Sustainable House Day

A curiosity in sustainable building has turned an Aldinga Beach home into a ‘carbon positive’ site.

Shay Jury’s house at 81 Dover Street was an “experiment”.

“I wanted to see if it was possible to build a sustainable home on a tight budget,” he said. Mr Jury knew heating and cooling were the main users of energy in the average home. “At the time, I was unaware that House Energy Rating Assessors were available to simulate a home’s thermal performance, so I turned to Google”. Building his knowledge from the internet, he was able to develop a plan for a home he thought would perform well, for the least amount of money.
“With a well insulated lightweight construction and minimal thermal mass, not only did we keep building costs to a minimum, we keep our energy expenses to a minimum, too,” he said. The house is made of lightweight construction and features weatherboard cladding and an elevated timber floor. The length faces north/south to capture winter sun and cool summer breezes, passively heating and cooling the home. Double-lined curtains with top plates, single glazing windows, awnings on the west face, a three metre-wide veranda with planned vertically adjustable shading and bamboo flooring help regulate the temperature inside from the sun. Compact fluorescent light globes in pendant fittings were chosen over down lights to prevent putting holes in the insulation layer.
An above-ground 1200 litre rainwater tank is filled with water caught from the 200 square metre roof and is plumbed into toilets and laundry. Grey water is harvested from the washing machine and fed onto the lawn through a flexipipe with holes in it. A solar hot water system provides 85 per cent of the house’s annual water heating needs for free. The garden features drought-tolerant native plants and lawns to eliminate mains watering and encourage native wildlife. In the past year, the couple has fed more electricity to the grid than they took with a small 1kw solar system, making the operation of the house ‘carbon positive’.
Shay loved the design process so much, he has become an accredited house energy rating assessor and now runs his own business helping other homeowners/builders and architects develop energy efficient homes. “With the knowledge I’ve gained since building my home, and the software I now have as a House Energy Rating Assessor, there are things I would have done differently to increase the thermal comfort of our home” he said. “Im looking forward to sharing my experience with people on Sustainable House Day, show them the things I got right, and share with them the things I would do differently”. He encourages people to “please stop by and visit our sustainable home, built on a shoestring”!Sustainable House Day is on Sunday, September 9 from 10am to 4pm. To see a full list of exhibiting houses visit
Anthony Caggiano, On The Coast