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Showing posts from March, 2011

Spreading the word

Principle 8: Integrate rather than segregate

Today I received a copy of Owner Builder magazine, which features Abdallah House in the centre spread, six pages in all. It's a good summary of what we have been up to here and is sure to help get the story out to a wider audience.

I've also entered a competition called Sustainabilty Drive. It gives up to 20 people in the street the opportunity to share in $1 million in sustainability features. I got interested in the idea after I realised that it was a great way to share a little of what we are doing with people around us. Perhaps we might even win too? Yer... right. Anyway, I've put together and entry and I'm in the process of putting together a letter that I am going to drop into my neighbours letterboxes to invite them to join in. Check out my submission and click the green button if you like it.

Coming up soon there are a couple of opportunities for people (like you?) to come and visit the property to see what it's …

Renewable energy solutions

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Principle 5: Use and value renewable resources and services

Since moving into the house nine months ago we have been using no electricity or gas to produce hot water (except for cooking), which is normally one of the heaviest consumers of non renewable energy in the typical 'first world' home. The system that we installed is a combination of a solar hot water system with a wood fired stove to back it up. It's made up of Australian made components that  includes a heat exchanger, situated below the hot water tank. I was usnsure whether we needed to include a gas booster to back it up further and so arranged for the plumbing to allow for one during construction just in case.
The system was designed with consultation with Richard Morton at Sun Real. I've found it extremely valuable to work through my ideas with a professional that has had many years experience and knows what works and what doesn't. I've come across sales people before that are pushy with particular…

Finishing off the cellar

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Principle 1: Observe and interact

The time had come to focus on the cellar and try to address the final issues surrounding water infiltration. There have been a number of issues that I had encounted earlier:
Water was running under the house during minor flood events and finding its way into the cool cupboard pipe, which runs into the cellar. This was addressed by building up earthern banks around the low points around the edges of the building.Water was running into the cellar during minor flood events via the hole that was left for the outlet for the sump pump and rainwater pressure pump, which is located inside. Earth was built up around the edge of the cellar to reduce this.Water was falling into the stairwell when it rained, which flowed into the cellar. A cover was built that addressed this.Water was weeping through gaps in the mortar when the surrounding earth become sodden. Channels were dug around the cellar to redirect runoff, which reduced this, but did not solve the problem…

Binimum: The first two months

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Principle 6: Produce no waste

While the principle of producing no waste is great in theory, it's very difficult in practice. We are giving it a pretty good go with the Binimum exercise, trying to only fill one rubbish bin and one recycle bin for the whole year. So lets see how our family of four have fared over the first two months...

I think that it's a pretty good effort so far, surprising in fact -when we began this exercise I was very sceptical, no I'm not so sure : )
The rubbish that we have created in the house is contained within the plastic shopping bag. It contains mainly plastic bags from food packaging, along with some broken toys, a halogen light bulb and other odds and ends. The recycling contains about five wine bottles, a few jars with missing lids, a lot of milk cartons (neatly folded up) and a few plastic fruit / meat containers (brought by guests). I'm planning to reuse the tins for storage containers in the shed, but there is only so many you can use …