Your source of ideas, inspiration, resources and links on how to...

Ward off Climate Change

About the author

Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

What I'm Doing Personally to Ward Off Climate Change

People often ask what they can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

So I thought I would show what Toni and I have been doing at a personal level to reduce our emissions.

The first thing we did was we sold our Toyota Prado Four Wheel Drive and bought a Toyota Prius petrol-hybrid. This reduced the emissions from our transportation by 70% in one hit!!

Secondly we took steps to reduce the amount of thermal gain during summer into our house in Shenton Park. We installed 3M tinting on windows and bi-fold doors, we installed shade sales on the north side of the house, we installed whirlygig air vents in the roof and air vents in the ceiling. The end result is we only had to run the air conditioning twice during the summer, compared to just about continuously the previous summer. Click here for more information on this.

Eventually we sold our house in Shenton Park in order to be able to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle in the Perth hills. We bought a house in Piesse Brook and have been in the process of transforming the gardens from water guzzling (300 kilolitres per month consumed prior to us moving in) to water miser by eliminating non-natives and returning the garden to something closer to its native state (see before and after photos below).

We've started growing our own vegetables, which eliminated the emissions associated with transportation of vegetables bought at a store, and we have set up an aquaponics system has us close to being completely self-sufficient in vegetables, fish and shellfish.

Our new house has no airconditioning, and we have managed to survive two summers without it. We installed a double glazing window film to reduce the thermal gain on the hottest days at minimal cost. This was pretty effective for something that is essentially glad wrap - though if you have young kids you will have your work cut out stopping them from tearing holes in it which completely negates the benefit.

We've replaced all of the incandescent light globes with compact flourescents.

We've subscribed to 100% Natural Power from Synergy which means that all of our electricity is being generated from renewable sources. This has cost us about $170.00 per year which we think is pretty reasonable. If you want to sign-up to Green Power, give Synergy a call on 131353, or click here for more information at the Synergy website.

We've offset all our remaining emissions at

In March 2011 we moved into our new passive solar house which incorporates a range of sustainable features including:


  • Reverse Brick Veneer construction to minimise heat transfer between outside and inside and to maximise thermal mass within the home thereby stabilising temperatures;
  • Polished concrete floor throughout to maximise thermal mass;
  • Minimal glazing on east-, west- and south-facing sides of the house;
  • Large amounts of glazing on north-facing sides of house maximising solar gain during the winter;
  • Innovative H-shaped design to ensure that 90% of rooms have northern exposure for winter solar gain;
  • Eaves on north side and shade sails designed to minimise solar gain through northern windows during summer;
  • All opening windows are louvre-style allowing maximum air-flow;
  • Fixed windows are double glazed;
  • Ultra low energy ceiling fans to all bedrooms and living areas;
  • No articifical air conditioning;
  • Ultra-efficient wood fired heater burning fallen wood from our block;
  • 5W LED downlights throughout;
  • Red-water diverter valve in-build to divert cooled water from the hot water system to herb garden bed thereby minimising water wastage;
  • Ultra low energy refrigerator and freezer in ventilated cabinets;
  • Innovative master switch to switch off all non-essential power points in house at night thereby reducing standby load;
  • Roller blinds to all windows with special reflective coating on outside-facing side to minimise heat gain in summer;
  • R5 ceiling insulation batts with supplemented by foil insulation and thermostat-operated fans to exhaust hot air from the roof cavity;
  • 2kW solar PV array;