Our two-storey home, with 50km of views over national parks to the South East Ranges, took four years to build to 2010. The strawbale walls rendered internally with clay and finished with clay paints have been very successful, giving a comfortable atmosphere and balanced humidity. The external lime/sand render with mineral paint finish keeps the walls breathable.
The rammed-earth components add to the thermal mass to help keep temperatures stable. More thermal mass is provided by the masonry heater, a great addition and far superior to any other form of wood heater. We built a sun room on the north side, which adds warmth in winter and insulates the house in summer.
We were familiar with the disciplines of using solar power, but our 1200 amp-hourr 48-volt system enables us to use electrical appliances freely through most of the year; only mid-winter requiring us to be more frugal.
We cook on a wood-fired Rayburn, but also use gas for convenience. The Rayburn augments the evacuated tube solar hot water heater in winter.
We installed a Clivus Multrum for the composting toilets, which have given a huge saving in water, all of which comes from the roofs of house and sheds into eight plastic tanks. Greywater is recycled into growing areas.
We are currently developing our gardens, and have completed an orchard/chook yard and soft-fruit enclosure. We are constructing a terraced vegetable garden near the house, where we also continue ornamental planting of both natives and exotics.
For directions to get to this home from Princes Highway, please see this map to Kurrajong Hill.