Sustainable Building Materials

What to Bring

  • Pen and paper
  • The garden is on a slope. Please bring walking aids if you require them.

What to Wear

  • Please wear enclosed footwear and sun protection

Appropriate For

  • Gardeners, DIY builders, People who want to reduce their impact on the environment

Sustainable Building Materials

About This Class

Class Schedule

  • Sunday 17 September 2017 - 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Templestowe College, 7 Cypress Ave, Templestowe Lower, VIC 3107

What You Will Learn

  • How to assess the environmental credentials of various materials and techniques
  • Tips on how to get started on DIY projects
  • What you can build from simple, inexpensive, reclaimed building materials

What You Get

  • An interactive tour of Templestowe College’s unique permaculture garden, urban farm and learning space with a focus on pre-loved building materials used
  • An understanding of the properties of different recycled materials and where to get them
  • A handout with notes and links for further research
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits (including gluten free)


Simple garden structures can make the garden a more comfortable and productive space, can protect plants from the elements, can contribute to a harmonious garden design, and can help attract wildlife and beneficial creatures. However, all too often the materials and techniques used to build these structures can cause environmental damage.

Many common commercial building materials can be toxic, energy-intensive, impact the environment when mined or manufactured or can be sourced from old-growth forests. Construction can also contribute to carbon emissions or damage to your garden and local environment.

You can reduce these consequences through careful design, selecting environmentally friendly materials, by being creative with waste products and by using simple techniques which minimize earthworks and transportation.

Join Drew in a Discovery Master Class where you will learn about:

  • Energy intensity and other environmental impacts of building materials
  • Identifying common secondhand timbers and where to get them
  • The properties and typical uses of different timbers
  • Bricks, pavers, slabs and other masonry items
  • Earth and straw building in the garden
  • Using sheet metal and other scrap in garden structures and ornaments
  • Designs and materials for creating micro-climates


Please wear enclosed footwear and sun protection.  As this is a Discovery Masterclass you will not be actively building garden structures. As the permaculture garden is on undulating land, people with walking aids should consider bringing them to the class. 

Masterclass Presenter : Drew Barr

Drew has twin passions of earth building and food gardening. He learned wood work and building from his father, began growing veggies, keeping chooks and milking his cow at age 12, and worked as a mud brickie after leaving school.

During a 30 year diversion, he achieved a Masters Degree in the History and Philosophy of Science and held senior sustainability roles in the corporate sector.

Having discovered the importance of being unimportant, he now works with his wife Angie at Templestowe College, mentoring students, gardening, looking after animals, and building stuff.

Cancellation and Refund Policy 

No refunds will be given for non-attendance.

If there are insufficient numbers for an event it may be cancelled or postponed. If this is the case, you will be notified and given the option of either a full refund or a transfer to a different SGA event of equivalent value.

Refunds will be issued for cancellations IF you give at least 10 days notice prior to the start date. Refunds will be net of any WeTeachMe booking fees and a A$10 refund administration fee.

No refunds will be issued for cancellations with less than 10 days notice unless the event is fully booked out, including the cancelled tickets. If these conditions are met, refunds will be net of any WeTeachMe booking fees and less a A$10 refund administration fee.

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