Episode 18: Finding purpose in business
Today we are talking with Marnie Hawson from Marnie Hawson Photography. In a previous life, she was an environmental scientist with a keen interest in birds. These days, you can find Marnie creating beauty from behind the camera lens, photographing impactful, beautiful, and high-performance homes. All in a quest to contribute to a better world. Marnie is committed to working only with clients who are serious about sustainability, which allows her to align with people who are aware of the social impacts of what they do and are actively making a change. She is B-Corp certified, her practice is carbon neutral, and she is a member of 1% For The Planet. She joins us today to discuss how she found her purpose and provide words of wisdom on how you can find yours too.
If you are interested in how you can build better homes, head over to the OUTLIER Hybrid Home Course page to check out our in-depth course. It contains exclusive video content, 3D construction details, design advice, and a members-only Facebook group!
Hello, and welcome to the outlier Podcast, the podcast for everyone who is interested in building better homes. My name is Evangelia, and I’m hosting this podcast with Anthony, founder of outlier who is passionate about creating beautiful and high performing homes. Together we sit down once a month to chat with industry experts to help educate Australians about the potential of creating healthy, comfortable and energy efficient homes. We hope you join us on this journey. Today we are talking with Marnie Hawson from Marnie Hawson Photography. In a previous life, she was an environmental scientist with a keen interest in birds. These days, you can find Marnie creating beauty from behind the camera lens, photographing impactful beautiful and high performance homes. All in a quest to contribute to a better world. Marnie is committed to working only with clients who are serious about sustainability, which allows her to align with people who are aware of the social impacts of what they do, and are actively making a change. She is B Corp certified, her practice is carbon neutral, and she is a member of 1% for the planet. She joins us today to discuss how she found her purpose and provide words of wisdom on how you can find yours too. Hi, Marnie, thank you for coming and chatting with us today. It’s good to see you. Good to meet you finally in person. So did you want to start off today by telling us a little bit about who you are, and exactly what it is that you do?
Thanks for having me. My name is Marni Hawson. I’m in business to bring back nature. And it just also happens that I’m a photographer.
That’s pretty good.
So to explain that a bit, I read the Simon Sinek books start your why and find your why the start of this year. Have you heard of them?
I have not, no. But, do expand
So I suppose I started my career as an environmental scientist. Fun fact. I have a Honours Degree in sexually transmitted diseases in birds. Which I’ve never used professionally.
Yeah. I didn’t even know that was a thing so there you go.
Lyrebird Birds with chlamydia.
I have heard about that with koalas, But a different
Yeah, yeah. Lyrebirds at that point. But anyway, so environmental science for 10 years. But when I became a photographer, I found it really hard to pigeonhole myself as just a photographer, I suppose. So when I read these books by Simon, I realized that my why was a lot broader. It was about making more of a difference in issues like conservation, climate change, biodiversity, and things like that. So I’ve always had a big passion for the business side of things. Yeah. I’ve always liked helping others grow their business, and creating impact through my business and personal life. So once I read Simon’s books, I kind of realized that it was a much bigger thing. And I didn’t have to pigeonhole myself as just that. So it was also about enacting change in other businesses by showing them how you can run a business, a for profit business, but also by creating impact. So it made a lot more sense to kind of broaden my whole why to rather than just saying, I’m a photographer, and people just put you in this thing. You know, usually, once people found out my background of environmental science that kind of made them. They have more questions about that. Yeah, then photography. So I decided to kind of change how I looked at things. And then everything made a bit more sense about why I love the business side, why I tried to create impact, just like a much more holistic, absolute reason of doing things. And I think that also explained, in retrospect, why wanted to certify as a B Corp.
Well, that’s a whole other topic discussion right there. But that makes, I understand why you have that that holistic approach. Now, I didn’t realize that that was something you actively sought to do was look beyond just, you know, photography, and what you do in your day to day, but then like to include that as you know, into business and to help others in business to be able to do that. Like that’s honestly genius.
Well, it made sense. And I didn’t, I didn’t really realize that until I read these books, the kind of made you look back at your whole purpose and what you existed for what was important to and then I realized that, you know, you have these common themes coming up, and then I went, Well, that makes more sense in how I can explain myself. Rather than just being you know, you’re this, you’re this narrow field of things, so.
A lot of people go through their entire lives and still don’t discover their purposes. That’s yeah, it’s another topic in itself as well.
But yeah, saying that there’s, you know, I don’t think I’ve figured out the purpose in career life, everything. There’s actually many days where If I run into my husband in the kitchen on a work day or something, we both work from home. And I’m just like, what’s the point? What’s the purpose? What are we doing this for? So I don’t have the answers, I still feel, you know, I’m not doing enough how to create more impact. So it’s a constant battle. I’m sure it’ll never go to war. And,
you know, that’s, that’s, I think that’s the case for everyone. And I’m sure there’s the thing that I think will be interesting for a lot of listeners is the relatability here, so that they may have a past, the reason they’re listening to this right now is because they they clearly have an interest or a passion and what we’re talking about, and what makes you unique for you is I guess you had a complete nonsense career change, but you change trajectory entirely. And I think the question probably asked is more, you know, you look back on that fondly. And making that decision, regardless of what the you know, where you’re heading and what that purpose is, ultimately,
from environmental science, photography, so I suppose almost had to wear then I went into photography, and then decided to kind of completely pivot and niche down what I did as well. So there’s almost it’s almost two in there, but I don’t think I could ever go back and work for someone else. I think. I think working for yourself has made me unemployable.
Yeah, I’m putting my hand up for those that can’t see.
Yeah. And I think a lot of small businesses feel that way. But yeah, I suppose I could, I could talk a little bit about what a certified B Corp is, because I always get asked that question. And a certified B Corp is a business that meets high standards of environmental and social performance, countability, and transparency. So your business is assessed in five areas. This is like the Passive House principles where sometimes I’m put on the spot. Now, don’t get me wrong, but it’s environment, community governance, customers and workers. And I don’t have any workers, I always wondered how it would go being a sole trader providing a service doing a B Corp, but it is possible. So if you don’t have workers, those points are just assigned amongst the other four areas. But B corpse seek to use their business as a force for good. And they measure success generally by the positive impact that you’re creating. So it’s not about the short wins and profit. It’s about the long term investments and making a difference bringing benefit to communities, environment, people, but it’s always still for profit businesses. So just because you’re making a profit doesn’t mean you can’t also make a difference in other areas as well.
Yeah. glad you clarified that. Yeah. Important to mention as well. Yeah. Yeah, I, I feel as though some of the businesses when I first started out some of the businesses I looked up to, I kept seeing the B Corp certified logo. And I was like, What is this, you know, when when I dived into it, I was like, This is amazing. Like, this is something that allows you to yeah, as you say, heavy business, operate the business, but not just be profit driven. But consider all these other things and contribute back as well. It’s certainly admittedly something that I feel like I have been working towards for a couple of years now. I know it probably took you some time as well, it’s not something you can just fill an application form, and then they’ll hand over the certification, they do scrutinize that and make sure that you’re genuine.
Yeah, it is a process. I did it at the start of 2021. I’d been talking about doing it for a while. And I think I’d looked at it and just felt a bit overwhelmed. So I thought the only way I’m going to actually succeed is to block out my calendar. Yeah. So I decided that for the first week of every month, I wouldn’t take on any shoots, and I would work on it and get it done. And I think a good tip is employing a B Corp consultant, because when I first looked at it, no one was doing that in Australia. And I’d found someone in Canada, I think, and I was about to engage them to help me and then realize that there’s a whole suite of them in Australia that you can use. So that was really good just to get you on track and make sure you’re answering the right questions, things like that.
That’s pretty solid advice. Because yeah, just in knowing the application myself, there is so many ones were like, Ah, I don’t know how to respond to this. And just having someone there to assist I’m sure just gave you like, confidence. Just yeah, make sure we’re doing it. Right. Yeah. So ultimately, how long was that duration again, like over?
Well, I started in January, I think I submitted in April, but without completing it. So there was such a queue that they said, get it in, which kind of freaked me out because I’m such a perfectionist. I was like, What do you mean? Like, you know, what if what if they could before it’s finished, but there was a six month wait, I think at that point, a lot of businesses were doing it especially in the pandemic started to look at making an impact and a lot of people were doing the assessment so there was there was a big wait so I think in November they eventually looked at it and ticked it off. So yeah, yeah was a big wait in the queue?
I guess I do want to ask because you have done so much in that time. That, you know, for I guess I do, I’m talking to those who are listening right now that essentially have maybe thinking about, you know, jumping over the fence coming into work on, you know, high performance homes or Passivhaus homes or just generally doing better when it comes to construction and livability in Australian homes, and who were maybe yet non industry later, but looking for that sort of push, I guess, to come across? And what would you give advice to anyone who I guess the reason for that, just to clarify is for purpose, like you have this passion, or you have this interest in this side of things, and you want to get into that. So what is that sort of advice you would give to anyone who’s listening that, you know, to find the follow their purpose? Or it could just be in general? I should, I suppose, as well
find that purpose? Well, I mean, a lot of people are looking for that. I’d say you can always read those read the Simon Sinek books. Yeah, firstly, that’s a good point. Because that clarified a little bit for me. And then I think if you have a business, if you can make change, look at your business to how you can make change within that business. Because you can run through that B Corp assessment without actually certifying to that gives you ideas. I think that’s a really useful tool that people can do, you can kind of I think they say you can do it in a couple of hours, if you kind of just smash it out. Answer all the questions without, you know, filling in all the the documentation and that kind of thing. But that also gives ideas about where you can make change in your business. Like are you measuring your outputs on the environment in terms of waste and carbon assessments? I also you don’t have to certify as carbon neutral, but I do each year. So that’s something a practice can do pretty easily. Yeah. Okay. Giving back is another one doing pro bono.
Yeah, we’ve seen you’ve recently done that as well. With the Australian Passivhaus Association. Is that right?
Well, I had a, after doing my B Corp, I had to put a pro bono program in place, maybe for about a year where every three or four times a year, I would open it up and take applications. But I actually just scrapped that at the end of last year, because funnily enough, it was really hard to get people organized. So like the last person that or nonprofit, that that one was a successful applicant. They eventually said, Look, we just can’t rally people get organized to kind of do this shoot. So I don’t know, I just noticed a few things like that. So I thought, I’ll get rid of the program. And I will target where I want to get my time, you know, to aligned nonprofits like done renew and strain Passivhaus Association, climate Council, Australian environment, grantmakers Association and biodiversity legacy, so kind of climate change building and conservation spaces. So that’s, I think, how we’ll do it going forward.
Yep. That seems like that’s going to have a far better result. So that’s great.
Yep. But after the B Corp, I think the other big thing that you can do to make a difference in any business is money. And I’m so passionate about how people use their money, I’ve been banging on about it for years. At the moment, I’m actually creating a digital course, on how people can make a bigger impact with their money. So I’ve always said if every business and individual thought about where their money was being used, and you took all your money out of banks and super, that are investing in fossil fuels, and you put it in clean banking, ethical super, like imagine that difference that it would make. And the same goes for suppliers where you’re spending your money. There’s pretty much always an ethical alternative. But humans are lazy, we always do we do what we do. And we take the easy way. Yeah. So that’s why I’m creating a course for small business owners in Australia to move their money where it matters, to ensure well, to give them a simple step by step process, that they can ensure that their banking super, and suppliers are being moved to where it matters, and are aligned with their values. And then they can also show the next generation that they’re invested in their future. So say your kids are saying what are you doing about climate change? You’d be like, Why just divested all this money from the fossil fuel industry? I think that’s a really powerful, easy way that anyone any business any individual can do straightaway.
That’s yeah. Wow. My first thoughts I like when do you sleep?
But I don’t have kids. Yeah.
Well, yeah, we might actually at the end It’s in the shownotes just get all of the information to link people to that course when it goes live and you know, be able to share that across because that sounds like a really amazing thing to assist. And if not just a precursor to even something to be callable, whatever it be, just to get that mindset. So cool thing about that, I imagine as you can probably digest that while you know, laying in bed at night with a tablet on and the captions on. And just Yeah, take it piece by piece. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s gonna be like, what, what’s the format going to be,
it’ll just be a very simple step by step, you know, you can tick them off as you go to get results really quickly. Like, potentially, you know, an hour or two per module, which is kind of banking, super, and spending are the main ones. But I always thought, Oh, I think last year, I want to do a digital course. And it was I just had no, the idea didn’t really hit me. And then this year, I just thought I’m, I’m like you the biggest nerd when it comes to organization. And I it’s notion use clicker, clicker. And I’m just very, you know, process driven. And I thought there actually is benefit in how I think and just setting it out. So simply to get it done. Because I don’t know, that’s the stuff I love. But most creatives and small businesses hate it. I love the admin. I love it.
I think most people would just about pay you a template for your notion template. And, you know, I can vouch for an online digital course too, as we’re just about to launch ours in about a week’s time. And I know what goes into that. So it’s been an 18 month labor of love for sure. And pretty excited for that one to get out there to the people,
what’s your topic, generally,
it’s essentially bridging the gap. So a lot of the inquiries we get for consultation are just basically like someone with a bit of knowledge and expertise to bridge the gap between designer and a builder, usually client driven. So you know, they, the client wants this outcome, but the designer or builder don’t have experience, and they want to be able to sort of que you know, this is what I want, but they don’t know how to get there. And we sort of come in and go, Hey, this is this is how you can achieve that. Here’s the details, literally the construction details on how to achieve that. And here’s like, you know, a reason why. So that’s just sort of video recordings of myself and Sandra. And yeah, that’s that’s kind of it. So hopefully saying, yeah, there’s been a, surprisingly a bit of interest as well, from designers and builders in industry who just want to upskill too interested to know, maybe because I’ve had a client come to them say, hey, we want to do this and like, What the hell is that? How do we do that? And that, you know, they can just jump the gun and get there as well by doing it. So,
yeah, well, I’ve had a few clients who have said that about architects and builders that they haven’t done heaps of high performing homes, and there is a bit of a gap. See that? Yeah.
There is. We Yeah, we have another chat coming up soon with someone in that space. Who does that in the US. So it’d be interesting to see Yeah, how they’ve approached it. They’ve been doing it for a few years now, too. So hey, thanks for taking the time to come and have a look at the hybrid home course, it’s been produced by outline studio, and we’ve been working on it for the last eight months. But we cover all the topics that you’re going to need to be able to upskill and learn a little bit more about how you can have a higher performing home, we look at energy efficient housing design in general orientation, air tightness, insulation, ventilation, thermal bridging glazing, and we do touch on costs a little bit too. Although disclaimer, it’s only at the current time of recording that we’ve been able to put those forward. You’ll find everything from as built verifications, in which we have our own services and advice, helpful handouts that touch on all of the topics that we discussed that you can see on the left hand side here in the video, we consider things in detail like how we go about recording our heart for shading, we also do some demonstrations on how to achieve better results in matters assessment, you’ll see what looks like when we do our inspections and see the thermal bridging occurring. And you can also have a look at a previous presentation from builders declare that we did we look at the importance of ventilated cavities and the right reps and moisture control as well as the ventilation systems. thermal bridging is a big one that we touch on and a step by step process of how to install a window. On top of that you’ve got all these fantastic construction details you can use for projects yourselves and in your documentation. We look at the best practices highperformance and even airtight construction as well and these details so please take the opportunity now to purchase the course you will not regret. So this is something I’ve been itching to now ask about a bit more because I’m a massive architecture fan as is and you have had access to some of the most amazing design homes in this country. And I want to know if you have one or many memorable visits to take to fursuits at all that you might want to share with us at all it’s or a favorite or or anything?
I think I’m shooting one next Tuesday. In all seriousness, I’m very pumped to document outlines first hybrid home next week.
Yes. That’s now I guess, out there. That’s good. We are, yeah, we’re Mighty is coming to ya to take photos of our first ever completed hybrid home, which is really cool. And there’s actually some pretty big news to announce. I suppose once they go public as well, which I’ll keep everyone posted, we’re waiting on some verification of the latest results from the energy assessments. And you know, I have a PP phpp underway. And we actually have a silly, silly amount of sensors throughout the entire home as well, which we’re looking to share all that data with everyone give a bit of a comparisons of how it’s performing. So not to amazing not to take the limelight away from the amazing photos, but ya
know, performance is everything. Totally. I’m gonna disappoint you, though not really name any names, but I think I am pretty excited about shooting so many more passive houses. For instance, 2021 I shot one, which was down at the Cape. Last year, I shot two. And then by the end of this year, currently, it’ll be around 12. Wow. So that kind of shows how it’s growing in the space. And they’re, you know, either pending certification, they’re not high performance that passive. Yeah, they don’t have the plaque on the wall. Yeah. So I am very excited that that’s kind of showing that there’s a change happening. It’s not solving everything that’s not solving the housing crisis, or, you know, that everyone can afford these, but it’s showing that there is a model that is out there that already exists that people can look to things happening. Yeah.
Man, you must have had so many conversations in on this. And is there anything in general that people have shared with you as to why they went for certification? on their on their homes?
Um, I don’t, not specifically. I mean, some of it could also be the architect and builder, you want to get it over the line to kind of show that it meets performance. We’ve got to know I think people just want to live in a really comfortable, high performing house and Passive House is that it’s the only way that you can verify it. I think that’s where my environmental scientist or scientists mind comes back to it is that once you know about it, that’s the only measurable building and it just makes so much sense. Yeah. Is it only five to 10% kind of uplift from building a standard? Non? Yeah. I mean, we don’t want to talk numbers.
No, I’m quite happy to flee. Yeah.
I heard that at the Passivhaus conference.
Yeah, I know. And you probably heard a few echoes throughout the builders wing, the Passivhaus conference, like I did better. No, it’s really climate dependent, in my experience, so you know, if you’re in a really cool climate, that number could be up to 15% compared to a six star energy rated home. But if you move you know, further to North Sydney or further north that, you know, you’re starting to then look at more what would be there anyway, as far as you know, 90 mil stud wall or double glazed as opposed to triple glazed windows for those get those performance fees in line so yeah, that would be a maybe come closer to 5% So I know that is one of the things that maybe gets left out a little bit when someone stands up you know at a conference and says hey, it was only 5% higher on our construction bill hang on a sec. Where was that climate where you locate it? Yeah, sometimes admitted. So yeah, I don’t think there is an actual real answer that you can just you know, it applies to everyone applies to everyone it just varies wherever you go. And you know as we’ve started branching out a bit more now to into more regional like I’m when I’m in regional mean like five hours drive from anywhere projects, materials are way higher. So that ratio compared to the one that we had in our Melbourne project is way higher as well for that reason. So it’s just like totally different depending on your location climate.
Yeah. Makes make sense. Yeah,
I think that’s amazing.
I think also I’m I’m very passionate about getting these buildings high performing or passive in front of the general public, which is why I kind of pitch all my clients work to even the more editorial magazines like House and Garden home beautiful inside out even country styles few passive houses in there because a lot of architects and builders want their work to be seen in green and Sanctuary but you kind of already preaching to the converted. Yeah, and that is nice to be in there. But I really like seeing getting these houses in front of people that might have never heard of a passive house or not know what a high performance houses and they, you know, you get these magazines still generally have six to eight page pages in there. So you just they’d be looking at it with these, you know, beautiful photos story about the family, and then they read it and it’s just talks about all these benefits. Yeah, and then that might make them think, oh my god, that makes so much sense. I could do that, you know, there’s no reason why it can’t be beautiful and high performing. I love that as well. But it might just spark some thought in people that might not know about it. So I think that’s really valuable. Yeah.
Okay, that actually leads on to one of the next questions my which is, what are your thoughts on that the urban theory that in order to have a high functioning home, you have to sacrifice something in terms of it’s a statics or its beauty.
So untrue. And I don’t know if I have to be more tactful here. But like, every time I get sent, the honest Reiki photos before a shoot of white plaster walls, just a bit of my soul dies over and over. And I’m surprised I’m still alive, because so many of those little parts, you know, there’s so there’s so many. And I’m like, I know, it’s not the architect, lets you know you’re working with the client. And sometimes the interiors is important, or you might put more of the money into other things. But I think that was part of what people thought, you know, a sustainable house was, yeah, it looked a certain way. And the interiors were bleak. And I don’t know, I think that’s what’s in a lot of people’s heads. But it can be anything, because I remember at the Passivhaus conference, we heard a figure that only 25%. You know, roughly, of the cost of a total build is related to performance building performance. So I imagine that that’s what wrap inch insulation, windows doors. Feel like I’m missing a vital
Well, yeah, there’s the air tightness factor comes into Yeah, you know, that you wrap that kind of thing. So that leaves ventilation if you’re going for air tightness, yes.
HRV. That was my other main one. So that leaves 75% for things like walls, floors, kitchens, bathrooms. I mean, I’m not the expert here, kind of making this up. But you know, so that can be anything doesn’t have to be white plaster. Not at all. And I would love it when it’s not just get on like a timber field cabinet or something, you know? Yeah, those things shoot a lot better. From my perspective as well. It’s a lot more warmth, I think, gesture.
Oh, got it. You spent all your time and insight whether you want to admit that or not. It’s yeah, the data doesn’t lie. And the that’s probably one of the things I think we talk about in our office a lot is like interiors are the most under utilized or under appreciated thing and design.
Makes you feel good sitting in a space. You’re not going to, you know, yes, you need a great roof. But you’re not going to be I don’t know, feeling that every time you sitting down to have coffee and looking out your window. It’s what is inside that makes it feel so good. And that gets left behind.
So remember the first time we walked into an airtight, well insulated home, the feeling was warm. For me, it’s calmness. Yeah, it’s just this calmness. And I get I think you can get that from interiors as well, from finishes and things. Like there’s something there’s a lot to be said for that. As soon as I attach a motion to anything, it just means so much more just amplifies everything. And yeah, that’s I think why why it’s so important to Yeah, to keep check on that, too. Yeah. And when you were talking about the that I just immediately thought of the block. Like the first, you know, things that people share of a certified Passive House images. It’s like this white block. That’s your house, you know, there’s no soul. Yeah. But it doesn’t have to be at all
like, No, I think the more you show of high performing houses that have nice interiors, the more people realize that you can do whatever you want with them. But that’s why it’s so important to have someone on board, I think, to do the interiors.
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we pretty much what 95% of our projects have an interior designer, or we have an in house interior designer harvest. But yeah, if we don’t we also have an independent or, you know, someone working with us in an interior design role, regardless, for that reason, amazing. Put a high value on everyone listening, interior design,
yes. And that’s also why I made a decision a year or so ago not to shoot without a stylist. Because that then comes down to furniture, I suppose like you can make a beautiful interior, but you can’t control the taste of your clients furniture. So a stylist just does such a valuable job of coming in on the day and moving things around for the actual
photo. So you were initially doing that all on your own. Were you? Yes. Okay.
And I mean, some places were finished more than others. So when I used to shoot more editorial or for magazines and things you might walk in and have to do a lot less. But a homeowner that’s essentially doing a favor for the architect letting them come into their house and shoot. What have kids, you know, that’s normal life. Yeah. So you can’t expect every thing to be looking like a magazine. So a lot of it’s just about decluttering. You know, making it a bit more minimal and then bringing back in things that the homeowner has, for that particular shot. botanicals, you can make anything look good with a giant Ottoman branch have something. Yeah, that’s that makes it feel again, that’s like a texture thing. And I find a lot of people don’t have enough. You know, like sheer curtains, I think we talked about rugs. It’s almost like soft furnishings finish off a space.
Yeah. You know, when you told me that I went straight to the clients, like as soon as you we sort of parted ways and said our goodbyes went straight to the clients and went, Hey, when are you getting those shares? She’s like, Yeah, Adam, what order by the end of the week? They got them in eight weeks later, we might miss this one. We might have to have myself holding some out of shot
from the office. Yeah.
Well, I know we’ve just touched on, you know, your thoughts around whether something, you know, sustainable, can’t look pleasing to the eye. But do you think that sustainable architecture changed the way that we think about our homes? In your opinion?
Yes, I think we’re all beginning to realize how terribly Our houses are built here in Australia, and that we’re all living in the proverbial tent. And I just think now people are thinking maybe that shouldn’t be the norm. Whereas most of us grew up until I, you know, started doing this a few years ago, I would have been the same you just thought it was the norm. And, you know, you’ve your friends, your family, anyone’s house you went to it was all the same freezing condensation on the windows, that kind of thing. And I think there’s a reason that so many people I meet in the Passivhaus space come from Europe. Yeah, there’s so many see the owners or people in the industry, and they must just come here and think, what are we doing when they’re doing things so well, overseas compared to here? So I think we’re starting to think about how we can build better with soaring energy bills and the climate crisis. But I also think that we need to start framing it to people in a different way, than about the climate crisis, for instance, instead talking about health, and I think that will resonate much more with a lot of people. I think I read a stat is that 9% of kids in Australia have asthma. I think it was that high. And a lot of that probably comes from the homes we’re living in. So if you told parents, you know, do you want to live in a house where nobody has asthma, and there’s no respiratory issues, snow mold, it’s quiet. Also, that there’s no pests or anything. I can vouch for that. At the moment, in a little mouse crisis, we have you know, 1890s with a board cottage that we’re currently living in, there’s a lot of holes, I was crawling around on the floor a couple of weeks ago with steel wool, and clove centered cotton buds, trying to block up holes that I didn’t even know we had in the old part of our house, a blower door to your
home yet know you’re coming down. Although
slightly terrifying. But oh, that’s useful
for road protection. Yeah.
I need it. We need a cat a dog to slip through all of these mice coming in. So I think who’s gonna say no to that when you frame it? No way that’s healthy. That also works towards solving climate crisis. And energy bills. You don’t if 90% less heating and cooling than an average house.
Yeah, the list goes on. Right? The benefits are stacked like stat.
And they’re just the health issues that we’re aware of. There’s probably a slew of others that we don’t know. I mean, I think about the same thing at my place with I’ve got, there’s five of us three children, two adults, and I think about this every winter when we’ve got the fireplace going and we’re ingesting at night, leaving in the fires roaring, so yeah, it’s real. Yeah.
Do you remember the stats on the guy that we’re gonna keep? This is like the summary of the Passivhaus conference. So everyone, but they talked about New Zealand was is this right in my memory here of being the second highest rate of asthma per capita in the world? Quite
possibly. I just remember the story. And I can’t remember his name. Apologies, an architect who built a little Passive House, he had three kids, two of them had kind of chronic asthma and wouldn’t get better after you know, the childcare bugs and that kind of thing, built his little Passive House, instantly. Those kids, all those issues went away and then they had a third child who was born in that house and that child never had any of those issues ever.
We have such a long list in some of our guests who have been on this podcast as well as she had similar stories of just being come Lately, just the fam our entire family ill sick without understanding why sick house syndrome. Yeah. And it was generally due to mold. And it wasn’t until they sort of moved on from that home or somebody had left, we had someone recently talking to me how they were basically in a room with their two children in a single room in his home because it was so mold affected, they couldn’t live in the bedrooms, and they’ve got out and they’re all better. And yeah, that’s a story that I know Jess has shared from adapt design, and others as well on the podcast about their own experiences, lived experiences of maybe not understanding entirely what was causing it, or just kind of, you know, brushing it off, but not. And then once they realized that it was actually the house, yeah, it was making them sick. And back in New Zealand, the reason they’ve had issues there is due to the mold crisis, they insulated and went airtight without dealing with ventilation. And most of the homes that have been impacted by this have got serious mold issues, and the occupants, therefore are quite ill. They’re on to it now. But you know, we have an opportunity here to, I guess, kind of try to divert as much as we can around that same issue here. So yeah, that’s we continue on on this,
I’ll be interested to see Anthony’s bringing in a air quality monitor. And because we’ve done that we’ve we’re living in his old cottage been there for 12 years that we’ve run it on wood heaters is all it had. And we have an old arguer that runs on gas. And because we not planning to be there for much longer, and build a little Passive House, I always thought I don’t need to do anything about this next house will be amazing. And now I’m kind of thinking, well, I’ve got a bit of a responsibility to do something for the future owners whether to electrify everything.
Custodian over her.
Yeah. Which makes me think you always should do all of these things. As soon as you move in, not when you’re not at the airport to depart. Yeah.
It’s a really tricky one. Because yeah, you will, I’m certain that and I shared this with you off, off recording or not recording as well, that I’m in the same position where I don’t you know, when do you make these decisions? And it’s tricky. Yeah. It was a lot of people listening as well who relate with that?
Yep. You need a lifecycle analysis almost on hot water heater? Is it better to let it die? And then replace it? Or is it better to get off gas now? Yeah, I don’t know the answer.
Yeah, no, this is for someone who’s more of an expert in this field. Hopefully, we get someone like that on podcast, if you’re listening, reach out.
I came money, can you please tell us a little bit more about what you’re excited about, at the moment,
have to say is my husband and I’s quest for finding and protecting land for biodiversity and conservation, leaving it for future generations to steward and also building a little Passive House on which leads on from that, but I guess, this is an idea that we’ve been working on for a little while, that’s almost be the culmination of your lifetime impact almost how to do things a bit differently. Like I said, we don’t have children. So what do we do with anything that’s leftover. And if you live your whole life, trying to create impact, I didn’t, then want to just leave it, you know, anything that you’ve got leftover to, I don’t want to say to my siblings probably won’t listen to it. But you know, siblings, they don’t really, they don’t need any money. That’s not really going to change anything. So I guess this probably comes back as well. It’s like full circle to my, my university degree and my first career, you know, as an embargo scientist, and then studying zoology, is this idea of finding some land with high conservation values, like a pretty big chunk, or if it’s connecting crucial habitats, making a bio link and protecting that, but then, as well as putting a covenant on it. So that can never be developed, looking at a different way of doing things in terms of land ownership, where it would probably go into a nonprofit, perhaps have a community land trust associated with it. So that land is never sold. It will always be there for whoever you decide whether that’s a group of indigenous communities, or I don’t know family or whatever, that can always kind of come to that land, improve it steward it, keep it pest weed free work on it, have a passive house, so it’s just looking at a different model of land ownership. That’s, that’s a bit of a work in progress to what that will be. But then, I think looking for this first lot of land that we can then also live on and get out of the drafty little cottage But then perhaps, you know, add add to that, if we can throughout your life, buying more land that can then be preserved forever
using that same model that you’ve read from this sort of first initial one. Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing. I mean, I was absolutely just like blown away when I heard about the nightingale model the first time. And, you know, that was based off the Borg Robin model of the group people coming together to buy and develop their homes. At this kind of, has that tone to it to me like this is something that’s a little revolutionary in this country. And it could be a really amazing model that’s can be repeated, replicable. So yeah, yeah. That’s cool. And just this is probably my own questions to clarify. So we’re not talking about this being entirely public land that anyone can come to. It’s more about making sure it’s for the right use. And yeah, it’s Yeah, that’s great. Yeah.
But anyone anyone knows of any amazing land that needs someone to look after it? Let me know. Yeah.
You just never know who’s listening.
Outside of Victoria, as well, or just thinking,
I think that’s the hard thing, too, when you’re, when you’re a bit wider with your search can make it harder. I mean, we’ll probably be Victoria. But not necessarily. Kind of looking for the right land. Yeah, whatever that is. Yeah.
I guess, you know, we can’t be too selective when it comes to the initial one. So. So you would be living there as someone who is that Stewart that is Yeah, yeah, hazing.
I think, Ryan, my husband’s really thinking about the corporate life and just go around taking out weeds. And after the land, that kind of thing. So yeah, we’ll see where it goes.
Cool. All right. There is one question that we do ask all our guests, for them than welcome to take this one.
Okay. Mani, if you had one wish to change something in the National Construction Code or industry, what would it be?
That one is so easy, I would just say mandate that every new build has to be a Passivhaus. Standard. So Scotland is doing it. They starting next year, I think, yeah. And I think it’s just it’s, it’s time to ensure that we’re building to the highest energy efficiency standards possible. And that those standards are verified throughout the build and at the end of the build, so the residents can be sure of the quality of the house they’re living in. But again, it just comes back to that nothing is measured after a build the performance except Passive House. And I think, you know, everyone says it’s, it’s expensive, it’s not accessible to everyone. But if that becomes mandated, didn’t people innovate? prices will come down low happen happens very quickly. So yeah, that was my, that’s my dream.
Yeah, amazing. Like, I think that’s probably the highest elevated one we’ve had so far. Like, just go straight to the top, not even messing around. I’m just gonna go right there. So I’m, and I’m a massive believer in the SPL verification, that’s the biggest draw card for me for Passivhaus. Believe it or not, with health being a close second. Because in our experience with what we do in our testing side of things, like most homes are not built in accordance with what was assessed on paper. But you don’t get that opportunity to mess that up with Passivhaus. It’s it is what it is, you know, it’s got to be built with exactly how it was designed to.
Like, where else would that you know, if you’re talking about the car industry or something, would that fly that you’ve got safety rules, and you feel the car but no one tests it?
Or not, apparently, to Volkswagen, but that’s yeah. Yes, yeah. Great. Yeah. Well, yeah, thank you. I really hope that there’s a lot more people out there that do exactly what you’ve done, and follow you and your journey. Where can we find out more about you? Where can we contact you? Where can we hear more about your course? What’s happening?
website, I guess, money whoreson.com Today you Instagram money whoreson I’m a bit slow on the old Instagram. Although I’ve just come up with a you know, an idea that I can become a bit more regular. On posting on that I’m pretty slack got marketing Mondays. I had marketing Mondays for a while and then I was just procrastinating when it came to doing social media. I would rather invoice then write an Instagram post because I try and make it meaningful. Talk about the client talk about the home but then everyone says no one reads a caption anyway so why why are you wasting your time? Then AI haven’t touched on AI we can just use that for everything now. Yeah.
We we have a subscription to copy AI and he great things about chat GPT as well. Yes, I did here you have a newsletter. Yes, you’re in that correctly. Yeah.
So newsletter you can sign up. I send it out once a fortnight and it’s more it’s a bit random based on things that I like around system inability, productivity, things for small business. I saw the blurb about the birds now it’s making a sense now that you’ve Yes, fast. Yep, things like that. So, yeah, that’s a good way to follow me as well.
Amazing. Yeah. Manny, thank you so much for taking the time out and coming to chat with us today. I have to say, first time we’ve met urine inspiration, honestly, it’s been lovely chatting to you, and it’s nice to every now and then get that little, you know, sort of, it’s a disruption to the way you think. And I think I haven’t actually considered that before. And that’s, that’s wild. And it’s, it’s good. It’s a bit of a wake up call. So I hope everyone else’s has enjoyed it as much and taking as much value from it as I have as great.
Thank you so much for having me on. Yeah,
thank you. Thank you for listening to the outlier podcast. You can find helpful links and contact information regarding this episode in our show notes and on our website, outlier studio.com.au forward slash podcast. If you like our show, please leave a review and make sure you subscribe to never miss a new episode. If you have further questions for us or want to share some additional feedback, please feel free to DM us on Instagram or Facebook. Until next time on the outlier podcast