Green house rating

Terra Firma Academy interviewed residential eco consultant, Martina Gluckman, a thought leader in the field of residential eco-consulting. She has designed and delivered numerous courses in this field. Martina has personally educated hundreds of students who today make up the green professional workforce that is changing the residential landscape for the better.

Terra Firma Academy
How efficient do you think most South African homes are when it comes to electricity use?
Martina Gluckman
Wastefully inefficient. To put a number to it, probably 30-50% can be slashed off the bill quite easily. In SA we have been spoiled by cheap electricity, and that reflects in the way we use appliances, lights cooling and heating systems. In fact, often it reflects in the way our homes were designed and built.
Terra Firma Academy
As parents we are often concerned about using contaminants for cleaning in our homes. How do you recommend we eradicate these?
Martina Gluckman
Quite simply: avoid buying them. As consumers we have a choice what we purchase and then bring into our private space. If all we purchase is biodegradable as well as harmless to us our children or pets even, we won’t have any contaminants or potentially harmful substances in our homes.
Terra Firma Academy
How can one become a Residential Eco-Consultant?
Martina Gluckman
Terra Firma Academy offers a 3 day course which teaches all environmental aspects of the residential environment. After that it is simply a matter of getting some experience in the field. My advice to students is to perform a number of free eco consultations for friends and relatives with various house sizes and lifestyles. That way one is certain to get exposed to different issues and test one’s methodology. At the same time, one can gain references as well.
Terra Firma Academy
What kind of qualifications does one need to be eligible for this course?
Martina Gluckman
There are no definite or must-have qualifications. Common knowledge of mathematics, writing skills and an organisational ability are enough to get started. Being in the field of residential services however can be a great starting point. Interior designers, interior decorators, renovators, small builders, handymen and maintenance service providers can benefit immensely from eco consulting. It would give these professionals a competitive advantage.
Terra Firma Academy
Can you describe what kind of savings a Residential Eco-Consultant can give home owners or renters?
Martina Gluckman
Every household is different, but as a general rule of thumb, at least 30-40% of water and electricity bills can be cut. Some retrofits have such good return on investments – fund managers and banks can only dream of them.
Terra Firma Academy
What are the 5 residential Eco areas where the best savings can be made?
Martina Gluckman
• First and foremost electricity used by the hot water geyser, light bulbs, heating or cooling systems, sometimes appliances such as home computers and entertainment set-ups.
• Secondly, water used for garden, toilets and showering can offer enormous savings.
• An eco consultant will be able to assess which specific area in a particular household will yield the most savings, and how these savings can be achieved and best implemented.
Terra Firma Academy
How many Residential Eco-Consultants have you trained in the last few years and do you know if most of them are working as Residential Eco-Consultants?
Martina Gluckman
I have trained around 80 people with various backgrounds, the youngest was just 19 and the oldest over 70. Unfortunately, I am too busy with my work to afford the luxury of following up with my students. Though, I did come across some web sites and marketing of previous learners. That made me proud.
Terra Firma Academy
How would I charge if I was a residential Eco-Consultant. What formula do you use to calculate your fees?
Martina Gluckman
There is no set rule, and every consultant will have different ideas. What works for me is to take a percentage of the annual utility bill of a household. These bills often reflect both the size and the level of efficiency of a household. The higher the bills, the more inefficiencies and issues are there to audit and assess.
Terra Firma Academy
When is your next course and how much does it cost?
Martina Gluckman
The next course will take place in February next year. The cost is R4,000 excl. VAT