A PRACTICAL demonstration of how to live in a suburban dwelling without having a negative impact on the environment – while also saving on energy costs – is available right at the heart of Logan City.
Sustainable House Day on September 17 will see Brother Joe Smith throw open the doors of his sustainable dwelling at Logan Village.
According to Br Smith, his partially off-grid residence situated on his brother’s property is definitely a shed, not a house.
“Even though it is called Sustainable House Day, they have accepted my shed as an entry because of all the sustainable features,” he told the Times.
“I wanted to live in a more simple, satisfying and joyful way.
“Water-wise I am off-grid. We don’t have town water here.
“As far as electricity goes, I use mains power except for the solar pump on the dam. I have solar-heated hot water showers.”
Although he feels very comfortable in the 28-square-metre shed, with an adjacent 8sqm caravan, there are some compromises in day-to-day living in a sustainable home, Br Smith said.
He relies on gravity-fed water instead of a pressurised system, for example.
“I don’t use air conditioning, but natural methods to keep cool.”
Other ways to naturally cool his home include encouraging shade and breezes and the use of mulch, which stores water and releases it in hot weather, adding to the natural cooling properties of the residence.
”Most visitors express a lot of interest and some say they feel inspired,” he said.
“Sustainable elements have proven good for me, good for others and good for the environment.
“Good for me, in that I save money and enjoy thinking and applying different ways of doing things. Good for others, in that some visitors feel inspired, good for my brother because they improve the value of his property. Good for the environment because what would be pollution is converted to a benefit.”
Other sustainable elements to Br Smith’s home include a methane-powered biogas plant for summer cooking, an above-ground cellar which enabled him to downsize his refrigerator, and a flow hive, allowing him to harvest honey without disturbing the bees.
According to its website, Sustainable House Day is an initiative of the Alternative Technology Association, a not-for-profit organisation that exists to enable people to live sustainably in their homes and communities.
For more information on Brother Joe’s Sustainable House Day opening, go to the event website at sustainablehouseday.com/house-profile-view/?house_id=25490.