Instead of using a small inner city storage shed space, just 5 metres by 4 metres, as a car port, Alphonso has built:
. A three-level living area of 60 square metres
. A rooftop garden with a plunge pool/spa
. Shaded by his solar PV array
. Totalling 80 square metres to live in.
It is not some hippy house that no one wants to live in. Alphonso has the best appliances, all mod cons: a clothes dryer that uses less electricity than the washing machine, an induction cook top, a combined micro-wave/oven, and a pop-up TV screen. LED lighting is used and there is no gas.
For electricity, it features 15 solar panels totalling 3.5kW. Six of the panels are mounted vertically on the north facing outside wall, with another nine in various angles on the rooftop, to create shading and to allow the sun in during winter. The house uses little electricity so it is a net exporter.
One of the reasons that the home uses so little electricity is because of its geothermal heat pump that provides “climate control” – using just 200 watts – and the “airtight” nature of the building. When we visit it is 35C outside and blowing a gale. The house is a comfortable 22C.
It is a unique inner city dwelling set on an unusually small physical footprint and designed, built and powered with passive and active eco-driven processes, materials and performance considerations. It is based on the One Planet Living principles and was presented at the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference in Rio in 2012.
Early next year, Alphonso will install 2 or 3 Enphase battery storage systems (they come in modular size of 1.25kWh) to take more charge over his energy supply. He won’t go off grid, because he would need a lot more storage to achieve full independence, and it would not be economic.
One Step off the Grid: Giles Parkinson: 7 Oct 2015
Key Words: Climate Change, House, Building
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