As part of our commitment to creating more sustainable lifestyles, we undertake Projects to develop sustainable housing.
Daylesford Eco Home Workshops
November 13, 2005
Workshops will be held on site in Daylesford. Additional workshop dates may be offered. Special workshops available for groups or on consultancy.
Daylesford, Central Victoria
In 1994 a 2200m2 block of land in the Central Victorian country town was purchased with the plan to build 2-3 houses with home office/studios and other shared resources. Key aims were energy efficiency, to counter the emerging public image that 'green' housing only provided limited choice in design, to use recycled materials and environmental products.
The first house was built in 1995 easily achieving well above the 5 star Energy Victoria rating. This included easy options like passive solar design, having the stairs to the attic bedroom closed off from the living area, a wood heater rather than an open fire.
The use of materials was not part of the rating we but used second hand windows or windows made from recycled timbers, second hand doors, and recycled timber for the kitchen, the stairs and bathroom cupboards. It was curious and joyful living in a house which did not feel new, neighbours and visitors commenting about the nice renovation!
As Daylesford is in the middle of the Wombat State Forest we chose a timber house specifying no rainforest timbers. A cement slab provides the thermal mass. The garden has been developed to be an edible landscape of fruit and nut trees, with productive crops such as garlic and cut flowers.
The next stage of the project commenced with the inaugural OzECO Design Competition for a Concept Plan for the other 1-2 dwellings and studios/home offices and shared resources. Currently in this township the block of land could be sub-divided into three titles.
The key aims of the Competition were to consider embodied energy efficiency, particularly in the building materials. This included materials such as straw bale, rammed or poured earth, mud brick, new or secondhand timber, new or second hand brick. Despite being a wet and cold climate the recent drought had increased the emphasis on water retention. Grey and black water systems and composting toilets were to be considered with the overriding principles for site development being Permaculture.
This project will continue during 2005, to be involved in project, see workshop info above.
Erskineville, Sydney, NSW.
A 300m2 inner city suburban block with reasonably good solar access and a rear lane on to a park. The first step of this project was assessment of whether the old Victorian weatherboard and fibro cottage could or should be retained. This was to include retrofitting and incorporation into a new building, or if not, whether the materials could or should be recycled. For example, considerable pest damage 10 years ago, which was 'nuked' with traditional pest control methods. Solar power, possibly through the building materials, and Grid connection, were to be considered, as well as water retention, black and greywater systems and composting toilets.
During 1998 two teams developed their Concept Plan for the site. The brief included two energy efficient dwellings, home office/studios, Permaculture and embodied energy efficiency.
One of the teams who considered the existing dwelling and sheds should be demolished was selected and the Concept Plan was submitted to Council for discussion.
Council's response was that an Heritage Assessment should be undertaken before demolition could be considered.
A Heritage Architect was engaged and the following assessment indicated the dwelling should be retained as a fine example of inner Sydney architecture from the early 1900s. Consequently, we are now in the process of adjusting our Brief to retrofit the existing dwelling to retain the heritage aspects.
We welcome your feedback and input about our Projects. In particular we would welcome information about similar Projects being undertaken around the world.
If you have a question or comments please email us