Marlon Kobacker is a sustainability expert with Clean Energy Corporation Australia, a company with a business model aimed at encouraging the reduction of carbon emissions by eliminating the capital cost barrier associated with the implementation of clean energy technologies. A longtime resident of New South Wales in Australia, Marlon’s work with Clean Energy Corporation Australia is primarily based in Sydney but also takes him all over the world as the company attempts to demonstrate the practicality of green building practices in younger markets.

Serving as the principal responsible for leading the sustainability advisory team, Marlon brings over 13 years of industry experience in which he has advised both public and private organizations on an international scale. Marlon’s varied experience on the international level has been essential and has ensured that his advice is based on a variety of critical factors influencing an ultimately positive outcome. In addition to his work with public and private organizations, Marlon has also been a featured speaker at a number of international conferences, with his frequent travels including regular trips to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and, of course, Australia.

A graduate of the University of New South Wales, Marlon holds an undergraduate degree in photovoltaic engineering and a master’s degree in sustainable building. Before embarking on his professional career in the sustainability and renewable energy industry, Marlon accepted a position as a lecturer and tutor at the University of New South Wales, where he also worked on the development of a course offered by the UNSW School of Renewable Energy Engineering, which was titled, “Solar Architectural Technologies.”

In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?

I bought a house in Sutherland, New South Wales a few years ago. It’s about 30 minutes from the office and it’s really easy to get to the airport from there.

What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?

I lived mostly in apartments in the downtown area of Sydney. There were a few places I shared with roommates and others in which I was the sole occupant, but I travel so extensively that renting quickly became inconvenient.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?

I was away from Sydney so often that continuing to pay rent while I was traveling abroad was wasteful, but I also disliked having to return to Sydney knowing that I would have to find a new and potentially short-term apartment. It just made more sense to buy a property I could rent out while I was away from home.

How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?

I’ve never been into spending excessively or unnecessarily, so I had more than enough savings for a healthy down payment. The mortgage is quite affordable as well.

When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.

Mostly as an investment. I figured I could rent it out while I traveled and could make upgrades while I was home.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?

The property is set up so that there is a lot of open space, but that open space is also surrounded by vegetation that creates a nice sense of privacy. Since the property gets lots of sunshine, I have been able to set it up for solar power, and I really appreciate the short commute to the office and the airport.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?

I initially was looking for something really remote on a big piece of land, but this has turned out to be a nice compromise.

Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?

The property is set up to function on solar energy, and I added a few structures to the property, including a greenhouse and a simple but sizable workshop space.

Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.

Since I only bought the property recently, most of the time I am there I spend working on some sort of project to upgrade the property. Of course, I am quite fond of being able to do that.

Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?

I still live there, though I am considering building a tiny, energy-efficient house on the property so I can rent out the main house on a full-time basis.

What advice would you give other first time home buyers?

It is great to have an ideal property in mind, but you should also know what aspects of a home you might be willing to compromise on.

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