Craig Johnson Expert View: The gift of sustainability


I say it every time, but this time I really mean it; where did this year go?

On top of coming to the realisation that 12 months of 2018 are just about done and dusted, I have of course (as always) left all of my Christmas shopping to the last minute (I hope my wife isn’t reading this!). Add to that the thought of trying to navigate a Westfield shopping centre (and car park) and I’m pretty much ready to admit defeat and add ‘be on top of Christmas’ to my 2019 New Year’s resolution list.

My Christmas shopping angst got me thinking about presents; what they mean and what has been the best one I have received. And although I love a new pair of boardshorts as much as the next guy, I’ve realised that the best type of gifts aren’t material ones. In fact, a gift that ‘keeps on giving,’ so to speak, is always at the top of my list whether I’m giving or receiving.

This year, one of my goals was to continue to learn about sustainability, and where possible to live by sustainable principles at home and at work. What I have noticed both personally and professionally in 2018 is that we, as a community, are definitely becoming more environmentally conscious, be that composting at home or using a ‘Keep Cup’ daily.

As the MD of a business that also plays its part in making Melbourne homes more sustainable, that gives me a lot of hope. (And those who know me will know unbridled positivity isn’t my default setting, so that’s saying something.)

Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing capital, yet the majority of our housing stock is aging. Historically low-cost building practices mean that many Victorian homes have energy rating far below acceptable modern day standards.

That means our houses are letting us down in the when it comes to thermo-efficiency, particularly in the height of winter when they let cold air seep in and our heating seep out, and in the height of summer when it’s hot enough to scald a lizard, even when the air conditioning is blowing snowballs.


The result?

Rising energy bills (as we’re constantly reminded by the media), tighter purse strings, less spare cash to treat our loved ones at Christmas, and dire (and decidedly unfestive) warnings from Sir David Attenborough about the future of our planet!

Which brings me back to gifts that keep on giving, and the idea that making an investment in an environmentally friendly home might actually be more worthwhile than squandering your hard-earned on a load of novelty gifts that are destined to be discarded before the sun sets on Boxing Day.

That investment doesn’t have to be in Ecostar double glazed windows and doors. (Although our Ecostar double glazing does provide an unmatched opportunity to improve your home’s energy performance rating, exceeding Australian Window Energy Rating Scheme standards with industry-leading insulation properties. And our uPVC double glazed windows and doors do exceed the 6-star energy rating, with a U-value of 1.2 – the lowest certified U-value in Australia – and they are BFRC/WERS energy efficiency certified.)

And that investment doesn’t have to be this year because, let’s face it, if you haven’t bought your loved ones’ Christmas presents by now you’re more likely to be sleeping in the dog house this festive season than in the comfort of your cool, thermo efficient home!

But my point is this; although a pair of boardshorts may go down a treat on a warm summer’s day over the Christmas holidays, eventually their allure (not to mention their Hawaiian print) will fade. So maybe it’s time to think outside the box and look at a gift that you and your family can continue to enjoy for years to come, that will not only have a positive long term impact on the health of your wallet, but will have a positive impact on the health of our planet as well.

Yes I’m biased. But a gift that keeps Melbourne green for the future of our children’s children? Surely that would get Santa’s tick of approval any day!


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