Off-Grid and Passive - 5 kWh/day 2018

Off-Grid and Passive – 5 kWh/day
Chandlers Hill SA 5159
Booking required – see link below
10am – 4pm
House Open Style
Guided Tours – Booking essential (address will not be listed on website)
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
House Size
150m2 internal living, 250m2 with eaves, etc.
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms

If you’re thinking of building/renovating, or buying an existing house, come and experience our passive home. You’ll find out what a differerence 2 Stars above the minimum 6 can make to your energy consumption and your comfort.

In early 2014, making the decision to build a passive off-grid home was easy, but at the time, not altogether altruistic – we were a pair of busy IT professionals caught in the hamster wheel, and the question of living sustainably hadn’t come onto our radar. That was, however, not until we bought our little patch of Australia.

Much to our dismay, connecting to the grid, with a stobie pole less than 300m away, was quoted to be $450,000! “Holy Electrons!*@!,” Batman said to Catwoman, “how can we find that kind of cash?”, and so, our foray into the world of sustainable living began, albeit with some trepidation, followed closely by plenty of research, then the hard work, and culminating in 2015 with a result far greater than we ever thought possible:

  • An amazingly comfortable home in which to live (passive year-round temperatures not less than 16 or greater than 26 degrees Celcius)
  • A lifestyle with minimal waste
  • A CFS BAL19-compliant retreat
  • A sense of contribution toward greater environmental issues, and a new career!

If you’re curious about what it really means to live in a passive home, come and find out how:

  • Our 150m2, 7.9 Star, off-grid passive home consumes three to four times less energy than the average home* in our area
  • It is powered by 3kW solar, a bank of batteries and a backup generator, providing us with 11kWh of useable energy per day
  • We love SA summers without air conditioning
  • We kept costs down with trade-offs and a few long days/nights/weekends labouring, e.g. we have repurposed a $400 Gumtree kitchen to compensate for $10,000 worth of polished thermal mass for heating and cooling.

* Sourced from AER benchmark data for homes in areas with a postcode of 5052, 5152 and 5157, with 2 to 4 people, no pool, no mains gas, giving consumption comparison of 16 – 22kWh/day.

This house achieved 7.9 Stars using FirstRate5 software, to find out more about the NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) click here


Years Open
Cost estimate of sustainable home/features
Off-grid solar $30,000; tanks $15,000; double glazing $20,000; bespoke wall construction $10,000
Total cost of home when constructed
$300,000 (built in 2015)
Estimate of annual savings
3-4 or more times efficient than most 6 Star homes PLUS year-round comfort
BAL Rating
BAL – 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 19kW/m2
Roofing materials
Metal (Colorbond)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Lightweight construction (timber frame)
Faux 'Corten steel' feature wall, colorbond, spotted gum external wall panelling
Window and door types
Clerestory windows
Double glazing
Sliding windows/doors
Window and door shading
Large northern eaves, pergolas + deciduous vines & trees
Recycled and reused
Kitchen cabinets
Sustainable materials
Spotted gum recycled kitchen; recycled foundation rubble; Porters and other low VOC paints
Insulation - Under roof
Type: Woolen reflective blanket
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Bulk – glass wool
Rating: R4.0
Insulation - Internal walls
Type: Other
Rating: R2.0 (insulation only)
Healthy home
Airtight house design
Indoor plants for air filtration
Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
Natural light and ventilation
No carpets
All electric home
Renewable energy
Energy storage/battery
Solar PV off-grid
Size of PV system
Water heating
Instantaneous LPG adjustable temp stations in kitchen and bathroom – no water or heating wastage
Passive heating cooling
Thermal mass
Earth tube to above-ground cellar, and thermal mass concrete floors for summer coolth and winter heat, combustion heater for cooking and warmth
Active heating cooling
Ceiling fans
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Water harvesting and saving
Blackwater system
Stormwater management
Garden / Outdoors
Native plants
Water wise plants
Native lawn, deciduous shade trees close to house, free-roaming native bees, ornithologists haven
Average Daily Energy Consumption Per Person
2.5 kWh