This is the philosophy behind the beautiful, functional homes by Jaye Irving and Barefoot Sustainable Design. Since the beginning of his career, Jaye’s keen interest in green issues drove him to travel the world gathering knowledge; rammed earth designs in India, Sustainable effluent design in the U.K., alternative building design in Ireland, bamboo sacred geometry in Peru to name but a few of the areas of his diverse interest. His journeys eventually lead him to Northern N.S.W., Australia to a course in permaculture design. ‘It was the glue that bonded all of these principles by looking at a holistic approach of how we live’ Jaye notes. It was this knowledge combined with his already extensive skills base that was then used on a grassroot level to create a multi-dwelling permaculture design farm for a NGO in Southern India. Working “hands on” with local villagers using naturally occurring local materials, they built homes and cultivated gardens in the desert with their previously non utilised waste water. The success of the principles behind that experience then formed the foundations of Jaye’s architectural priorities from that moment on. ‘Creating liveable structures which maintain a stable climate naturally with minimal energy input while providing their own energy, dealing with their own waste, capturing daylight and harvesting prevailing winds, while providing a strong connection with the surrounding natural environment’

'If we follow a few basic guidelines of climatic design for an area, the design of sustainable housing is effortless’Jaye Irving

Jaye has won through the years numerous design awards in different sustainability categories, notably for a spacious straw bale house at Canungra in the Gold Coast Hinterland. That design features Asian inspired rooflines, a large open plan and Earth Render which create a stable year round climate and focuses in particular upon the intelligent and highly effective use of natural light. With all of these cost efficient measures incorporated into the design process Jaye managed to provide vast cuts to building costs! Water saving devices, rain harvesting equipment and a Biolytics waste treatment system set the residence well on its way to achieving its intended goal of autonomy from outside resources, while also making this home nestle harmoniously amongst its beautiful rural surroundings. The ever increasing knowledge of Global Warming has changed the climate of the building industry. The fact that the construction industry uses 40% of the world’s energy consumption as well as 40% of its material resources means that sustainability has come from relative obscurity to centre stage within the past few years. Our homes, perhaps the largest single consumer choice we will make within our lifetimes, now make us think about their impact upon the environment. This knowledge is now at the forefront of architectural thinking throughout the design and construction process. ‘There is a tendency in the building industry to make a firm separation between the natural and built environments rather than finding ways to integrate the two....if we follow a few basic guidelines of climatic design for an area, the design of sustainable housing is effortless’ Jaye suggests. He makes it sound very easy and for this innovative designer simplicity is indeed the key to success. The sun rises every day, the wind blows, plants grow and water flows; all to be harnessed to achieve comfort and serenity within our homes – if they are made with sustainability in mind. Solar hot water and power rebates, low energy fixtures as well as dual flush toilets and low flow taps can all contribute toward creating homes that are as energy-neutral and water efficient as possible and of course we all want our most personal of spaces to be liveable as well as beautiful lifestyle. That is the goal of Barefoot Sustainable Design; from site analysis to his choice of window styling and everything in between Jaye is committed to creating homes that lie lightly on the earth whilst maintaining a high degree of functionality. ‘Sustainability deals with how well we live and interact with nature; the energy that goes in, the landscape around and how the home meets with the community, sustainability isn’t just about design, it’s about life....