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 home was also featured in Sanctuary Magazine (Issue 29, 2014).
Owner: Janet Stephens
Design: Creations In Parallel
Build: Creations In Parallel & Sustainable Structures