Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bathroom with a view

Principle 6: Produce no waste
Principle 8: Integrate rather than segregate

The bathroom design works in conjunction with a greenhouse. The greenhouse, kitchen and bathroom are linked together, allowing for heat exchange.
There was some deliberation about whether or not the bathroom should remain open to the greenhouse. It was felt that the greenhouse would make the bathroom uncomfortable during the summer if it couldn't be separated, but it would be good to open it up during the colder months. A louvre window in the kitchen can be opened up when extra warmpth is required in the main living space.
A separate toilet room has been built next to the bathroom. The toilet has been plumbed for a conventional flush system (with black water bypassing the greywater system), but it's placement allows for an enhanced composting system (warmer space to assist in decomposition) or good access for a simple collection device for a composting system, like the loveable loo.
The door, floor boards, greenhouse framing, cement sheeting, sink and bath were all purchased second hand. The white tiles and grout were a gift from a friend who wasn't using them and the blue tiles were purchased new from a local supplier.
The pitch of the roof was designed to accommodate a solar hot water system, which is within close proximity to the areas in which the water will be used. All hot water pipes are heavily lagged, to retain heat and reduce wastage. A wood stove with a wet-back will back-up the system during the colder months when cloudy weather may not heat the water enough. The stove will heat the house and water when it is needed most.
The solar hot water / heat exchange / wood stove system set up was a system that was recommended to me by Richard Morton from Sun Real, whom I purchased the system through. Richard was very helpful in working out the best system for my needs and budget.
A gas-boosted hot water system has been accommodated for, but not purchased. It was felt that the combination of the solar and wood fired boost would suffice for our needs.



Greenhouse frame being constructed by Quentin onto north (sun) side of bathroom

 Bathroom floored & doored using recycled materials


Bath / shower plumbed in with taps fitted to right of the picture. These were moved for better access.


Taps in new position, walls and bath insulated


Cement sheeting from the kitchen of the original house reused to clad the wet area. Holes filled with silicon and walls painted with boncete to seal the surface.


Bathroom tiling equipment. Level bar in background fixed to stop tiles slipping.


Doug fixing tiles to wall in bathroom. Tile cutter in foreground.


Bathroom tiling all fixed, ready for grouting

Savva and Bo installing solar hot water system above bathroom

Tedson Heat Exchanger installed under solar hot water system. This system collects heat from the wood stove wet-back and traqnsfers it to the hot water tank on the roof. See diagram

Tedson Heat Exchanger diagram (source: Going Solar)

Friday, April 23, 2010

"The best decking in Seymour"

Principle 5: Use and value renewable resources and services

 Red Gum that was felled, milled and dried on the house site for use as decking - amongst other things

Our original plan with the rear decking was to attach it to the slab of the house. Chris (from Chris's Timber) convinced me that it would be better to set the decking up independantly from the house, on stumps, because it would be so heavy. I decided to coat the bearers and joists with raw linseed oil to help preserve them, and cover the bearers with recycled iron, and joists with rubber to resist rot.
The Red Gum boards that were milled up on the site spent a bit over a year drying before being taken around to Chris's Timber for thicknessing. All of the shavings were collected to be used at the house site.
There were just enough of the right sized boards for the job, quite a bit or work was required to fill the gaps with resin and straighten them up again. Brian suggested that the boards be painted on both the top and bottom to extend their life. I painted them with Bio Natural Timber exterior oil with a total of three coats.
The smaller front deck is under a verandah, while I've covered the bearers and joists with iron and rubber I haven't oiled the sub-structure or the underside of the boards. Peter got some heavy duty brackets made up locally which connect the bearers to the house and bush pole. Again, there was just enough boards for the job - just luck or destiny?

Dylan suggested that stringlines be used to ensure that the screws all lined up, not vital for the function, but attractive all the same. My partner Kunie thinks that it's "the best decking in Seymour", I'm inclined to agree.


Decking sub-structure under construction. Recycled gutter downpipe used to cover bearers and protect against rot.


Raw linsed oil used on decking sub-structure


Red Gum boards that were grown, milled and dried at the house site


Chris's Timber, Seymour - Boards getting thicknessed. Originally cut at 40mm, reduced to 32mm after drying and thicknessing.


Shavings from thicknessing of Red Gum boards collected to be used on site


Preparing boards for filling with resin using wood filler for large holes and duct tape for smaller ones. Joists covered with rubber cover strips to protect against rot.


Red Gum board filled with resin before being sanded


Boards being plained to get them straight. One edge is scribed with a straight edge, plained and then the other edge is scribed using the adjustable square before being plained.


Mark painting boards with Bio Natural Timber exterior oil on both the top and bottom


Decking being laid out by Dylan and Doug with 7mm spacers between each board. String line used to mark for drilling holes. 75mm galvanised batten screws used to fix boards.


Mark displays decking after being trimmed and painted with timber oil


Front deck installed, ready for sanding and oiling