Not so green as it seems….

In the news this week, energy providers fudging their ‘green’ credentials; home loan data shows investors gaining strength; and we look at a domestic aquaponics system that nurtures both you and your fish…

He who hesitates is lost!

A big mistake that many home buyers make is procrastinating when they’ve found a property that ticks most if not all their needs.  They labour too long in making a decision and miss the property that they've been waiting months, sometimes years, to find. 

House prices show strong growth

House prices continued to improve in the last months of 2012, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Preliminary estimates show the price index for established houses in the eight capital cities rose 1.6 per cent in the December quarter 2012. This was the strongest quarterly growth in almost three years.

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How green is your energy provider?

Australian households are getting greener every year, yet some energy providers have been found to be actively undermining the growth of clean energy resources, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) announced this week.

Towards the end of 2012, Australia’s Climate Change Authority conducted a review of the nation’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), and ACF took the opportunity to assess just how ‘green’ the positions of the energy providers were when it came to supporting clean energy.

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Home loans dip despite investor strength

Investors continue to gain confidence, but not enough to lift dwelling commitments in December, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed this week.

The trend estimate for total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.4 per cent in December 2012 compared with November 2012.

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Tanks for the fresh produce

Short memories to fantastic fins, fish can be great pets. Keeping them healthy and happy is not always easy, but could be a lot easier with a new fish tank that cleans itself and grows fresh food at the same time.

The Home Aquaponics Garden, made by Back To The Roots, is a self-cleaning fish tank that uses bacteria to break down the fishes’ waste into nutrients for the plants. The wastewater is pumped up from the tank and converted by beneficial bacteria into nutrients for the plants growing in rockbeds at the top of the tank.

The plants - whatever you'd like to grow, from beans to basil and everything in between - use the nutrients and ‘clean’ the water, which then falls back down for the fish. It's a beautifully simple closed-loop ecosystem right on your table.

Saving grace

Three in four Australian households are in a better financial situation than they were this time last year, a report shows.

The December 2012 St. George-Melbourne Institute Household Financial Conditions Report has found that despite some difficulties over the past year, close to 70 per cent of Australian households have started 2013 in a stable financial position or with savings in hand.

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A glass house begging for Stones

Las Vegas is renowned for its remarkable landmark replicas, along with equally remarkable consumerism and waste. So it's nice to see that a new landmark has been made entirely from the city's recyclable material.

The 30,000 square foot Morrow Royal Pavilion has been constructed from 100 per cent recycled glass aggregate and 99.8 per cent renewable materials - essentially recycled beer bottles from hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. By using locally sourced glass that generally takes 4,000 years to decompose, construction group Realm Of Design has saved over 400,000 cubic yards in landfill.

In true Vegas style, the building is a replica of the Swarkestone Hall Pavilion in England - the location of one of The Rolling Stones’ most famous photo shoots. Realm of Design has launched a Facebook campaign trying to get the Stones to visit the building.