The looming end of the year reminds me that its almost the first anniversary of publication of the biggest editing project I’ve ever managed. And a good idea for an environmentally friendly, and very useful, Christmas present.
Your Home: Australia’s guide to environmentally sustainable homes, an Australian Government publication, was substantially revised for this 5th edition, and the editing was a Kangaroo Island project.
I didn’t do it alone. My neighbour and fellow IPEd Distinguished Editor, Karen Disney, helped with the 14 month-long project. We each took sections to edit and then swapped for the second edit.
The 574-page book has six main sections – Before you begin, Passive design, Materials, Energy, Water, and Housing of the Future.
Each section comprises many articles, and case studies feature recently built or renovated homes in different climatic zones across Australia. The appendices give background information on safely and security, streetscape, landscape and garden design, noise control, soil control, and the healthy home.
The job of an editor is to ensure consistency, clarity and correctness in a publication. In this book, with almost 50 authors and an assortment of government departments as publisher at different times, a consistent and clear voice throughout is quite a challenge.
The sheer volume of material makes the editing complex. It’s all about keeping track of where you are and the editing decisions you have made and applied. And communicating with each other in the editing team.
Our scope of work included ensuring that permissions and high resolution images were obtained for all illustrations – a much bigger job than we had appreciated when we began. Many images were available only in low resolution, or the owner would not give permission or could not be found. Dale Arnott, also a Dudley Peninsula resident, took on this often fruitless task.
Often, it was easier to take the photo myself. So, the book has a Penneshaw flavour – our own houses are on show as are Bev and Hartley Willson’s pelmets and Prue and Graham Trethewey’s log cabin walls.
The focus is on environmentally sustainable housing but it also features the types of decisions that save money in the medium to long term, and the order in which decisions need to be made and tasks completed. And it has invaluable advice on energy and water saving.
Having read it from cover to cover several times, I can recommend it for anyone who is building, buying or renovating a home. Following its suggestions can only benefit the conservation of nature that Kangaroo Island is famous for.