Armidale Eco Home

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Lauren and Glenn are leading the way when it comes to living green. The innovative ideas and changes in their own lives are an inspiration.

> Lauren and Glenn, what prompted your green lifestyle?

 We are a young family with a 4yr old son Ethan, and an energetic 1yr old baby named Zabella. We are trying to do something to contribute to the longevity of the environment for them. 

> Lauren, tell us about your home.

We built the larger part of our home 3 years ago and started small with the solar passive design, fully insulating it and installing only low energy ceiling fans and a wood combustion stove for our climate needs, but ensuring that the home has great ventilation and a cross flow for summers. It now features one of Solar Shop Australia’s sustainable solar products, ours being a new 1.44 kW solar panel system that will reduce our power bill by over 70%.

We installed an Earth safe grey water system cared for by John Hiscox plumbing, which recycles 100% of all our water. We have established an orchard and vegetable garden, and are always regenerating and planting natives on our land and have lots of fun reusing second hand materials wherever possible on our property. We have corrugated iron cladding on our home which never needs treating or painting and that also has great insulating properties. We also revamped and fitted a second hand kitchen, and all our windows were discards to be dumped.

Inside Lauren and Glenn's eco hom

Inside Lauren and Glenn's eco home

In addition to our home, we also have ongoing green goals – our first for 2009 being to reduce our garbage to 1 small  bag a week, which we achieved just recently, and we have so far managed to be sustainable by ensuring that everything is recycled, composted or donated. 

> Lauren, tell us more about your green goals.

 Any household can do them, and it’s something that can be made fun – especially when you make these challenges a family project. The one that our gorgeous son has taken most delight from is definitely his chooks, lovingly named Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Capsicum, who provide us with an extensive egg supply each week. Glenn built the most amazing chook house from odd pieces of timber from the Armidale Salvation army store, with the wood totalling a whole $8. It’s funny, I can’t imagine not having the chooks now, and our children just adore going down and playing with the chooks in their sandpit at the end of each day.

Our next big step is a solar hot water system, and we are also considering a Sun Farm for a long term investment. Solar Shop Australia has given us the opportunity to start making these goals become a reality, and we take great delight in knowing that we can help other people gain the same benefits.

> Glenn, tell us about your jobs and also your new job with Solar Shop Australia.

Lauren and I have wonderful 9-5 jobs in Armidale with Goodman Fielder Baking and Jobs Australia. I recently visited Sustainable Living Expo, where I gained the Solar Shop Australia position.  

Both jobs keep us busy, but we wanted to show our little ones that we will do whatever it takes to make a difference environmentally for them and for us. 

The outside of the home

The outside of the home

Glenn, how do you and Solar Shop Australia encourage eco living in the New England? 

Although Solar Shop Australia is a National Company, they only use local Regional Energy Advisors like us, who care about what happens in each of their own regions. 

We work with local tradespeople like Pete Henderson Plumbing and Gas fitting, who is Rheem Australia’s solar hot water representative, and many other businesses and resources are used wherever possible. We work hard to offer the best service and price, and support local homes and community groups who want to install solar products, but we are also able to offer benefits such as the donation of solar panels to a worthwhile community group projects. Personally, in the building and 

maintenance of our home, we have always used New England businesses such as Richardson’s hardware, Hillier’s transport, The Armidale Tree group, Hunts Carpets, Alpha furnishings, Swan Plumbing, Boral, Ducats, Vince Williams Electrical, Pete’s Gas and Plumbing, Speedy Staff Solutions, Hubbard Hire, Fiddlesticks Baby Goods, Invergowrie General store and many other smaller, but as important people and businesses.

> Lauren, Tell us about Septic Solutions.

Septic Solutions and Supplies is a locally owned and operated Armidale business, which specialises in on-site wastewater management. Septic Solutions and Supplies are aware that the concepts for the long term use and sustainability of on-site systems has grown and has resulted in new requirements, often more conservative, for conventional wastewater treatment units and land application systems. 

In addition, improvements in wastewater systems in general have resulted in the system designer now having a wide range of techniques or combination of techniques available to match the individual soil type and also to cater to the client’s needs.

Septic Solutions and Supplies have built up a network within the wastewater industry, from manufacturers of systems, spare parts, geo-technicians etc. through to the removal of waste products.

Septic Solutions and Supplies are the distributor and installers of the ‘Ozzi Kleen’ aerated waste water treatment system (AWTS). The ‘Ozzi Kleen’ is a domestic system that can cater for up to 10 persons and treats the wastewater to a standard so that it can be disposed of above ground in a designated application area. That area may consist of small trees, shrubs or simply a grassed area. The ‘Ozzi Kleen’ is ideal for our dry climate with its total re-use of the wastewater!

Septic Solutions and Supplies are also accredited installers of the ‘Biolytix’ system, with its natural and passive approach to wastewater treatment making it ideal for the stand alone solar house.

We also ensure that we demonstrate our support of all the other solar energy product providers in the New England. At the end of the day, each of these people and businesses are getting out there and making a difference to sustainability and the environment. Both Lauren and I, and Solar Shop Australia have nothing but praise and respect for businesses with the same mission we have. We wish them all the best too.

> Thank you Glenn and Lauren.

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