Our Future and Beyond

Our Future and Beyond


Our future and beyond


What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is looking to meet the needs of today in a way that preserves the environment, so that these needs can continue to be met in the future.

Definitions for sustainability can include:

  • Living with the limits of what the environment can provide
  • Understanding the many interconnections between economy, society and the environment
  • The equal distribution of resources and opportunities

(“What is sustainability,” 2013)

Why are we taking up the sustainability challenge?

Bastet Constructions wants to ensure we reduce our carbon footprint so that our business is here for the long haul, and our industry is not adversely affected. We understand that we have a responsibility to our stakeholders, customers, suppliers, staff and environment to employ the best environmental practices we can. We want to be accountable and face the challenge of sustainability, so we can continue to be a leader in our industry.

How are we going to meet the sustainability challenge?

Bastet Constructions formed a dedicated team, the sustainability team, to research various environmental sustainability strategies and how they could be implemented. They have researched three main strategies that changes will be implemented under. Please view each page for further information on our action plans for our strategies:

  • Our Office
  • Our Homes
  • Our Suppliers


As a business, we are committed to reaching the following Targets:

  • Have a list of preferred suppliers with ratings in the first quarter of 2012 for staff to utilise (for more information on our supplier rating system please refer to supplier energy rating)
  • Reduce our office electricity usage by 20% within 12 months
  • Have all staff attend a sustainable living course in 2014
  • We aim to reduce our office paper usage by 50% in 2015
  • Continue to increase sales of our sustainable designs and products

How are we going to ensure we are rising to the sustainability challenge?

The sustainability team has looked into ways they can evaluate the effectiveness of their proposed strategies. We want to be accountable, so we need to closely monitor how we are tracking on the road to environmental sustainability. Our evaluations will include:

  • Rating our office through NABERS
  • Rating our homes through NatHERS
  • Rating our suppliers through an external consultant
  • Internal reporting
  • Staff involvement and feedback

Getting Involved

We want all of our employees to be aware and understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, and to feel part of our strategies. The team has created this website to present our strategies to you. Read it and discuss it with colleagues, friends, and family. Have a think about these strategies, what we are doing and how we are going to implement them. If you have suggestions or just want to provide some feed back to the sustainability team, we want to hear from you! Please refer to the contact us page. We will also be sending regular e-newsletters to staff to report our progress, targets and any updates on our strategies.

What is sustainability. (2013). Retrieved from the NSW Government Environment & Heritage web site: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/sustainability/


Our first strategy for reducing our carbon footprint is to improve our homes. Our homes are our business, so we need to consider how we are going to give them a green makeover. We need to think in an environmentally friendly way from the first sketch in design, to the final nail in construction.

How are we going to meet the sustainability challenge in our homes?

  • Think twice
  • Smart design
  • Renewable energy
  • Material choice
  • Product choice
  • Ratings
  • Sales reports

Think twice

We need to get creative, and think twice about the way we build for our customers. Let’s reduce our environmental impact by exploring renovations, building in established estates and constructing smaller sized homes.

We could build a house that is green from floor to roof, but it will never be as environmentally friendly as the house that isn’t built. Renovating an existing home has numerous environmental benefits. Fewer materials are required, less energy is exerted physically than constructing a new home, and the waste created in the building process is reduced. Clem (2013, 19 March) states that a recent study “suggests it can take anywhere between 10 and 80 years to offset the climate change impacts of the demolition and construction of a new green home, even one that is 30 per cent more energy efficient than the one it is replacing”.

With new estates being built, the city is being spread out. This means we are losing more of our natural environment and creating more waste. Looking to build in established estates will avoid contributing to the spread, and save some of those trees we love on scenic drives out of the city.

If constructing a new home, let’s market towards smaller sized structures. They have less of an environmental impact than a larger house, taking up less space, using fewer materials and creating less waste. The small size is also a cost saver for our customer. With a reduced energy load required to heat and power their home, they save on the bills from their service providers.

We currently have our marketing department researching the possibility of moving into renovations and smaller house designs. We need to ensure this is the right business decision for everyone at Bastet Constructions. If there is no financial benefit by entering these markets for our investors it would be hard to argue it is worthwhile. If it is decided it is financially beneficial, and we do expand our business, there will be some great career advancement possibilities for our existing staff. We will communicate to you via our e-newsletter to keep you up to date on our progress and any career opportunities.

Anonymous (2007, 7 September). Experts discuss value of environmentally friendly building practices. Central Penn Business Journal, 23(37), 11, 13.

Clem, S. (2013, 19 March). What’s old is new (and green). Retrieved from

Green Building. (2013, 30 September). Retrieved from the Wikipedia website:

Smart design

Environmentally friendly homes start from the drawing board. Let’s be smart in our designs, so we can be green from the get go. This includes all aspects of design – site, house and landscape. Smarter designs will increase our energy and water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

We can make use of our natural resources to be as energy efficient as possible. Aligning our homes to face north and carefully placing windows and walls with awnings, porches and tress will create shade and block heat in summer and assist with solar gain in winter. Placing windows effectively will also optimise natural sunlight, and reduce the need for electric lighting. We also need to consider the natural environment when designing the site, aiming to preserve as much as possible.

A green roof is a roof surface that is planted with vegetation and a growing medium over a waterproof membrane. A green wall is like a vertical garden, and can be inside or outside (Downton, n.d.). Both are effective in metro regions, where the environment is denser, as they can make up for any lack of traditional ground level landscaping. On top of being aesthetically pleasing, green roofs and walls have environmental benefits. Green roofs and walls have longer lifespans, improved insulation (including sound), reduced heating and cooling requirements, reduced stormwater run-off and can improve indoor air quality by trapping dust and pollutants.

Properly insulated homes help reduce energy bills by keeping homes cool in summer and warm in water. Insulation can be placed in the roof and between wall cavities. In summer, insulation will take longer to heat up, meaning air conditioners don’t need to work as hard and are using less energy. In winter, when the house is heated to a comfortable level, insulation will help it to stay that way (“Green building guide - Heating and cooling,” n.d.).

Green options for landscaping can include rain and native gardens and making use of greywater. These options improve water conservation and are low-maintenance and sustainable garden choices. Rain and native gardens also reduce pollution of the air and local water sources like rivers and streams, as less herbicides and pesticides are required. A rain garden is a shallow, planted depression that absorbs the water that flows from roofs, patios or the yard, allowing it to drain directly into the soil. A native garden utilises native plants, trees, shrubs, groundcover and grasses local to our environment. Greywater is reused water that comes from the bathroom, laundry and if treated, the kitchen. The water can be used to water gardens, or even in the home for toilet flushing. Plumbing can be designed to cater for greywater (“Green building guide – Water,” n.d.).

Green building guide - Water. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Build it back green website:

Green building guide - Heating and cooling. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Build it back green website:

Top Green Building Trends for 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Construction Digital website:

Downton, P. (n.d.). Green roofs and walls. Retrieved from www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs513.html

Renewable energy

Renewable energy comes from natural resources that can provide constantly. The natural resources become renewable energy through various technologies, including solar and wind energy. Renewable energy is essential to our environmental impact, and Australia’s energy supply will need to lessen to meet climate change challenges (“What is renewable energy?,” n.d.). The average household’s energy use if responsible for over seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (Milne & Riedy, n.d.).

We need to do something with this information, and believe renewable energy is the way to go. Both solar and wind energy are environmentally sustainable options that can cut our greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar energy uses sunlight or heat from the sun to create energy. This energy is then converted into two types of solar power – solar thermal (heat) and solar photovoltaic (electricity). We can maximise energy cost savings through solar power products such as solar hot water systems, solar based cooling for refrigerators and solar panels.

Wind energy uses wind currents that are converted into other forms of energy using wind turbines. Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source for electricity generation in Australia (“Wind,” n.d.). Installing a wind turbine can generate power for the entire house, and is a clean energy source that provides reliable, cost effective and pollution free energy (“Wind power: Renewable energy,” n.d.)

Solar energy. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Arena website: http://www.arena.gov.au/renewable/solar.html

What is renewable energy? (n.d.). Retrieved from the Arena website: http://www.arena.gov.au/renewable/

Wind. (n.d.) Retrieved from the Arena website: http://www.arena.gov.au/renewable/wind.html

Wind power: Renewable energy. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Energy Matters website:

Milne, G. & Riedy, C. (n.d.). Energy use. Retrieved from www.yourhome.gov.au/technical


The materials we choose need to be as eco-friendly as the buildings we design and construct. We need to consider materials for the entire house, covering the floors to the walls. They should be low-toxic or non-toxic, reusable, renewable and/or recyclable. Making the right choices will lower energy bills and reduce materials used and waste created. Green materials are more durable, making them a low-impact and environmentally sustainable option.

Materials from natural resources are lower in toxic emissions than other building materials and so have a reduced environmental impact. They can include wood, stone and bamboo. They are all widely available, so pricing can be competitive for our customers. Wood, stone and bamboo can feature throughout our homes, with options including wooden structures that use less energy than concrete or steel, and stone bench tops and bamboo flooring that are both durable and sustainable.

Recycled materials have a low impact on the environment, and include discarded timber, copper and stone. Using these types of recycled materials reduces the energy required to obtain new materials, thus avoiding any additional emissions in the process.

Sustainable building materials increase the longevity of structures, which makes them more environmentally friendly in the long run. Both copper and steel are sustainable materials. Copper is used for heating and cooling systems by maximizing the energy of the motors and engines that heat and cool buildings. This means the machines consume less energy, increasing the life of the systems they control, and decreasing energy consumption. Steel is a durable material and has a long life span, so is a great fit for building sustainable and eco-friendly homes.

Sustainable, climate friendly building materials. (2010). Retrieved from the Climate Smart Solutions website:

Eco-friendly building materials. (2013). Retrieved from the SX Projects Pty Ltd website:


Like materials, we need to be thinking green when making product choices. These choices need to carry us from inside to outside, and allow us to improve water conservation and reduce our waste and emissions.

Homes require the use of products that are far from green, like paint and sealants. We can’t evade their usage, but we can make more responsible choices. Switching to non-toxic sealants for flooring and eco-friendly and low-odour paint for walls allows us to reduce our emissions compared to using traditional products. Plumbing options can include dual plumbing to recycle water, ultra-low flush toilets and low-flow shower heads to conserve water, and bidets to eliminate the use of toilet paper and reduce sewer traffic.

Moving outdoors, we can offer water saving products like rain water tanks. Rainwater tanks reduce dependency on main water supplies, avoid wastage and reduce the effects of global warming. They can be installed easily, are lightweight and little maintenance is involved. Selected companies make their tanks from recyclable steel, so the tanks are a sustainable option for water conservation.

Welcome to green insulation. (2013). Retrieved from the Green Insulation Pty Ltd website:

Rain Gardens. (2013). Retrieved from the Philidelphia Water Department website:

Refill Tanks. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Rainfill Tanks website:


Our homes can be assessed at the design stage by the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). NatHERS is a government initiative that provides a framework that allows various computer software tools to rate the potential energy efficiency of Australian homes. Using a scale of zero to ten stars, buildings can be rated before and after they are built. A zero star rating indicates the building is extremely limited in its ability to reduce discomfort in hot or cold weather. A ten star rating indicates the building is unlikely to need artificial cooling or heating. Ratings depend on a few variances, including layout of the home, shading, window placement and size, climate, ventilation, insulation, materials used and roof colour. Hot water systems, lights and household appliances are not taken into account. (“NatHERS – Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme,” 2010). By having this assessment completed, we can identify simple and economical ways to further reduce energy usage and make our homes more cost effective and comfortable for our customers. Australian Government statistics (“Sustainability – 6 star,” 2012) reveal a house built to a six star standard will use about 20 to 25 per cent less energy to heat and cool when compared to a similar sized five star house.

NatHERS – Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme. (2010). Retrieved from the NatHERS website: www.nathers.gov.au/index/php

Sustainability – 6 star. (2012, 3 August). Retrieved from the Building Commission WA website: http://www.buildingcommission.wa.gov.au/consumers/sustainability/6-star-energy-efficiency

Sales reports

The sales team have added a new section to their monthly sales report to report on the sale of our homes by energy rating. This will allow us to see if we are improving our sales by selling more of the higher rated designs. If we do not see increases in sales of the higher rated home designs, we will need our design team to work on some new designs.

Also, included in these reports will be sections on variations to the contracts for customers wanting us to replace products with more sustainable choices. Unfortunately, more energy efficient products are not always the cheapest options, so often we need to pass these costs onto our customers in the form of variations to the contract. We aim to educate our customers on the benefits of making sustainable choices both for the environment and themselves (e.g. reduced energy consumption, therefore lower bills from service providers) and offer them the choice. In the long term we hope these variations will form part of the standard contract but until then our sales team will need to educate customers and help them make informed decisions. If the sales of these sustainable variations do not increase we will need to go back to our sales team and find out why customers are not taking up these options.