Local sustainable house is set to be open to the public

Jeanne (left) and Lou. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Dongyun Kwon

Grace Burn Co Housing in Healesville has joined with over 100 sustainable homes across Australia to be open as part of Sustainable House Day 2024 on Sunday 21 April.

All four houses in Grace Burn Co Housing are ready to show themselves to the public.

One of the house owners Lou said two out of the four houses were opened once for Sustainable House Day in 2019.

“The houses were partially built [back then],” he said.

“People were able to come through and have a look at the internal parts of the house, walls, the ceilings, the construction of it.

“Now that we completed four houses and we’ve all moved in. So we think it is a good time for an opportunity for people if they wanted to revisit or if they haven’t been here at all, to come here and see the houses.”

Lou said his house is a north-facing passive solar greenhouse.

“When the sun penetrates in, it heats the thermal mass in the floor and then radiates that into the house to warm the house,” he said.

“We gently make adjustments to the solar energy coming in or the airflow that goes through the houses to get the right temperature.

“The houses are stable, lovely and warm. In winter, without doing anything, the minimum temperature of the houses would be about 18 degrees, even on a really cold morning when it’s zero degrees outside.”

Lou said the four houses were built under three principles; sustainability, community living and accessibility.

“We have a lot of shared community space here including a garden, vegetable garden and workshop area which we’re still working on,” he said.

“The houses were also built entirely on the ground floor and there’s no step entry for wheelchair access, with wider doorways and lever handles.”

The garden has a small creek that is for handling rainfall runoff.

“If the water tanks are full, they all flow into here,” Lou said.

“The whole idea is to slow down the runoff into the stormwater system.

“We’ve also got the vegetable garden for food production which is shared by everybody.”

Established in 2001, Sustainable House Day is a national community-driven event hosted by Renew, that allows the public to see and learn from Australia’s greenest homes.

It aims to inspire people to live sustainably, showing them how to lower energy bills, live comfortably and help the environment through good home design, practices, and technology.

Anyone interested in touring Grace Burn Co Housing can make a book through the Sustainable House Day website, sustainablehouseday.com/listing/grace-burn-co-housing-in-Healesville