Featuring an effective passive solar design, plenty of salvaged and recycled materials, and an innovative whole-block water harvesting system, this little owner-built home provides a comfortable base for a young Canberra family. The two-storey house has three bedrooms and a studio, plus a split-level kitchen, dining and living area. It’s aligned so that all main rooms have a north window, and a big deck provides a good connection to the garden. Double glazing, good cross ventilation, a concrete slab for thermal mass, a heat pump for hot water and 3kW of solar PV all assist with the all-electric house’s thermal performance and energy efficiency.
The water harvesting system consists of 95 metres of aquifers dug into the ground: trenches lined with a water-impermeable bentonite liner and filled with washed river sand. “When the sand is wet, it will hold a third of its volume in water,” says Tim. Rainwater runs from the roof into the aquifers, which can store around 2,850 litres; it then travels via capillary action into the soil and is taken up by the plants, much like a giant wicking bed.
Designed and built by Luke Dickerson and Bespoke Building Services