Boolarra Steel Shed-Frame Off-Grid House 2024

House Notes – Boolarra Steel Shed-Frame Off-Grid House

The Boolarra Steel Frame House is an alternate method of framing a new house or build. It relies on the old post and beam construction principle. This very inexpensive completed steel frame and roof is the low foot-print structural backbone of the build. In this case the walls will be an infill of timber, cladded externally with fire proof compressed fibro-cement sheeting. The internal walls will be lined with some ply and some plaster.

The build is currently completed to certificate of occupancy inspection stage. It is very interesting to view the ease of construction and enquire about the choice of building materials and fixings.

The house is designed to benefit from solar gain and the pleasant views. It was an early choice to remain off grid for all services although the grid power passes over the property. The area is prone to blackouts off grid is the short term electricity reliability & resilience insurance.

Experience has shown the heating and cooling advantage of living areas up stairs. This easterly oriented build benefits from 180 degree views of the Morwell River Valley, from Lou Yang to the hills of Mirboo North. The 4acre block is densely vegetated with native plants and trees, ( especially numerous large Spotted Gums ); this in itself is a beautiful feature to be enjoyed rather than destroyed.

This build is a good example of the house performance being the sum of its constituents, every aspect of the building material purchases being thought through to improve energy efficiency, a very sustainable result all round.


This house achieved a NatHERS rating of 6.9 stars using NatHERS accredited software. Find out how the star ratings work on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) website.

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Sustainability Features

Years Open
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
      Energy monitoring
      Smart home features
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Passive solar designed home
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Split system airconditioner

    • Active heating cooling:
    • Slow combustion wood heater
    • Water heating:
    • LPG continuous flow HWS, this is temporary until heat pump purchased
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Blackwater system
      Grey water system
      Stormwater management
      Low flow shower heads
      Low flow taps
      Drip irrigation
    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 50 litres
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • poly
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 12,000 litres
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • no blinds or curtains on upper level
    • Sustainable materials:
    • The nature of the strong steel post and beam building style makes for a very easy fix for the non load bearing wall framing. The sheer strength of the build will be lost to the eyes once the cladding is fixed. Ideally all of the wall framing could be pre cut and assembled off site, then carted to site for installation, making the overall build not only very quick but also very cost effective. Sustainability is a whole of build concept here not just sustainable products. The 48 volt Off Grid energy system has Victron Multiplus Charger / Inverter ( 3000 watt / 35 amp and MPPT charge controller ), Narada Lead Carbon Batteries, ( these high performance batteries are a cross between lead acid and super capacitor attributes that promote fast charging, fast discharging and very fast recovery from the daily deep cycles ). Fully recyclable batteries after after a long service life, 10 years plus. Whilst the 2 shipping containers on site are quite butt ugly they do enjoy a very practical role on this site. Not only obvious storage but when separated then with a strong roof added these two beasts provide site water, shade, and a great spot for a fire pit in winter. Sadly the containers will be recycled back onto the market once emptied into the new build. The container's roofing , ie timbers and roofing are in fact to be re-utilised in the construction of sizeable shed on site. This is now completed.
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Aggregate
      Shipping container
      Steel frame
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      External walls

    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R4, note all household insulation is Knauf "Earthwool"
    • Other Insulation Methods:
    • minimum gaps around doors and windows foam filled thermal break
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R1.5 Knauf Earthwool lower foil sided blanket
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R2.5 Knauf Acoustic Thermal Earthwool 583mm batts
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Energy star rating:
    • 6.9 Stars
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Energy storage/battery
      Solar PV off-grid
    • Size of PV system:
    • 3.2kW
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 2.5kw daily average
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $300,000
    • Cost estimate of sustainable home/features:
    • $250,000
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • $12,000
    • House Size
    • 100m2
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 29kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Colorbond)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)

    • Wall Materials
    • External BAL29, Fireproof Compressed Fibre Cement Sheeting, BGC Duragroove, 9mm
    • Window and Door Types
    • Casement
      Double glazing
      Tilt and turn

    • Window and Door Types
    • Weatherall BAL29 fireproof PVC clad frames, woodgrain timber tone permanent finish
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Contrasting colours and material for vision impaired
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Minimum 110cm wide hallways
      Ramps and path gradients must be less than 20:1
      Shower head on rail for various heights
      Window openings easily accessible
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 2
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 1
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Aquaponics
      Bee hotels/friendly
      Drip irrigation
      Frog friendly
      Local indigenous plants
      Native plants
      Water wise plants
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Recycle
      Take own containers to the supermarket and for take away food
      Swap with friends and neighbours
      Waste free/reduced construction site
    • Healthy home features
    • Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Cross flow ventilation
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural fibre furnishings
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes
Boolarra VIC 3870
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Eureka Sheds, Traralgon and Owner Builder
    • Designer
    • Owner

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