Off-Grid and Passive – 5 kWh/day 2018

Chandlers Hill SA 5159
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Owner

About Off-Grid and Passive – 5 kWh/day

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
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Shading
      Thermal mass

    • Passive heating cooling:
    • 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
    • Water heating:
    • Instantaneous LPG adjustable temp stations in kitchen and bathroom – no water or heating wastage
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Blackwater system
      Stormwater management
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Blinds

    • Window Protection:
    • Large northern eaves, pergolas + deciduous vines & trees
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Rubble
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Spotted gum recycled kitchen; recycled foundation rubble; Porters and other low VOC paints
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Kitchen cabinets

    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Internal walls
      External walls
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R4.0
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Woolen reflective blanket
    • Internal Walls Insulation Rating:
    • R2.0 (insulation only)
    • All-Electric Home?
    • No
    • Energy star rating:
    • 7.9 Stars
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Energy storage/battery
      Solar PV off-grid
    • Size of PV system:
    • 3kW
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 2.5 kWh
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $300,000 (built in 2015)
    • Cost estimate of sustainable home/features:
    • Off-grid solar $30,000; tanks $15,000; double glazing $20,000; bespoke wall construction $10,000
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • 3-4 or more times efficient than most 6 Star homes PLUS year-round comfort
    • House Size
    • 150m2 internal living, 250m2 with eaves, etc.
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 19kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Colorbond)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)

    • Wall Materials
    • Faux 'Corten steel' feature wall, colorbond, spotted gum external wall panelling
    • Window and Door Types
    • Awning
      Clerestory windows
      Double glazing
      Sliding windows/doors
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 3
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 2
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Native lawn, deciduous shade trees close to house, free-roaming native bees, ornithologists haven
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Composting
      Native plants
      Water wise plants

    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
      No carpets