Sustainable House Tour May 10th Northern Tasmania

A chance to talk to the owners of two very different sustainable homes, ask them the burning questions you might have about aspects of sustainability in a home and enjoy some great morning or afternoon tea.


Sustainable House Tours – The inside story.

Saturday May 10th

10.30-12.30 & 2.00-4.00

From the folks that brought Sustainable House Day to Northern Tasmania.


Come along and pick the brains of sustainable home owners about the nitty gritty of their experiences creating and living in a sustainable home.


  • Cost:  By donation. You pay what you think the session was worth.
  • Numbers:  Limited. This ensures that in depth information can be discussed
  • Session Length: 90 minute session at each home. Each home open in the morning and afternoon. You pick the session that suits you.
  • Afternoon/morning tea:  Yum. Will be available
  • Bookings:  Essential. Contact Lisa on 0427 283 403 or email annelisa(at) Details of locations provided when booking.
  • House locations:  In the Meander Valley


Two very different homes.

House 1:        Transformation of a 1940,s weatherboard house that optimises energy efficiency and minimises running costs.

85 Meander Valley rd westbury 2


  • Sharing (by blog) extensive research on all materials used for sustainability and availability.
  • Owner built studio extension (mega anchors, double glazing, sustainable flooring, hardwood framing, wool insulation, plastic/wood composite deck)
  • Grid connect solar. Energy efficient lighting
  • Heat pump hot water unit, water saving devices
  • Up-cycled and recycled materials
  • Natural paints and floor finishes
  • Retro fitted insulation (roof and walls) and draught proofing


House 2:        Maximum sustainability with minimum environmental footprint. Purpose designed passive solar house.


  • Passive solar design
  • Recycled materials
  • Stand alone solar power
  • Composting toilet
  • Permaculture garden with swales
  • Onsite greywater treatment system
  • water reticulation system for house and garden using dams, tanks and solar pumps
  • Owner built

How the house is behaving thermally !!

Well as we are in the middle of several things at once but not far enough along on any of them to post them I thought I would re visit the steps we have taken to make the house thermally more comfortable than when we moved in nearly four years ago.

This year is the first year that the house stays noticeably warmer inside than the outside temp, even in the morning. Now winter is not here yet but we have had several mornings of below 5 degrees.

Here is a list of improvements we have made and there links to the relevant posts.

Now individually each thing has only helped a little, some more than others, but put together it means that the house is so far consistently warmer than it was and is using less fuel, in this case firewood, to warm it up.

Tongue and groove ceiling

Through the Tassie winter it was time for indoor work and one of the bigger jobs was to install a ceiling in the extension.

It is a cathedral ceiling with deep LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) rafters. The first thing to do was to insulate well. We used wool batts and used two layers of R2.5 as we had the depth to do so. This is an Australian product with 20% polyester added to help keep the wool fibres from flattening out. Easily available from Wedds in Launceston it is a wee bit more expensive than fibreglass but then there are no glass fibres floating in the atmosphere getting in your skin pores etc. Next I Volvoxed (hard wax oil that we use on the floors) the diagonal laminated beam.

Insulation being fitted


Insulation in

A couple of months later after helping with a friends ceiling it was time to do ours. Barry, Bart and myself worked on installing the VJ board. This was not the normal pine board as I found out that it was coming in from South America cheaper than Tassie could manufacture it!! What a crazy world. Instead I found that Timber World at Meander still had stocks of EcoAsh VJ boards. This is hardwood from Tasmania that was a product created by Forest Enterprises Australia who also made the EcoAsh studs that I used in the extension. Unfortunately they have gone out of business and you have to use pine or much more expensive hardwood.

Ceiling installed

Anyway the tongue and groove was ordered and arrived. I went through it and sent 80 boards back as they were not up to scratch. This was no problem and the replacements were in much better order.

Work commenced on the weekend and went quite quickly with the use of an air bradder. Mandy and I would then carry on on the Monday as the lengths got shorter and more manageable.

Once installed we looked around for what to treat it with. We wanted the natural look of the timber but wanted a natural product. The one we decided to use was EcoWoodOil’s Danish Oil. This was the only one that I could find that did NOT have polyurethane added.

It was easy to apply and really brought the colour of the timber out.

Danish oiling the ceiling

Finally we called in the electrician and fitted the 6 lampshades and CFL 150W equivalent floodlights. these are made by Philips and are only 23watts instead of their incandescent 150watt equivalent. They take a little time to warm up but they work well. We have two pairs in cold white for working and one pair in warm white for ambience.

Ceiling finished with lights fitted

Finally we added the trim along diagonal laminated hardwood beam