InterVIEW – Jeremy Spencer

Meet Our New Committee Member: Jeremy Spencer

Jeremy Spencer filled a casual vacancy on the BDAV’s Committee of Management following the BDAV’s 2018 Annual General Meeting. He is a multi-award-winning building designer and builder of sustainable dwellings. He runs Positive Footprints with his wife, a business they set up in 2001, dedicated to making high performing sustainable homes and renovations easy to achieve and affordable. We thought it was timely to get to know him a little more….

Q: What is/are your favourite project/s that you have worked on, and why?
A: I really like our ‘Solar Sollew’ from our 9 star home range. We have done several variations, including for our own house. This is such a great design for north-to-rear blocks. It’s bright, warm, highly energy efficient, and has that indoor-outdoor connection to the rear yard that really draws you out. In our own house, we have a large number of espaliered fruit trees, and a significant vegetable garden so, at this time of year, I find myself going outside a lot for yummy organic produce.

Q: To date, my biggest business/design challenge has been?
A: As a team, we have spent a fair bit of time reflecting on and refining our construction methods for building tighter, better insulated buildings, using conventional materials. Whilst always a focus and the topic of many a toolbox meeting, recent blower door testing and the addition of a thermal imaging camera for our Project Manager have given us insights for further improvement. These are technologies I would certainly recommend others use on their buildings if they get the chance, as they give great feedback on this area of performance.

Q: My favourite finish is?
A: Although I don’t get to use it much, I love the rust finish of Corten Steel. Readily recyclable, organic feel and best of all, no maintenance.

Q: The architectural style of the home I grew up in?
A: Californian Bungalow. Lots of good memories; but alas the house is gone now….

Q: I joined the BDAV because?
A: I joined for a range of reasons. Great information sheets for practitioners. Someone on the phone if you have issues. A reliable feed for current industry information. And a great way to promote my business through competitions and professional association. Once I joined I was also excited to find an association that really understood the importance of sustainability as a design imperative for the future.

Q: My favourite Australian building is?
A: I think our Parliament house is one of the best in the world. Now there’s an impressive grass roof!

Q: My favourite inter-national building is?
A: The pyramids for sheer extreme durability.

Q: My words of wisdom for a student building designer are?
A: Follow your passion. And if you fall down 9 times, get up 10.

Q: When I was a child I wanted to be?
A: A garbage truck man. Up early, getting a lot of exercise running after the truck (remember the small round bins loaded by hand?), and workday over by lunchtime! Unfortunately truck automation ruined my dream…

Q: Outside of work, I am passionate about?
A: My family, closely followed by ultra running.

Q: At the moment I am reading?
A: I hardly read any more, but I listen to a lot of books as I run and relax. Mostly fantasy and Sci-Fi. Anything by Brandon Sanderson is good, and I just re-listened to most of David Gemmell’s books, that were a favourite in my youth.

Q: My life in four words?
A: Suck the marrow from life!