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Sustainable Design 101: The basics of building materials

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Event description

In this online session we'll explore the benefits of using sustainable building materials, and outline some key choices to make.

This is event is part of Renew's Sustainable Design 101 series, where we are going back to basics. You can buy tickets to the whole series here.

Join Renew for an introductory session getting back to the basics of building materials. Learn about durability, health implications, recycling potential and breathability of various materials with our panel of industry experts. We will also examine the carbon cost of building, and explore considerations when it comes to raw material extraction, processing, transportation, and disposal. Our panelists will also touch on you can reduce embedded carbon.

Sanctuary Magazine editor Anna Cumming will be hosting the event. Please bring along your questions and comments for the Q&A section of the event.


Elizabeth Wheeler

Elizabeth Wheeler designs and advises on residential dwellings, materials and products that don’t cost the earth. She has a particular interest in small-scale renovation projects that transform both thermal performance and occupants’ quality of life. Elizabeth’s work is informed by her qualification in Building Design, Bachelor of Arts and three decades of environmental and progressive social justice activism.

Jane Caught

Having commenced her architectural studies at University of Melbourne and completing her degree at RMIT as part of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), Jane co-founded the collaborative and highly awarded architecture practice Sibling in 2012, maintaining a strong culture of research and alternative/self initiated practice, and working across a wide range of scales.

Jane is now developing her own independent, regenerative practice – Heliotope – dedicated to architectural and spatial outcomes that operate within the finite resources of planetary boundaries; and a renewed interest in the specificities of place. Her research, collaborations and tectonic studies contribute to the development of low carbon, climate-adaptive projects; with a focus on construction industry waste streams and local production economies and ecosystems. Her current focus ranges from smaller scale residential projects right up to larger scale projects that allow for a precinct scale approach to building.

David Rochford

David is the Assistant Manager of the NatHERS Operations Team at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. He has extensive experience in energy efficiency regulations and test standards, for space and water heating/cooling appliances, in both residential and commercial use. David’s background is in Applied Science, and prior to embarking on a career in the Australian Public Service, David worked as a Park Ranger, wildlife researcher, community education ranger and primary school teacher.

Grady Peterson

Grady Peterson has taken a lead role in the implementation of the 7-star homes program at Sustainability Victoria which works with residential builders to increase industry capacity and capability for delivering energy-efficient homes. Trained in architecture and energy efficient and sustainable building he has a passion for sustainable construction techniques and materials and has experience living in alternate and off grid dwelling.


  • This is event is part of Renew's Sustainable Design 101 series. You can buy tickets to the series here, or an annual pass to all extended Sustainable House Day events here.
  • There are a number of free tickets to the event for those experiencing financial hardship.
  • Renew depends on the generosity of our community to continue its valuable work. We would welcome your donation here: or via the additional donation option when choosing your ticket.

Image credit: Daniel Fuge, from

This event is supported by NatHERS, Design for Place, Your Home, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Light House Architecture & Science, and Sonnen.

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