don’t do this at home

The Ideal Home Show 2008 and WA on Show are on this weekend, and you can travel on the bus or train for free on Sunday to see either or both.

We caught the bus in early on Friday to pop in for a couple of hours prior to having tea and making our way to His Majesty’s Theatre for a show. It was a good day to go as there were very few people and less likely that you were going to get your ankles clipped with a pushchair. The entry fee was only $5 for the Home Show, which we thought was ample for the hour or so we planned to spend there. Note: Entry fee is $10 on other days.

I don’t think the picture of the woman featured on the promotional materials matched with what was on display. The exhibition was almost 100% of companies who sole purpose was to sell you services and products. I can’t think of any DIY displays. Perhaps that was the idea. If women DIY they get in a mess, look at the mess the woman got into with a simple bit of painting, so come to the Home Show so we can do it all for you.

It was very easy for me to say ‘no’ I don’t want to enter your competition for whatever products and services you provide as I don’t want my contact details on your calling list. A lot of the stuff on display I found ostentatious, ugly, or ‘what the hell would you want that for?”

A large proportion of the displays were suggesting what improvements that you can make to your backyard, mostly ‘decorating’ such that it becomes the outside room of the house. But to suggest that we have a woodfired oven to make pizza on our patio was just the last straw. I mean I’ve got a flued wood fire in my lounge room that we only light if putting on a few extra layers of clothes does not make us warm enough. Also, a few years ago the state government were talking about phasing out wood fires starting with open fires. Firewood is expensive and not always easily attainable, which is not a problem for us at the moment while we are renovating. But to encourage people to obtain a woodfired oven seemed pretty odd to me and at odds with the baby steps that government are taking with regard to climate change.

I was amused at some of the booth staff that appeared incredulous that we did not need or want window roller shutters. Apart from the fact that we will be replacing the window eaves, I haven’t seen many houses (old or new) where retrofitted roller shutters have added any aesthetics to the home. He had this stunned look on his face as if how can you walk away and not want to enter a competition and get them for free, as if there is no cost to getting something for free.

What was good to see at the exhibition was the increased number of businesses offering solar products, especially photovoltaic grid systems. Although what was a little disappointing is they appear to be flogging a stock standard 1.2kW system so that you as a consumer can take advantage of the $8000 rebate. The systems appeared to be priced at what you are willing to pay, so the supplier appears to benefit more from the rebate as a sort of corporate welfare. As soon as you start talking about the technology (solar cells, type of inverter, battery storage), you are quickly given a brochure. You as a consumer are not supposed to know anything other than the emotion of doing your bit to reduce your household carbon gas emissions and being able to hand over the money knowing that your 20 year investment is mitigated financially by the government. Having said that, we did get talking to one fellow that we were able to have a proper conversation with, who is interested if not passionate about the industry he is in, and listened. Yes, listened!

We only had time to pop our heads into the WA on Show pavilion to enter the competition at the Public Transport Authority to win a folding bike, Prospector trip, or cashed up SmartRider. The quick scan of the venue was enough to know that we would come back on Sunday as there is a lot to see. There appears to be many displays, including panels describing various WA history and developments sprinkled amongst some commercial vendors. Entry to WA on Show is free.

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4 thoughts on “don’t do this at home

  1. I can understand your standpoint that it was rather a tiresome show with its odd products and the folly of the companies competing with each other. We used to have such a kind of home design shows in our neighbourhoods in Toronto but I`ve never had such a bad experience however the theme going “green” was also pushed vigorously. In my opinion it`s worth to invest in such kind of energy-efficient appliances irrespectively of the governments compensatory contribution.

  2. I wouldn’t say the green theme was being ‘pushed vigorously’, but the presence of a number of PV grid systems was encouraging. And we will definitely be following up with the vendor that was most helpful in answering our questions about a gas-boosted solar hot water system and photo-voltaic grid system with generator and battery storage.

    Double-glazing was prominent, but it was promoted as a way to keep the ‘noise’ in your home rather than the heat out. There were some rainwater tanks, but no greywater reuse systems which I thought strange considering the current water restrictions and increasing number of dry days. I don’t count artificial grass as being a sustainable product, but it did look cool. Whereas the bamboo flooring offered by Style Flooring looks interesting as an environmentally sustainable wood looking floor. But we’ll see how we go restoring our Jarrah tongue and groove floors first.

  3. These guys can help you get a good price plus government rebate for your solar system: http://www.noco2.com.au – and if your system produces enough energy you might even be able to feed back into the grid. I think it’s important that the ‘green theme’ is being pushed, especially in a country like Australia where renewable energy is available in such wealth. Hope to see more of this in the future!

  4. @nike1980

    Thanks for the lead to noco2.com.au. Unfortunately, we are in Perth, Western Australia. However, they do have some general reading on their site which is worthwhile a read.

    We will be doing the the ‘solar system’ thing, but we are still in the data collection mode at the moment.

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