Mulberry Hill 2018

Mulberry Hill
Yarragon South VIC 3823
10am - 4pm
House Open Style
Regular Guided Tours - No booking required
Entry fee or Donation
Gold coin
Donations supporting
Baw Baw Sustainability Network
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
Sue Mitchell Architects
Craig White, Trafalgar
House Size
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Open with support of
Baw Baw Sustainability Network

Our property sits on 8 acres on the northern ridge of the Strzeleckis. Wendy is a conservation ecologist and Steb works on global sustainability, so it was natural for us to move into and live in the existing home for a couple of years, while we formed a wonderful partnership with our architect, Sue Mitchell and our builder, Craig White to build the new house, completed in October 2012. We wanted the home to be energy efficient yet relatively low tech, so it has a number of passive features and a simple hot water system topped up by a wood burning stove, which serves as the main space heating source. The house has just recently been rated as 10 stars.

The house runs well with our own solar power (PV) and a small set of batteries, which deals with the regular small power cuts we experience. We sell our significant surplus of power back to the grid. Hot water is generated by flat panels and topped up by a wetback on our wood burning stove in the winter. We burn about 7 m3 of wood per year, which is mostly cut from trees which died in the 2009 fires and some from tree falls on the property.

We also wanted our land to provide an increasing amount of food. It is now nine years into the project and there is much still to be done. We have established two orchards one of which is just now beginning to produce (apples, pears, plums, cherries, quince, crab apples, figs and peaches) and the other, after a huge job to remove forty 90-year-old Radiata Pines, will produce olives, walnuts, hazelnuts and persimmons. We have planted an extensive lavender patch both for our bees and for oil.

Our vegetable garden is now being enlarged and we are facing up to the considerable amount of work involved in keeping it productive.

The house also achieved 10 stars with the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard. If you would like to find out more click here.

Designed by Sue Mitchell Architects


Years Open
Cost estimate of sustainable home/features
Total cost of home when constructed
Estimate of annual savings
BAL Rating
BAL – 12.5: Ember attack with heat up to 12.5kW/m2
Roofing materials
Metal (Colorbond)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Lightweight construction (timber frame)
Rammed earth
Window and door types
Bi Fold
Clerestory windows
Double glazing
Sliding windows/doors
Window and door shading
Deciduous tree/vegetation
Solar pergola
Recycled and reused
Kitchen cabinets
Sustainable materials
Concrete slab made with 35% flyash.
Insulation - Under roof
Type: R6 Batts
Rating: R6
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Bulk - glass wool
Rating: R6
Insulation - External walls
Type: 300mm rammed earth north facing, 400mm rammed earth with polyurethane foam insert south facing, various stud walls with R2.5 glass wool
Rating: R2.5+
Insulation - Under floor
Type: Wafflepod
Rating: NA
Healthy home
Cross flow ventilation
Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
Natural light and ventilation
Victorian residential efficiency scorecard rating
10 Stars
All electric home
Renewable energy
Energy storage/battery
Solar PV grid connect
Solar PV off-grid
Solar hot water panels
Size of PV system
Water heating
Solar hot water (flat panel)
Wood fire wetback
Passive heating cooling
Cross ventilation
Passive solar designed home
Thermal mass
Active heating cooling
Wood stove
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Water harvesting and saving
Above ground rainwater storage
Type: 3 Concrete and 3 Plastic
Size: Concrete 44,000 litres, 20,000 litres, 10,000 litres, Plastic 24,000 litres, 5,000 litres, 2,000 litres
Stormwater management
Low flow shower heads
Garden / Outdoors
Bee keeping
Native plants