This year, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked mothers that pioneered impactful enterprises and are part of our Ethical Lifestyle Hub Directory, what is driving them to lead a business with purpose. Those we highlight are mothers of strength, compassion, and resilience - working toward betting the world around them as well as being a mother. This blog highlights Ingrid Graze of Zero Living Co.
Zero Energy Homes, education, workshops, and related ZERO products for the home. We build and sell ZERO Energy Homes in the inner urban areas of Melbourne. We hold free introductory ZERO Workshops. We sell education programs and ZERO workshops. We have a range of eco products for the home. Workshops and Services; Zero Energy Homes
When I entered the property and development arena 30 years ago, it was a passion for property and the financial freedom it brought. It was very much a male-dominated industry and still is to a large degree today. At the time I never understood the impact of what housing and housing designs have on a community, the environment and the planet. I was young single and the opportunities and freedom of the times led me in many directions.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant that everything started to change. I looked at food and how it was grown, and moved to organic food, I looked at education and started to study the different methods on offer and started to study the Steiner methods, I looked around at the world and began to see the fragility and magnificence of nature around us and then as the years passed, I looked at our property engineering and design company and began to see the need to change what we were doing.
We began by creating smaller footprints and being more conscious of our decisions on where to buy land and how it can be more optimally used. This become our Small footprint phase and we have left behind us, some smaller well-designed homes, that created a lesser impact on our planet.
As our boys grew and we travelled all over the world with them, we saw first-hand the miracles and magnificence of the planet, our preference even early on, were always eco-resorts, before it was trendy or the right thing to do - it was just part of our lives.
We were very fortunate to have witnessed so many amazing things with them, swimming with a Mum and baby whale, watching in the middle of the night a huge sea turtle laying its eggs near our hut, a platypus just quietly swimming in a river near us, a rainbow of coral and fish that is hard to describe in words, a giraffe giving birth, watching a reticulated python eating a mouse deer right in front of us, monkeys throwing coconuts at us from the tops of the jungle, elephants washing in the river and wandering the plains, dolphins coming in to feed, kangaroos in our backyard, an echidna walking past our bedroom window peacefully scrounging - so many amazing sights, the oceans so big and powerful, the mountains so magnificent, so much beauty, so much fragility. These things need to be preserved, every generation should be experiencing them and visiting these special places.
After seeing and experiencing all this, it just didn’t seem enough anymore to continue on the same path. We had to do so much more, we had to reach deeply and move toward a complete disruptor in the housing industry. So began our journey to ZERO living. Our vision was of sustainable, healthy homes, independent from corporate decisions, homes of quality with a small if not zero impact on the earth, and homes that had no electricity bills. So began a journey of the decade, Swinburne University joined us along the way to help us to develop and research our homes. The path has been long and at times arduous, but along the way with sojourns to nature, watching the growth of our boys, and seeing how the planet was changing, kept us focused on achieving our dreams for a new style of housing for everyone. These “eco-warrior” homes look completely normal, they are generous in their design and have high-end white goods gracing their kitchens, but each and everyone is a micropower station and a legacy for the future of this planet.
Fast forward and now just before this Mothers Day in 2022, we were at the Melbourne Home. Show launching our first ZERO homes in Albion and Footscray and the ready-made model of a ZERO home that can be built on a home buyer’s land. These homes, that have ZERO electricity bills, provide full comfort, and healthy living and produce twice as much energy as you need – are at the cutting edge of a new style of housing that we all hope will disrupt the housing industry. It was amazing to discuss our new home design with young and old alike and to offer something that can be very affordable and sustainable to the home buyers of the future. Our boys stood with us and described these homes to all the interested members of the public. They communicated to the younger set, who with all the anxiety of climate change, were needing hope as did our boys over the years. They willingly grabbed brochures and brought their parents back to speak to us. It is to the next generation we speak most loudly, but it is our generation that must start. And so it has begun…….
Happy Mothers Day to all Mums out there, bravely championing their children, supporting them and nurturing them and all that is good around them. We mums are the conduit to the nature and magnificence in this world and we will keep it safe for our children and our children’s children and beyond.