Want to live sustainably? This is how you do it

READY TO EAT: Simon Hartley of Goonellabah will open his home to the public as part of Sustainable House Day.
READY TO EAT: Simon Hartley of Goonellabah will open his home to the public as part of Sustainable House Day. Marc Stapelberg

SIMON Hartley is one of many forward-thinking residents of our region doing some impressive sustainable living experiments in their homes and yards.

The minimal outside space surrounding Mr Hartley's Goonellabah duplex boasts raised garden beds, an aquaculture setup which provides on-tap fish fertiliser, a smartly designed chicken coop and even a small orchard.

There's a smorgasbord of herbs, greens and other edible treats growing there.

One impressive creation is the "strawberry tower" - a row of vertical PVC pipes with strawberry plants growing out of holes cut into the sides - supplied with a constant drip feed of fish fertiliser.

Mr Hartley will open up his home to the public this month as part of Sustainable House Day, actually run over three days this year in a joint project between Lismore and Byron Shire Councils.

At the main event in Bangalow, a suburb of "tiny houses" will pop up for the Sustainable House Day Expo, held on Saturday September 13.

These three homes are open this Sunday:

  • 9am-noon. Richard Swinton and Cindy Thummell at 24 Ryces Dr, Clunes have retrofitted a 1980s project home.
  • 10am-4pm. The Robinsons at 182 Bentley Rd, Tullera have built a new, low-cost sustainable home.
  • 10am-4pm. Elaine Wood at 51 Cedar Dr, Dunoon has a solar passive steel-frame design.

These two homes are open next Sunday, September 14:

  • 10am-4pm. Vanessa Tallon at 9 Keith St, Girards Hill has retrofitted a 1940s weatherboard cottage.
  • 10am-4pm. Simon Hartley at 2/89 Figtree Dr, Goonellabah has a retrofitted brick duplex with intensive food production.

The popular tiny house movement is built on saving time, money, and the environment by dramatically reducing the size of our living spaces.

The event will include speakers on tiny houses, straw-bale building and a carbon neutral eco-village and information on repurposed shipping container housing, solar passive designs, aquaponics and retrofitting homes for energy efficiency.

Examples of "green" granny flat designs will also go on show, with the winner of Sustainable Small House Design Competition to be announced on the day.

There were 50 entries to the competition that gave designers a blank slate to create the best possible sustainable design.

"The competition was open to professional architects and designers, the community and young people," Lismore City Council environment strategies officer Vanessa Tallon said.

"Some of the entries are unique and provide clever insight into how to build small and sustainable."

Five locals are opening their homes for inspection on the Sunday before and the day after the expo.

At a glance

The Sustainable House Day Expo is on Saturday, September 13, from 1-4pm at Bangalow A&I Hall. Entry is free.

A free bus to the Expo from Nimbin and Lismore will be available if enough residents register by September 9.

Bookings are essential. Phone Vanessa on 1300 87 83 87.

Topics:  sustainability sustainable living

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