What features make a house an eco-house? Joe and Karen opened their three-year-old home at Noosaville as part of Sustainable House Day, and it was visited by 550 people, alongside the electric car display that we took part in. As well as being a beautiful house, it has been designed with great thoughtfulness to be as energy and water efficient as possible. The carbon footprint of the materials used to build have also been carefully considered, with a focus on local and recycled and sustainable building supplies.
See the photos below and this list of features:
- A roof perfectly orientated northwards with a slope of 18 degrees to fit an 10 kW solar pv system, producing an average of 48 kWh per day.
- The solar electricity is partly used to run a fully electric Tesla Model S.
- The foundation here is screw piles. The architect estimates that these enabled the use of about 385 tonnes less concrete than would have been required for a normal foundation. Concrete production is responsible for 5% of the world’s carbon emissions.
- The floors are all recycled Blackbutt. These were manufactured from larger boards from old buildings.
- Sun control: a mixture of fixed and retractable shades are configured to prevent summer sun from entering the house while admitting winter sun.
- Insulating air cushion: the lower floor sits about a metre above the ground, and the entire area under the house is surrounded by a skirt which captures a large mass of cool air. In summer floor vents in an internal room can be opened to allow this cool air to circulate into the house.
- The water heater is an evacuated tube solar system with a 360 litre tank.
- A garden planted with herbs, vegetables, fruit trees and bush foods, but no grass. The chooks turn kitchen waste and used coffee grounds from a local shop into natural fertiliser.
- The initial 5,000 litres tank installed for using to provide non-potable water (garden, washing machine, toilets) was later added to with another 15 000 litres in bladder tanks stored under the house. Water pumped to your house requires a lot of energy to treat, process and pump it, so water collected on-site is much more energy-efficient.
- High internal windows and louvres for cross-ventilation.
N.B. Thank you to Joe for providing the notes from his display signs, which gave me many interesting details for the above text.