Toolangi Forest Off-grid House 2020

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Location
Toolangi VIC 3777
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Owner - builder
    • Designer
    • Owner designed and built

About Toolangi Forest Off-grid House

We designed our family farmhouse to be part of our 120acre bush block in the Toolangi Forest. Rated BAL 40, off-grid, and designed to be our forever home – adaptable design footprint to accommodate our family of five, and eventually being just myself and my partner.

Finishes chosen to limit maintenance costs, longevity/efficiency and end game sustainability. We didn’t want to have to constantly maintain the house, rather spend our time enjoying the property and growing/raising our own food and enjoying family time. Our house has been filmed by Grand designs Australia and features on the current season 8, episode 6. This modest size home is just right for us with adaptable multi-use indoor and outdoor spaces.

The colour scheme and palate of materials were chosen to blend with the environment, the scale of the roofline and building to be keeping with the surrounding forest, and the ‘Tall Trees’ from which the Taungurung people named ‘Toolangi’. My partner and I are both passionate about sustainability, so as an Ecological consultant, landscape designer and arborist, I designed the house to be durable, adaptive and sustainable. Many of the internal fitting and external doors are recycled/rescued.

My partner, an Electrician who has experience in the heavy industrial field has designed the house as a smart house with computer technology and ‘future proofed’ to some extent. The house has amazing thermal properties and keeps at a comfortable 18-24 degrees all year. We have a wood boiler which heats hot water and hydronic under floor heating, as well as a heating panel, a drying cabinet and two towel rails. Our running costs each year are a gas bottle, and some fuel for the back up generator.

Other features are green wall, recycled tiles, oiled concrete slab, repurposed parquetry flooring, HRV, restored antique furnishings, mezzanine bedroom floor, gabions, bushfire drenching system.

Our house recently was given a 10 star rating in the scorecard assessment.

Other sustainable features include:

  • All trees felled are drying for milling to build external chookhouses and cubbies, and logs which are not mill grade will be used as firewood for our heating.
  • All tiles were recycled, as were many of the internal cabinets and vanities including bath, sinks and tap ware.
  • All plants are indigenous and/or native and the production garden uses trees which are suited to the climate.
  • The local rock was used for driveways, paths and Gabion feature at base of the external house walls.

All donations from the day will go to support Chum Creek Primary School

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SUSTAINABLE FEATURES

Years Open
2019
2020
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENT FEATURES
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
      Energy monitoring
      Smart home features
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Passive solar designed home
      Shading
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Heat exchange ventilation system
      Hydronic
    • Water heating:
    • Solar hot water (evacuated tube)
      Water heated by PV system
      Wood fire wetback

    • Water heating:
    • Wood boiler
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Stormwater management
      Hot water recirculation

    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 150L
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • Metal BAL rated tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 111,000 litres
    • Water harvesting and saving
    • Each bathroom has a sensor fitted to detect motion and begin the pump in order to save on water run through system prior to hot and tempered water coming through to outlets to minimise water loss.
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Automation/controls

    • Window Protection:
    • Verandahs and deep external eaves.
SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED MATERIALS
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Parquetry flooring, brush box timber flooring as feature wall, doors, bath, tiles, leadlight doors and windows and trims
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Livos natural oil was used on both the concrete slab and timber stairs and parquetry flooring. Energy rating 10stars
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Aggregate
      Appliances
      Basins/sinks
      Bath
      Bathroom cabinets
      Bottles
      Bricks
      Copper pipes/fittings
      Concrete
      Doors
      Glass
      Light fixtures / fittings
      Power poles
      Rocks/stone
      Tapware
      Tiles
      Timber
      Windows

INSULATION SPECIFICATIONS
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Ceiling
      Internal walls
      External walls
      Floor
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Earth wool batts between floors
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R4.0
    • Floor Rating:
    • R1.2 concrete slab 150mm
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Insulated panels
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R8.1
    • Internal Walls Insulation Type:
    • Earth wool batts
    • Internal Walls Insulation Rating:
    • R4.0
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R3.7
    • External Walls Type:
    • Insulated panel system
RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIFICATIONS
    • All-Electric Home?
    • No
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Energy storage/battery
      Solar PV off-grid
    • Size of PV system:
    • 12kW pv panels and 1500AH batteries at 48V and 7.5kW inverter
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 6kW
COSTS AND COST SAVINGS
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $650,000
    • Cost estimate of sustainable home/features:
    • $75,000
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • $8000
HOUSE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
    • House Size
    • 140m2 each floor plus outdoor living and garage
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 40: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 40kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Insulated panel (sandwich panels)

    • Roof
    • Askin X-flam fire-rated SIPs panels 250mm
    • Wall Materials
    • Formcraft ICF Insulated concrete forms 270mm. Internal timber frame pine and LVL
    • Window and Door Types
    • Awning
      Double glazing
      Low-e, films
      Sliding windows/doors
      Stacking windows/doors

    • Window and Door Types
    • Argon filled and Xtreme fire rated BAL 40
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
      Multi-generational
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Remote power open and close doors
      Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
      Window openings easily accessible
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 4
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 2
GARDEN AND WASTE REDUCTION
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Land is covenanted Trust for nature and 120 acres of old growth forest with many hollow bearing trees for wildlife habitat. We have a local community garden (designed by myself), where we participate in a monthly food swap.
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Bee hotels/friendly
      Chickens
      Community vegetable garden
      Composting
      Edible garden
      Frog friendly
      Green walls
      Local indigenous plants
      Orchard
      Organic
      Native plants
      Swales
      Water wise plants
      Wicking beds

    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
      Make jams/conserves
      Pickle and preserve food
      Recycle
      Repair
      Take own containers to the supermarket and for take away food
      Toy exchange/library
      Swap with friends and neighbours
HEALTHY HOME FEATURES
    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes

    • Healthy Home
    • 10 star energy rating

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