Want to retrofit or renovate your home so it’s more sustainable?
Learn more from Sarah Lebner, an award-winning architect connecting people with low-carbon homes.
This is Part 2 of my conversation with Sarah Lebner from Cooee Architecture (formally Principal Architect at Light House Architecture and Science).
Hello! This is Episode 261, and in it, I’m speaking with a dear friend of Undercover Architect, Sarah Lebner.
This is part 2 of my conversation with Sarah, so if you haven’t listened to Part 1, head back to Episode 260 where you can check that out.
In this conversation, Sarah shares some fantastic information about sustainable retrofitting and renovating, and how you can dramatically improve the performance and comfort of your existing home without a huge expense.
Plus, she also shares some specific tips to consider when renovating or building.
Now, let’s dive in!
Sarah has been a guest on the “Get it Right” podcast before, and in fact, her conversation in Season 10 when she, and her boss at the time, Jenny Edwards from Light House Architecture + Science, talked with me about their work … it was one of our most downloaded episodes in Year 3 of the podcast. If you haven’t listened to it, be sure to check it out. There’s a link in the resources for you.
Until 2022, Sarah worked in Canberra as the Principal Architect at an interdisciplinary firm, Light House Architecture and Science. Here she worked under nationally recognised building scientist, Jenny Edwards, and they focused on achieving high levels of energy efficiency while studying affordability and buildability.
Sarah has returned to her family farm in Tooma, NSW, to focus on providing leading sustainable design services to regional people and communities.
We heard in the last episode the how and why this led Sarah to set up Cooee Architecture, and the philosophy behind her architecture practice. She mentioned remembering a TED talk where, and I’ll quote her … “the presenter suggested that sustainable design solutions needed to be enjoyable and beautiful solutions, because that’s the kind of world we as humans would fight to sustain, then that was really pivotal for me.”
She went onto say:
“And I now believe that sustainability doesn’t have to mean sacrifice, and that, in fact, successful sustainability needs to go hand in hand with a better quality of life, if we’re going to, en masse, be motivated to save this planet. So that’s pretty deep. But to bring it back to very tangible examples, I landed on a driving philosophy of helping regional people build fulfilling lives. And examples of that, for fulfilling, might be things like, living ethically, waking up feeling fresh and inspired, or being better connected to country and community.”
Cooee Architecture is all about connecting regional people with low-carbon homes and fulfilling lives within them … but what Sarah shares is applicable for ALL homeowners, wherever they live and whatever type of project they’re creating.
We kick off our conversation in Part 2, with Sarah sharing some great tips for those wanting to retrofit their homes in a more sustainable way.
We also talk more about the whole idea of renovation being quite misunderstood, plus Sarah has some fantastic, actionable tips to help with readying yourself for your project.
Whether you’re in a regional, or urban area, Sarah’s insights will be invaluable for your project and future home.
This video was produced as part of Sarah winning the National Emerging Architect Award in 2020 – she’s heavily pregnant with her second bub!
In this episode, I ask Sarah questions such as:
- How she conducts performance assessments of existing homes
- What the process is to help with upgrades to improve thermal comfort and energy efficiency, especially in older, existing homes
- How she helps clients weigh up renovating vs building new, and thinking differently about renovation overall
- What her key tips are for people planning to build or renovate (especially in a regional area)
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
Cooee Architecture >>> Cooee Architecture’s website
Sarah’s own Canberra home retrofit (for only $10,000 that reduced the home’s heating and cooling needs by 60%) >>> Canberra home energy efficient retrofit
Sarah shares great tips on Cooee Architecture’s Instagram account too >>> https://www.instagram.com/cooee_architecture/
Green it Yourself (with Lish Fejer) mentioned as a resource by Sarah >>> Green It Yourself
Sarah shares great tips on Cooee Architecture’s Instagram account too >>> Cooee Architecture Instagram
Check out Season 10 Interview with Jenny Edwards and Sarah Lebner >>> Season 10 Episode 4
(We rebooted it with some extra information in our 2021 / 2022 Christmas season) >>> Episode 223
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program >>> HOME METHOD
Learn more about how to get started with your home design with the Happy Home Design mini-course >>> HAPPY HOME DESIGN
Access my free online workshop “Your Project Plan” >>> YOUR PROJECT PLAN FREE WORKSHOP