The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream for an energy efficient home into a reality.


When looking for a site to build your new energy efficient home there are many things you have to consider and seemingly endless obstacles to manoeuvre around.

Ideally, the site should be located close to your work, the school, family, or anything else that is important for you. Unfortunately, the reality is often that living close to work is for most families not affordable. So you should at least look in areas that have a good connection to wherever your workplace is.

When selecting a site and thinking about your future home you should analyse your needs and lifestyle. And consider the current situation as well as the future.

What type of home do you need?
(single, double storey, room for parents etc; is a large garden required, lifestyle options and access to facilities)

Does the location suit your lifestyle and can it accommodate potential changes in the future? (family addition, retirement, old age, health and so on)

Is the site close to public transport, work, school, family members or other social activities?
(Proximity may reduce the need of a second car. It will reduce car trips, travel time and carbon footprint, consequently protecting the environment, and saving money)

Determine the true cost of the location.
(A site/ home in the outer suburbs may be cheaper, but will this compensate for the higher transport cost and the additional times spend on the road or on public transport?)

You also have to keep your budget in mind. In which areas can you afford to buy and build. Unfortunately, in most built-up areas, it is hard or almost impossible to buy vacant land. You have to buy a house and demolish it. Therefore you should look at houses that are really run down, as it would be too much of a shame to tear down a nice home. Having said this, when demolishing a home make sure to salvage and or sell whatever you can from the home. So that it does not end up being landfill.

We as a family have decided that we want our kids to go into the public German-English bilingual primary school in Bayswater. Luckily being German natives we don’t have to live in the actual school zone. But we still want to live close to the school. So that is where we have concentrated our search on.

In the next blog, I will write about what to look out for when house/site hunting.