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Journal article

Smart housing and social sustainability: learning from the residents of Queensland's research house

27 May 2005

One fifth of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia are generated by the everyday activities of households (Commonwealth of Australia 2005a). Higher consumer awareness of the impact of housing on the environment (Commonwealth of Australia 2003, 2005b) and of sustainable housing alternatives (The State of Queensland 2005a) is essential. One of the drawbacks to mainstreaming ecologically sustainable housing designs is consumer resistance, based on perceptions of eco- or green- housing as being less aesthetically pleasing, and less economically attractive for resale than traditional housing (Minnery et al. 2003). This paper reports findings from a small social study about the experiences of a family who lived in ‘Research House’, Australia, for a two year period monitoring product performance and household economies in a sustainable house. Residents reported satisfaction and improved feelings of safety when living in the spacious, airy and secure home, providing feedback to enable product improvement and assist consumer decision-making about sustainable housing.

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