Sustainable home opens its doors
A home in Empire Bay is opening its doors to visitors on September 16, as part of Sustainable House Day.
The reborn old fibro cottage in Empire Bay is a revitalised 100-year-old cottage that has been updated into an open-plan home with sustainable materials, energy efficiency features, and clean energy.
The dilapidated fibro-and-iron cottage was moved to its present site about 30 years ago, according to owner and designer, Mr Michael Lever.
"It is a classic reminder of the simple weekenders or fishermen's shacks of a bygone age," he said.
"The tiny cottage needed extending and a total update, so it was an ideal opportunity to make it more sustainable and energy efficient whilst retaining its simple character.
"As almost all the internal and external linings were asbestos cement sheets (fibro), they had to go, leaving just the original hardwood frames.
"The walls were re-clad in steel and weatherboards and sheets in a matrix pattern.
"They have excellent environmental credentials and are reminiscent of the original material used to build the cottage.
"Internally, the cottage has seen the most changes.
"Most of the walls were removed to form an open-plan living area.
"An important consideration was to be able to see the street and the rear garden from the kitchen, the heart of the home.
"Most of the original timber frame was replaced, but the timber was used to make the outdoor studio, which also utilised the only useable window and external door
"Old internal doors and as much of the old skirtings and architraves that were OK were reused, and the original weatherboards were salvaged and repurposed, for example, on the barn door and kitchen cabinets.
"The two-storey extension is located to the south side and faces the almost-true-north wall.
"Energy efficiency was another major design criterion, and the extension is a typical passive solar design oriented to allow the winter sun to fall onto the almost-black ceramic tiles through large double-glazed sliding doors.
"The home has been well insulated, rewired and re-plumbed, and uses the 6000L water tanks to irrigate the fruit trees in the garden as well as the toilets and laundry.
"Rainwater is also used to supply the hot water tank, which is heated using evacuated tube solar panels.
"Having saved it from the bulldozers, it is my intention that this home will survive for another century at least."
Visitors can tour the home from 10am to 4pm and get advice from the owners about the benefits of features such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and passive design.
Entry is free with no booking required.
Sustainable House Day is a national event which aims to give people a view into more than 250 homes designed, built, or renovated with energy efficiency and environmental living in mind.
Media release, 23 Aug 2018
Vaidehi Shah, Climate Media Centre