toxic, low emission paint if you're a painter, consider that. The benefits you can sell onto your clients is the clients can move straight into a house.

Understand the benefits of green, so actually get an understanding of what sustainability is, so that you can then look to introduce it into your business in a way that you feel is appropriate. Look to up sell that to a client, so once you actually inform yourself, actually go out and tell people that this is what you do.  So actually sell it as a proud, value plus, all the new business for you, actually sell it as something that you want to tell people about.

And just look for low impact options so in all stages of your business, look and see is there another way I can do this, that has a lower impact, is there another product I could use that would have a lower impact for negative cost. Don't just do it the same way that it's always been done. There is always another way to skin a cat, you have just got to find out if you can skin it a better way.

We want to position ourselves as being the designer and builder of choice for anybody who wants a sustainable house, that's our target that we are setting ourselves up for 5 years.

All subcontractors and people involved in the building industry need to be focusing on that way. And we're not after market dominance, I want more people to do it because again from an emotive point of view, the way we do things now is wrong.


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