On developing our property we have endeavored to make it as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. The main buildings are made of mudbrick with the soil/clay materials excavated from the site. We have used many recycled timbers, windows, doors, large posts and beams.We harvest the rainwater for all of our domestic water needs with a septic tank system treating our waste-water and providing grey water to the orchard.
We have installed a 6.4kw grid-connected photovoltaic solar power system which provides 80% of our summer power and about 25% of our winter power needs. Energy efficient light bulbs are used throughout the house and also dual-flush toilets and a front loader washing machine (using only 48lts.of water) minimize water usage. We have also installed a 20 evacuated tube solar hot water system which provides all of our hot water needs in summer and is boosted by the wet-back in our slow combustion stove in winter. Heating of the house and cottage is by wood fired heaters with some of the firewood sourced from our property. The slow combustion stove in the house provides for all of our cooking needs and some heating in winter and also boosts the hot water.
With the mudbrick walls providing great thermal mass, minimal cooling is required in summer using only a ceiling fan and cross ventilation makes for comfortable living. Excellent north orientation of the house also provides maximum passive heating and cooling with grape vines providing extra shade during our hot summers.
Recycling paper, cardboard and plastics and kitchen wastes being composted for garden mulch means we have minimal refuse going to landfill. Prunings and cuttings are put through a chipper/mulcher which provides excellent mulch for the garden.