September’s Sustainable House Open Day near Quirindi was a great success with over a hundred people inundating owner-builders Peter and Lynda with questions about their home built from stone and cypress pine sourced from the surrounding land.
The timber upstairs in the pole framed structure was built using a home-made bench sawmill to cut wood from trees selected while still growing in the ground for specific places in the house based on their overall size and straightness. Even the sawdust was retained and used to mix in with concrete and sand to create a warm, cork-like floor base for the kitchen.
The large roof area of the house ensures an impressive 600 litres of rainwater are caught for every 1mm of rainfall, which is periodically pumped uphill to a large secondary tank that provides good gravity-fed water pressure.
Electricity is entirely generated by fifteen 100 watt solar panels charging a bank of second-hand batteries now many decades old and still going strong. Peter says the secret to their success is not to have a large solar array but a large battery bank, allowing them to always have access to power but avoid continually burning off electricity through a regulator.
In the winter, heat is provided by wood burners and letting the sun in by replacing part of the metal roof with transparent sheeting, allowing the sun to heat the inside tile floor as a heat bank for the evenings.
Peter and Lynda have lived at Castle Mountain for many years, at first farming merino sheep then later inspired by WWOOFers ran the property as a budget farm-stay for backpackers and families. Now planning their retirement, Peter and Lynda plan to sell the Castle Mountain land and property, including the home-built saw mill!
You can read more at their website:
All proceeds from the gold coin entry went towards the Operation Christmas – Shoebox Project.