Video by Happen Films recorded in April 2018, 10 years after original purchase of the property.

The Abdallah House project began in May 2008 in suburban Seymour, Central Victoria, Australia with the purchase of this three roomed bungalow with bathroom / laundry tacked onto the side on a 584 sq metre (1/7 acre) block. The project is driven by permaculture practitioner Richard Telford with support from his partner and children Kunie, Kai and Sen.

BEFORE: The original energy hungry bungalow, with no insulation throughout

Richard, Kunie, Kai and Sen (2012)

The bungalow was carefully deconstructed and transformed to build a new home that showcases low energy and passive systems that each apply some, if not all of the permaculture design principles.

Regular blog posts were kept to highlight at least one of the 12 principles and keep readers up to date on what was happening on site. Some of the milestones of the project include:

  • The felling, milling, drying and using of all parts of the massive Red Gum that was on site
  • The owner building of the new home within the budget of AU$100,000
  • Moving into the home within one year of the beginning of construction
  • Birth of our second son at home, 10 days after moving in (June 2010)
  • 30,000lt of water collected on site primarily for domestic use with mains water used for irrigation and as a back-up
  • Approximately one 45kg gas bottle used per year, only for stove top cooking, since reduced to around 3 x 9kg bottles per year in 2017.
  • Our 1.5kW Solar PV system to supplies more than twice the electricity that we consumed in 2011/12
  • Electricity use averaging  2.34kWh per day (2011-12), around 1/8th of a typical household (85% less than the average for our area - 18.1 kWh per day)
  • Our 'Super Fridge', an upright freezer conversion uses around 200Wh of energy per day, about 50% less than a similar sized fridge, but it died after just 5 years.
  • Our Super Fridge Take 2 is a big improvement on the original - 30% more energy efficient than the previous one and much easier to use.
  • Only one rubbish (120lt) and one recycle bin (240lt) used during our 2011 'binimum' challenge
  • Cycling of all compostable materials generated on site
  • Cellar and cool cupboard integrated into the house design
  • Finalist in the 2012 HIA Greensmart Awards in the 'Custom Built Homes' and 'Resource Efficiency' categories
  • Article about our house appeared in The Age: Build your own: consume less, live more. 
  • Our 2012 mission of analysing food / drink purchases revealed that we spent $15.50 per day for our young family of four - about $1.30 per person, per meal.
  • Our 2013 mission was to record all produce harvested for the year. 509 eggs, 276kg of vegies, 90kg of fruit and about 4kg of herbs - which averages out at around 1.4 eggs and 1kg of produce per day. 
  • Our 2019 food harvest produced over half a tonne of food, with a total yield of 498kg of fruit and vegetables along with 805 eggs collected. Results for 2016 (442kg/782 eggs) and 2017 (308kg/718 eggs) also detailed on spreadsheet.
  • 176 sq/m of roof space for water harvesting from the house and carport.
  • Completion of the greenhouse in August 2014 
  • Rocket powered oven built in November 2017
  • Case study features in RetroSuburbia book by David Holmgren in 2018.

We are in suburbia, just 1km from the centre of Seymour township
AFTER: The transformed home, heavily insulated and largely self reliant in energy and water use
Outdoor living area / carport paved with reclaimed bricks, cellar / tank stand to the left.
The sun facing living space of the house
Completed greenhouse with 200lt tank, and tree house in background
Site Plan of property Jan 2017


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