Factors influencing sustainability outcomes of housing in subtropical Australia
Purpose: The challenges of providing housing that sustains its inhabitants socially, economically and environmentally, and is inherently sustainable for the planet as a whole, requires a holistic systems approach that considers the product, the supply chain and the market, as well as the inter-dependencies within and between each of these process points. The purpose of the research is to identify factors that impact the sustainability performance outcomes of residential dwellings and the diffusion of sustainable housing into the mainstream housing market.
Design/methodology/approach: This research represents a snapshot in time: a recording of the experiences of seven Australian families who are “early adopters” of leading edge sustainable homes within a specific sustainable urban development in subtropical Queensland. The research adopts a qualitative approach to compare the goals and expectations of these families with the actual sustainability aspects incorporated into their homes and lifestyles.
Findings: The results show that the “product” – a sustainable house – is difficult to define; that sustainability outcomes were strongly influenced by individual concerns and the contextual urban environment; and that economic comparisons with “standard” housing are challenging.
Research limitations/implications: This qualitative study is based on seven families (13 individuals) in an Ecovillage in southeast Queensland. Although the findings make a significant contribution to knowledge, they may not be generalisable to the wider population.
Originality/value: The experiences of these early adopter families suggest that the housing market and regulators play critical roles, through actions and language, in limiting or enhancing the diffusion of sustainable housing into the market.
Impact and interest:
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