An impossible site?
What do you do when your block of land is south facing, cold and steep? Daniel and Kylie’s Waterworks home shows how intelligent sustainable design can work in the most impossible conditions.
At the bottom of Waterworks Valley are two unpretentious new buildings.
Being fibre-grey rectangular blocks, from the outside they are anything but your stereotypical, swanky eco-mansions that seem to abound these days. But step inside and you can feel that these are no ordinary homes.
And if you cared to peel away the wall linings and follow the pipes you will see why these homes are so delightfully comfortable and have such a light footprint.
Daniel and Kylie have been part of the Waterworks Community since it’s inception. Their home (and twin neighbour’s home) features high levels of insulation, expert passive design to take advantage of what little sun is available at the site, roof water harvesting for toilet flushing and much more.
Lilith’s climate friendly home
Lilith is a determined person with a passion for sustainable living. Her story is a great example of how the sum of many small parts can be very significant.
A commonwealth public servant, Lilith bought her home in Waterworks community just four years ago. It is a basic 1950s, 2-bedroom weatherboard house with a tiled roof and has an extensive garden space.
Despite its cold siting, Lilith has managed to reduce her annual electricity consumption from 5,800 kwh to just 2,000 kwh within a period of four years (2005 to 2009).
She has achieved this amazing reduction through a combination of solarisation, increased insulation and a number of other smaller steps. To give an idea of how you might be able to achieve this yourself, here are some of the things Lilith has done.
Meet Bill Clyde – a living example of resourcefulness.
An avid gardener, Bill resides in a Housing Tasmania flat in South Hobart. One problem, there is no garden, just a 5 metres by 4 metre concrete enclosure. Baking hot on a Summer’s day.
Bill’s efforts to overcome this enormous disadvantage are nothing short of heroic.
Whenever I talk with him about gardening and food, I start salivating and want to cook a meal right away. His knowledge of plants is encyclopaedic. His description of foods, straightforward but sumptuous.
Although new to Tasmania (arrived at the flat in June 2009) Bill has 40 years experience reading, observing and adapting his gardening skills to local conditions.
Within 5 months Bill had carted 800 litres of potting mix from Sandy Bay (he has no car!), has planted over 20 varieties of vegetables into colour-coded pots (to facilitate rotation) and has already enjoyed three-course meals all from that tiny garden space.
Small is practical, says Cathryn
Cathryn and partner Daniel are young, energetic and environmentally aware, but like everyone who lives in a city, transport is one of the hardest nuts to crack when it comes to trying to live as sustainably as possible – especially when your workplace is hard to get to.
Being from Germany, one of the first things Cathryn noticed when she arrived in Tasmania is that: “...every second car on the road seems to be a SUV, pick-up, ute or other huge 4wheel drive.
“Most of the people driving these cars, however, don’t live on a farm in the middle of the outback and you hardly ever see more than one or two people sitting in them either.”
“By now, I’ve been on quite a few bushwalks and for most of them I wouldn’t have needed a huge car or a 4 wheel drive even for that purpose,” she muses.