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Renew – Hunter Region Branch

Renew – Hunter Region Branch

Renew is a member-based non-profit organisation providing expert, independent advice and sustainable solutions to households, government, and industry across Australia. We were previously known as the Alternative Technology Association established in 1980 – over four decades ago, living in a sustainable manner and using resources wisely was considered ‘alternative.’ And in many cases and places, it unfortunately still is!

Sustainability advice, advocacy and research

Renew members were among the first people in Australia to install solar on their roofs, facing many challenges such as connecting to the grid and with no independent advice available. As the number of people keen to learn how to live more sustainably grows, so does the reach and success of Renew’s expertise. Working with a diverse range of community and industry partners, we advocate for policies that promote renewable energy and cut emissions, make our homes healthier, more affordable and climate resilient.

Today, Renew engages with more than 250,000 people each year around Australia and overseas – our expertise lies in our technical knowledge, communications capacity and the substantial knowledge base of our membership. We work closely with project partners including research institutions, governments and industry to ensure our information and advice maintains relevance and keeps pace with the rapidly evolving market for efficient, sustainable technology.

Community connections

Renew members form a vibrant network of people actively reducing their impact on the environment by making tangible changes to their homes and lifestyles, and sharing skills with people in their area. There are volunteer-run branches in most major cities and several regional areas around Australia, including the Hunter. One of the reasons this national sustainability organisation has persisted for so many decades is due to its ability to connect with people and places through its network of community-based branches.

The main goals of Renew branches are to:

  • learn more about sustainability
  • connect with sustainability experts, enthusiasts and learners
  • inspire more Australians to live sustainably
  • advocate for change that benefits all Australians and the planet.

Hunter Region Branch

Following a couple of years in recess, the Hunter Region Branch re-emerged in Spring 2022 at the Sustainable Futures Festival in Port Stephens. We met many people keen to learn about making their homes more energy efficient, growing their own food or keeping their local neighbourhoods clean and green.

Renew member, Les Pinney, spoke to people about his electric vehicle and showed them its features along with handy advice from an owner’s perspective. In feedback received, we know of 5 people who indicated they were ready to buy an EV after talking to Les! Read about Les’s experience with his EV.

At the festival, Neil Ritchie displayed his DIY portable sun-tracking solar panel and described how to construct one yourself for camping or caravanning trips. Neil wrote about this project in the September 2021 edition of EcoUpdate. Read the article.

The branch is looking for opportunities to connect homeowners, renters, businesses, schools and groups in the Hunter’s regional communities with the expert advice and support for us to learn to live, work and play in a sustainable and healthy way. Networking and creating partnerships is one way of achieving this. We are keen to hear from anyone wishing to join Renew, volunteer or just come along to our events and activities. Share your knowledge and expertise like Les and Neil – or join us along the steep learning curve we are all on!

We are initially focusing on events leading up to and including Sustainable House Day, a nationwide open home event which Renew has been organising independently since 2017.

Sustainable House Day (SHD)

This popular event will provide you with the opportunity to explore some of Australia’s unique eco-homes either in person or online. It will bring you in touch with homeowners who have built or renovated their properties using sustainable principles. There will be opportunities to get expert advice, insight and genuine tips from friendly folk not trying to sell you a product or service. The next SHD is on Sunday 19 March 2023 and there is a lead-up program already underway called Sustainable Design 101. This consists of around 20 webinars ranging in topics from Retrofitting for resilience to Selecting the right windows or the right solar for your home. For more information or to book, read more.

The Hunter Region Branch will be hosting open homes in several locations. Join our mailing list to receive prior notification of open homes and a program of other planned activities, workshops and events. Please email the branch convenor Ewa Meyer:

How to get involved

So … what can you expect if you join us? Well it’s up to you – as much or as little as you like!

  • Contact the Hunter Region Branch and ask to be added to our mailing list for local events and activities. Let us know your areas of interest.
  • Join Renew as a member
  • Subscribe to one or both magazines – Sanctuary and Renew
  • Buy a magazine gift subscription for family or friends
  • Do you, or someone you know, have a home that could be showcased on Sustainable House Day? Please read the criteria and other information here.

Useful links: