A 2 bedroom house is 4 and a half years old and was built to be as sustainable as possible on a small block (530 square metres ) in Knoxfield, a suburb 27 km east of Melbourne. It is passive solar in design, completely self sufficient in water, has a solar hot water service in series, with a gas instantaneous boost for the winter months, a grey water recycling system for toilet flushing and garden use, and produces at least 55% of its electricity from a 2.4 kW Photovoltaic Array on the roof.
Rain is collected from the colorbond roof via Smartflo gutters, passes through a first flush device system i.e. the first run off from the roof, which may contain dust and contaminants, does not flow directly into the 6,000 gallon/ 27,240L polyethlene tank. The house is not connected to the mains supply.
Water efficiency has been achieved through the use of AAA water efficient appliances i.e. shower heads, front load washing machine and dishwasher, and 3/6 L dual flush toilets. Water from the bathroom and washing machine is collected, treated biologically by peat to Class A water, aerated and stored for toilet flushing and garden use.
The garden contains no lawn. Coconut fibre is used for mulching the Australian natives and other drought tolerant plants.
As a consequence of the above features, it took 3 and half years to use the same amount of water that the average Melbournian household uses in one year.
The choice of Smartflo gutters eliminates the constant necessity of keeping the gutters free of leaves, thereby improving the quality of the water collected. This is a definite plus for a retiree.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Global warming is a serious threat and changes in weather patterns and reduced rainfall will affect us all. Water is a precious resource, because one cannot live without it and should not waste it.