Don't take eco-living so seriously: family

Darren Collins (left) with his daughter Hannah, 7, at their Jamberoo property. He has won a Nature Conservation Council sustainability award. Picture: DAVE TEASE
Darren Collins (left) with his daughter Hannah, 7, at their Jamberoo property. He has won a Nature Conservation Council sustainability award. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Rising power bills, the carbon tax and heavy debate over climate change make the thought of creating a sustainable home seem quite daunting, but Darren Collins insists that it's all fun.

Mr Collins recently won the Nature Conservation Council's Local Climate Champions award, inspiring household and community action and promoting sustainable living.

Mr Collins, who has been serious about sustainable living for the past five years, said he had dropped his carbon footprint by about 10 per cent, from 11.57 tonnes of CO2 per year to 10.99 tonnes.

Despite the obvious benefits of saving money on his power bills, he said that hadn't been his primary motivator to switch to a greener way of life.

"It's more about making the house more comfortable," he said.

When asked whether his daughters - aged seven, nine and 10 - would follow in his footsteps, he said: "They haven't really known any different. They are keen to get out. They love harvesting and picking fruit. Not so much the digging, though."

Some of the recent actions Mr Collins and his family have taken include installing heavy curtains in entrance ways to keep warm air in, adding foam strips around external doors, swapping halogen downlights for compact fluorescent downlights, using a rainwater tank and a high-water-efficiency washing machine.

"The girls have races with the shower timer to try and beat it," he said. Mr Collins believes that many people can start off small to create a sustainable life.