Towen Mountain 2019

Towen Mountain
Towen Mountain QLD 4560
10am - 2pm
House Open Style
Regular Guided Tours – No booking required
Entry fee or Donation
Gold coin
Donations supporting
Yandina Community Gardens and Permaculture Noosa
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
Steel-frame kit home from Mecano, Gympie
House Size
138m2 footprint, 89m2 internal living space
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms

*Please note our drive way is single lane and vehicles are unable to pass. If you could please park on the grass as you enter our driveway, the house is a 400m walk down the steep bitumen. For anyone with difficulty walking please drive directly to the house for parking.

Our aim has been to create a low-cost, modest house that will be our forever home. The initial dream of repurposing an old Queenslander to the site was thwarted by strict fire zoning; a novice mistake made when we fell in love with the land and had not considered the consequences of where we wanted the house to be situated.

The eventual outcome of the fire-zoning principles created an opportunity for us to build our own modest, low-cost owner-built home – a steel-framed kit house.

Our home sits on the edge of our 14 acres, placing us as far from the main road as was physically possible. Placed on the highest elevation of our land, we have been able to maximise both cooling breezes for summer and a northerly aspect for our solar energy and warmth in winter. We are completely off-grid for water and power, having never been connected to local services. Our ambition has been to harvest as much rainfall as we possibly could from limited roof space, hence a 90,000L concrete water tank for storage was built in situ, and in the future it will be the foundation of our outside kitchen area surrounded by vegetable gardens.

Our aim was to be in harmony with nature and keep energy usage to a minimum, hence no air conditioning and a modest 138m2 footprint with 89m2 internal living space. Our lighting and fridge are all 24V, with an inverter suppling 240V for all other electrical needs powered by 12 solar panels (2.4kW). Our hot water is provided by a 300L rooftop solar system, which is backed up by an instant gas unit running off an 8.5kg LP gas bottle, which also supplies our cooking stove. Our composting toilet and naturally filtered greywater system minimises water requirements and our impact on the environment. We hope eventually to redirect greywater from trenches to a reed pond that will provide habitat for native frogs.

The house was finally completed in 2017, after five years of working full-time and building on weekends – whilst living on-site.

For the last twelve months we have started to design and create our permaculture gardens, we have in place the first stage of design with our veggie gardens providing us ample food supplies. The next stage will be to increase the m2 of this area, build our natural swimming pond and our develop our habitat for wildlife.

Our future plans include working with Land for Wildlife to regenerate native bushland, helping to provide a safe natural environment that will support our native fauna and flora.

Donations taken on the day will go to Permaculture Noosa and Yandina Community Gardens


Years Open
Total cost of home when constructed
$150,000 approx. (built in 2017) for house materials, including kit, electrical, plumbing, etc.
Universal design accessability
Adaptive design
Universal Design Features
80cm minimum door opening width
Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
BAL Rating
BAL – FZ: Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux of greater than 40kW/m2 and ember attack
Roofing materials
Metal (Zincalume)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Lightweight construction (steel frame)
Window and door types
BAL40 fire-rated sliding windows and doors
Window and door shading
Awnings (external)
Recycled and reused
Bathroom cabinets
Kitchen cabinets
Sustainable materials
Modwood composite decking which is 90% recycled milk bottles and 10% sawdust by-product, also has the benefit of being the only decking that met the BAL40 fire rating requirements
Insulation - Under roof
Type: Aircell reflective foil
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Bulk – glass wool
Insulation - External walls
Type: Aircell reflective foil with glass wool batts
Insulation - Internal walls
Type: Bulk – glass wool
Healthy home
Indoor plants for air filtration
Natural fibre furnishings
Natural light and ventilation
No carpets
All electric home
Renewable energy
Solar PV off-grid
Size of PV system
Water heating
Solar hot water (flat panel)
Passive heating cooling
Passive solar designed home
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Energy monitoring
Electric vehicle
Manufacturer/type:Tesla Model 3 EV will be on show, courtesy of the Australian Electric Vehicle association
Water harvesting and saving
Above ground rainwater storage
Type: Concrete tank with trafficable lid
Size: 90,000L
Grey water system
Garden / Outdoors
Bee keeping
Bee hotels/friendly
Edible garden
Green walls
Native plants
Average Daily Energy Consumption Per Person
<2.5kwhr per day
Waste Reduction
Compost all food scraps
Swap with friends and neighbours