Blue House 2017

Blue House
Coombs 2611
Housing Type
Standalone House
House Size
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Luke Dickerson
Project Type
New Build
Bespoke Building Services
Opening Hours
10am - 12pm

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

Read more about the Blue House in Sanctuary 40. Article written by Anna Cumming and photographs by Kasey Funnell


Cost estimate of sustainable home/features
Energy rating
8 star
Building Type
Lightweight construction
Recycled and reused
Kitchen/bath cabinets
Steel purlins, salvaged fibre cement panels, paper (Paperock benches), linen curtains
Healthy home materials
Low-VOC paints, pure wool carpet
Windows and Doors
Double glazing
Low-e, films
Window/door materials and coverings
Renewable energy
Solar PV grid connect
Water heating
Hot water heat pump
Passive heating cooling
Cross ventilation
Active heating cooling
Ceiling fans
Split system heater/aircon
Water harvesting and water saving
Above ground storage
Type: Whole block water harvesting/wicking system, size approx 2850L,
Size: 4000L
Stormwater management
Storage connected to
Whole house
Energy efficiency
Efficient lighting
Whole block water harvesting/wicking system
Council property located in:
ACT - District of Molonglo Valley
Connected to gas?