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Posts from the ‘Off-grid Designs’ Category

Sustainable Building Design Services

As part of our services we offer consultation & design right from the concept design stage, to town planning applications & architectural drawings, through to building permit application and everything required to be ready to build.

We can provide designs completely from scratch, or work with design ideas you may already have.

We can provide advice on optimal layout for passive solar gain, materials and design features to improve sustainability and off-grid or alternative energy systems.

There is an ever-increasing range of products and materials that are improving the availability and choice for home design, as well as the tried and tested methods of natural building that have been around for centuries and are now seeing a resurgence.

Being able to provide design services as well as building & construction, means that we have more control over being able to design a home that has a high level of sustainability and is in line with the client’s budget, whilst still being functional to build.

Aspects that may be included in a sustainable home include:

  • Natural materials – rammed earth, cob, straw bale, stone, brick
  • Recycled materials
  • Natural Renders
  • Sustainably sourced Australian plantation timbers
  • Designs for those who wish to be completely off-grid
  • Alterations to existing dwellings
  • Increased self-sufficiency for city living
  • Products with low toxicity
  • Products with low embedded energy
  • Double-glazing on windows
  • Passive solar orientation/design
  • Earthen floors
  • Heating – heat pump systems, solar and combustion stove systems
  • Composting toilets
  • Grey-water systems
  • Natural ventilation
  • Built to last
  • Water storage
  • Landscaping to improve energy efficiency
  • Attached green houses/green spaces
  • Creative spaces – bottle walls, free-form walls

 

Jeraboam Eco-lodge

This property is located in a beautiful part of the Grampians in Victoria and is completely self-sufficient. The concept was an environmentally friendly design aimed at blending in with the natural environment.

The house has a passive solar orientation and design and is completely off-grid. The footprint of the house was minimised, with a floor plan of 11 squares. The design consists of two bedrooms (including the main bedroom upstairs) and a third bedroom/study, with a comfortable living, dining and kitchen area downstairs. Bushfire protection was an important aspect of the design as was incorporating adequate storage.

Rammed earth walls constitute the main building component using locally sourced gravel from less than 30km away from the site. The thermal mass principles of rammed earth work well in this climate and the building maintains a constant comfortable temperature in both summer and winter.

Hot water is provided by a solar system with a combustion stove in the kitchen providing the boost for times when there is not enough solar gain. The stove also provides a means of heating for the house and cooking. An LPG gas stove is used as an alternative for cooking during summer.

An open fireplace, built from locally sourced Dunkeld sandstone provides additional heating and ambiance. Wood for heating is sourced selectively from the dead wood on the property ensuring to leave wildlife habitat.

Double-glazed windows are used throughout with the windows framed from sustainably sourced smoked Baltic pine. Grape vines on the north-facing pergola provide shade in summer and allow light in during winter.

Electricity is provided by a full solar system with battery storage. LED lighting is used throughout the home.

The original design incorporated a composting toilet, however issues with council regulations for kitchen waste, meant that a septic system was required. The owners decided to negate further costs by installing a conventional toilet. All water is supplied from a 40,000 litre water tank attached to the house plus 2×25,000 litre tanks attached to a shed.

The owners have since developed a large productive food garden as well as native drought tolerant plantings/landscaping.

The eco-lodge is available as a short-term holiday rental on stayz.com.au or visit http://www.jeraboamecolodge.com/.

The home was also featured in Sanctuary Magazine (Issue 29, 2014).

Owner: Janet Stephens  

Design: Creations In Parallel    

Build: Creations In Parallel & Sustainable Structures 

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