A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Live Greener with Inspiration and Ideas for Sustainable Living
On Sunday 13th of September 2015, green homes across Australia will open to provide practical information on how to integrate sustainable practices into the everyday home and lifestyle. Creating an Environmentally Healthy Home is a goal that many aspire to, but in practice it helps to learn from people who have already made a successful transition to a more sustainable home.
Sustainable House Day Sustainable House Day is a national event that was established in 2001 to showcase living greener and the possibilities and challenges. In 2015 is will feature over 200 environmentally healthy Australian homes, including urban, rural, retrofit, purpose built and owner-builder properties. It is a valuable resource for anyone looking for inspiration, ideas and the key to sustainable living. In many locations experienced builders, architects, designers and sustainability group members will be on hand to provide valuable expert advice.
Sustainable Homes and Living As Australians become more aware about home sustainability, many are looking for guidance and easy-to-follow steps. It is hard to know where to start or where to get information on the latest technologies. Sustainable House Day is not just about words, but giving people the chance to see real life homes and actual models of sustainable living achieved by ordinary Australians. Nine out of 10 visitors to listed homes are influenced by what they have seen and learned. The event is a hands-on way of helping to bring about a reduction in society's environmental footprint.
Aldinga Arts Eco Village is a community built on sustainable practices. I had the opportunity to tour this development ahead of Sustainable House day. It raised my awareness level of what is possible and the innovative energy saving initiatives that are a reality here.
Solar Power All of the homes in this 125 house development on over 80 hectares have solar power, rain water tanks and all properties face North to take maximum advantage of solar power. Many of the houses also have features such as thermal pane windows and pergolas on the North to provide shade in summer and light and warmth in winter.
Some of the houses are fitted with substantial battery packs that enable the storage of power and run entirely on solar. In one house I visited the owner also had a totally electric car, a Nissan, that was powered by the home solar system and battery pack. The Eastern states will soon have battery-charging stations along the highway for cars such as these. Technology is moving in developing new energy sources and modes of transport.
Compost, Garden Spaces and Orchards at Aldinga Eco Village
Garden Spaces and Orchards The Eco Village has large common areas of shared land, orchards and paths plus drainage ponds from a system of swales. The common land plants are either edible or native to promote productive and water wise garden spaces.
Water Recycling All grey water including sewerage is reused in a system of recycling. The village has a series of drainage catchment areas and a water treatment system. All the recycled water is returned for use on the orchard and garden.
Worm Farm The compost system for the large orchards and vegetable gardens includes a huge worm farm. Everything is productive and waste is minimised. Produce from the gardens is sold at a weekly market and residents can order ahead what they need from the garden. There are paid gardeners and a lot of residents who volunteer their time in the garden.
The village is very much open plan with no fences. Landscaping is at a high standard with some beautiful designs, paths and garden beds. There are some verges on the roads to slow traffic, which are being trialled.
Open Day Tours Aldinga Arts Eco Village has a range of seven star energy rated homes. The sustainable House Day will present the public with the opportunity for free tours of these homes. A chance to talk to the owners who have worked on the design and build of these homes. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll around the lovely wetlands, and gardens. Plus investigate the waste water treatment plant, very large worm farm, edible landscape and orchards.
Pop Up Café This event will also feature its own pop up cafe. Stop by the soup kitchen and have some homemade soup or yummy coffee and cake. This is a not for profit event and is designed to educate people interested in learning more about sustainable homes and enjoying this gem of a community.
One of the homes on display for Sustainable House Day is a straw bale home. When I visited the owner had just closed up all the curtains in the house at 4pm to ensure all heat that had accumulated in the house during the day would help keep the home warm in the evening. The home was indeed warm on a cold winters day. It also had earth floors, which the owners were in the process of replacing. Owners of sustainable houses are able to give information on what has worked for them and what has been a challenge. They welcome questions. The earth floor sits on top of a concrete slab. The exterior of the home had large windows facing north with an open pergola and bare vines. The home had a sense of quiet presence about it with its unique design.
The straw bale home has a feature known as an Honesty window. This gives the viewer the experience of seeing what the walls are made of. The home had many other interesting windows with big ledges, but this was by far the most intriguing.
Visiting the Village
The Aldinga Arts Eco village will have several homes open with Sustainable House Day 2015. Visitors are welcomed between 10am and 4pm. Meet at the car park at 173 Port Road, Aldinga for a map with open houses and pop up cafe listed. For other locations in Adelaide check out their website for directions. See info online here
Sustainable living brings together principals for using energy efficiently. So often householders do not think about the amount of power and water they use. There are inspiring technologies in building energy efficient homes and it is worth taking a tour to find out more. These homes bring together warmth, shelter and green spaces that not only save money but help the environment we live in.
I've been involved with this event since it started and it's a great opportunity to visit houses, feel how well they perform and ask the owners about how they went about the new build/extension/renovation.