OPENING up your home to complete strangers is enough to make anyone uneasy, but for Chris Ferreira it is all about walking the talk.
The garden guru has built a career out of promoting sustainable practices and says it is only fair he demonstrates how he lives by what he preaches.
On Sunday Ferreira will again open up his Hamilton Hill home, which he has transformed into an eco hub since purchasing it in 2010.
“I guess we always planned to make it a sustainable property, especially when the person we purchased it off had made such strong moves in that direction,” he said.
“But I’ve always wanted to walk the talk and given that I was teaching so much of the stuff it seemed logical to put it into practice.”
Since buying the home he has added double glazed doors and windows, re-painted the hot orange roof white, added solar panels, a rain water tank and grey-water system, and also planted vegetables and plants for shading and screening.
“The garden is the thing that is evolving the most and it’s wonderful to see it coming to life,” he said.
“We now get regular visits from black cockatoos and we have at least 10 species of birds as well as skinks.
“I think the other thing that’s evolving is our understanding and appreciation for how to make this house really click.”
While it might sound like a costly exercise to reach this point, Ferreira said there are ways to make big changes on a small budget.
He said cheap blinds and shade cloth can protect exposed windows from the intense summer heat, while draught snakes can help seal in heat during the winter.
“You can spend as little or as much money as you like,” he said.
“Simple things like shutting windows can cost literally nothing, or you can put in inexpensive systems like PVs with batteries – all of which can make a big difference,” he said.
“The short answer is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home sustainable.”
What: Chris’ Hami Hill Home Open – Come and learn the secrets of creating and retrofitting the home and garden to make it beautiful, productive and sustainable.
When: Sunday, October 23. 10am to 4pm.
Where: 11 Mortlock Street, Hamilton Hill.
Cost: $10 per person for entry and tour. Part proceeds to Winterfold Primary School P&C.
Registrations are essential: www.theforeverproject.com.au.