Kate and Stephen’s early vision to live sustainably and regeneratively has been a long and enjoyable evolution from designing Permaculture landscapes, based on shared knowledge from Bill Mollison and David Holmgren first publications, they have reaped the rewards of producing and preserving their own food for the last 32 years. Designing and building solar passive homes were a logic step. They have incorporated many sustainable practices and technologies into their home, a labour of love, at Logans Beach, which they are willing to share.
‘Sea Mist’, the property they have developed since moving from Darwin to Warrnambool in 1998, sits on an ancient sand-dune. It is a north-east facing, two acre, battle-axe block with beautiful views, but extreme challenges: wild winds, salt spray, limestone, very free draining soils and steep slopes.
The direction and slope is very welcome, helping many things. This includes being able to have swales through out the property, storing much needed water in the soil and allowing the houses to be located at the top, the crest of a hill, getting sun all day and capturing all prevailing winds.
As the climate is mainly cool temperate, the buildings are East, North and West facing with clerestory windows to ensure maximum use of the sun’s energy. In summer wide eves, heavy curtaining and blinds are used to block the heat out. The multi-level block veneer house design has been constructed with the use of some concrete slabs and an elevated (Dura gal) floor system (post, barer & joist). This allows for easy access to the house services, water sewerage, grey water, power and Ethernet system. Not only do the multi – levels ensures that views are captured from many aspects, but it also offers great cross ventilation, through the use of mostly awning and some sashless double hung windows, sliding and French doors and internally sliding doors and internal louvers.
All buildings have double glazed windows and sections of the buildings sitting on concrete slab built into the hill provide spaces with particularly even temperatures, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer.
The property has 2 electricity metres. Solar power was not affordable when building in 2003, but it is something that was high on the priority list. The main house has two solar systems a 3.5 kw solar power system installed in 2011 and a 10 kw system in stalled in 2018. The other metre has an 8 kw system installed in 2018.
Permaculture principles have been incorporated, including rainwater collection in 2 x 30,000 litre tanks and 1 x 10,000 litre over flow tank for extra summer irrigation. Grey and black water is treated Ozzie Kleen 100% aerobic household sewage treatment systems; the recycled water irrigates many of the gardens via a four-port automatic valve system and a manual value distribution system to ensure the distribution of water goes where it is needed. Worm farms, composting, companion planting and crop rotation, with poultry and bees at work. In defined zones, they have herb, vegetable and berry gardens just outside the homes. Meandering paths through the food forest leads to garden rooms, providing space for the spirit and wildlife habitat. A fenced orchard gives varied and abundant fruit, herbs and more vegetables.