Karen and Joe Shlegeris and their environmentally friendly house.
Karen and Joe Shlegeris and their environmentally friendly house. Geoff Potter

Sustainable house on trend

HIS carbon foot print may be small but Noosaville's Joe Shlegeris has a large grip of living in the real world - in a sustainable way.

He and wife Karen are veterans of Sustainable House Day held to showcase innovative homes that have invested in renewable energy, when they lived in Townsville.

After relocating to Noosa, they decided it would be best to build from scratch because the area did not have the sort of energy efficient homes they were looking for.

Some of the prestige homes look good, but still rely too much on air-conditioning and as Joe noted: "they can sit there during the day when no one is home using up 25kw of electricity".

"Let's face it when you are talking about building, nothing is truly sustainable - the only sustainable option would be to not build at all," Joe said.

Or the next best option is to think smart and realise the solar option is a lot more affordable than most people realise.

"Many people's thinking on solar photovoltaic systems is about three years in the past," Joe said.

And Joe believes the State Government's decision to cut the 44 cent per kilowatt hour rebate for energy fed back into the electricity grid to just eight cents per kilowat was a good thing for the environment.

"Really by offering that higher amount to householders it was encouraging more energy use," he said.

The Sustainable House Day promotional material describes his enviro thinking that went into his house:

"The design of their house at 175 Lake Weyba Dve was driven by the requirement that the building consume as little energy as possible. A screw pile foundation eliminated the need for the vast amount of concrete used in a conventional foundation.

"The structure is mainly timber, mostly Cypress Pine grown in southeast Queensland. The shape of the house was determined by the requirement that the main roof face perfectly north with a slope of 18 degrees.

"The roof accommodates a flush-mounted 10 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system; most electricity produced is exported. Electricity consumption is slight, as the house is designed to require neither cooling nor heating. The under-floor volume retains a mass of cool air which can be admitted through floor vents.

"The windows on the sunny sides are precisely shaded to block summer sunlight from entering the house while admitting winter sun. Vampire consumption has been almost totally eliminated, as all appliances have convenient switches which allow them to be turned off absolutely - an essential feature as most appliances waste electricity constantly even when they look like they are turned off.

The house will be open to the public between 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.

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