The Eco Barnhouse 2024

House Notes – The Eco Barnhouse

Our retirement dream was to build a passive solar, sustainable home in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage. We wanted an architectural language appropriate to the rural context, with good connectivity to outdoor living areas, garden spaces, and the shared community garden behind.

The home should be small enough to minimise our carbon footprint, but comfortably sized for 2 people with regular guests. It should also provide flexible living options for extended family or shared living and have the potential to be sold as a family home in the future.

The house should be carbon neutral as a minimum, and 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy and water, with rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling. The completed home has been certified as 140% Carbon Offset!

A 10kw photovoltaic system is connected to a central storage battery and the Ecovillage’s microgrid. Excess energy is used to power an electric vehicle or sold back to the Western Power grid.

A 100,000 ltr rainwater tank supplies all the needs of the house and gardens where we grow our own organic food, and native plants which provide habitat for local fauna and birdlife. Waterwise plumbing fixtures and tapware are fitted throughout and hot water is provided by a high efficiency Heat Pump.

Living spaces are single room depth with excellent natural light penetration and cross ventilation. North facing living areas open onto a north facing verandah with solar pergola.

Double glazing with low-e glass in high performance uPVC frames was used throughout. All living areas and bedrooms are fitted with ceiling fans.

Rammed earth internal walls made from local clay and a concrete slab provide thermal mass to regulate internal temperatures. All materials used are recycled or sustainably sourced, with careful consideration given to embodied energy. We used a local builder, local trades, and wherever possible, locally sourced materials.


This home is opening in partnership with our sponsor, Witchcliffe Eco Village. You can find out more about booking this tour here.

Come and explore Sustainable House Day in Australia’s Most Sustainable Residential Community:
  • Engage with sustainability experts
  • Join our Open House Tour to explore 6 highly sustainable solar passive homes
  • Attend Ecovillage presentations
  • Learn more about 100% renewable energy microgrids
  • Take part in community garden tours and take a look at EVs
  • 100% renewable 75 kW EV charging available on site
Don’t Miss Out!
Register your interest below to receive updates on the program, open house schedules, and an exclusive early-access sign-up for our OPEN HOUSES TOUR.
– Sustainable House Day

Sustainability Features

Years Open
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
      Energy monitoring
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Deciduous planting around house
      External planting
      Passive solar designed home
      Thermal chimney
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Ceiling fans
      Split system airconditioner
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Grey water system
      Stormwater management
      Low flow shower heads
      Low flow taps
      Hot water recirculation
      Drip irrigation
    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 125L pp/day (total 250L - 2 person occupancy)
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • Pioneer rainwater tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 100,000 L
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Electric Vehicle Type
    • Hyundai Kona Electric Vehicle
    • Window Protection:
    • Adjustable Shading
      Deciduous tree/vegetation
      Honeycomb blinds
      Solar pergola

    • Window Protection:
    • West facing verandah and deep recesses to selected windows.
    • Sustainable materials:
    • The house is located in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage, one of the most sustainable residential developments in the world. It is 140% Carbon offset and 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy and water: with rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling, and an 8 star Energy Efficiency rating. It has been designed to follow the principles of passive solar design and comply with strict Building Design Guidelines of the Ecovillage and Liveable Housing Australia Silver Level. Our Architect used eTool TurboLCA Lifecycle Assessment software to calculate the Carbon Offset for the home. This is the leading industry standard for identifying optimum strategies for reducing environmental impacts across all stages from production and transportation, right through to end of building life and disposal.
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Bricks
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Internal walls
      External walls

    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R6
    • Other Insulation Methods:
    • Slab edge insulation.
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Anticon 60 foil-faced insulation blanket
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R1.3
    • Internal Walls Insulation Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Internal Walls Insulation Rating:
    • R2.5
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R2.7
    • External Walls Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Energy storage/battery
      Solar PV grid connect
    • Size of PV system:
    • 10kw (generates average of 44.6kw/day)
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 3.8kw/pp (total 7.6kw - 2 person occupancy, generates average of 44.6kw/day)
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $950,000 completed in 2022
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • Saving of approx $350/ month for power. Saving of approximately $300/ month for water.
    • House Size
    • 266m2 GFA
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 12.5: Ember attack with heat up to 12.5kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Zincalume)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)
      Rammed earth
    • Window and Door Types
    • Awning
      Double glazing
      Pocket doors
      Sliding windows/doors
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
      Universal access
      Wheelchair accessible
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Flush thresholds (no lip) to all external doors
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Minimum 110cm wide hallways
      No stairs/steps
      No Corner cupboards
      Ramps and path gradients must be less than 20:1
      Shower head on rail for various heights
      Slip resistant flooring
      Space around toilets for ease of access in wheelchairs
      Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower

    • Universal Design Features
    • The house has been built to Australian Livable Housing Silver Standard.
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 3
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 2
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Chickens
      Community vegetable garden
      Drip irrigation
      Edible garden
      Frog friendly
      Local indigenous plants
      Native plants
      Water wise plants
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
      Make jams/conserves
      Pickle and preserve food
      Take own containers to the supermarket and for take away food
      Swap with friends and neighbours
      Waste free/reduced construction site

    • Other Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Ecovillage community gardens, damns, orchards and chickens are shared by all residents. Sharing of tools, labour, and skills is encouraged. Many residents grow or make their own produce which can be traded within the village. A network of footpaths and cycleways discourages vehicle use within the village.
    • Healthy home features
    • Cabinet design to minimise dust collection
      Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Cross flow ventilation
      Formaldehyde free cabinets
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural fibre furnishings
      Natural light and ventilation
      VOC free paints/sealer/varnish
Witchcliffe WA 6286
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Tallwood Construction
    • Designer
    • Coveney Browne Architects

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