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Ben opens his doors

BEN Luffman is so passionate about building sustainable homes he is opening his Toormina residence every weekend for six months, starting tomorrow.

Coinciding with Sustainable House Day, Mr Luffman’s Nangara Eco House will open to the public tomorrow in the hope of inspiring other home builders.

“Building sustainably can cost no extra if you’re just getting the design right,” he said. “A lot of homes don’t take into account the aspect and angle of the sun. The majority are built to face the street or the view.”

While clever design can cost nothing, other strategies to create a more sustainable home can cost an extra five to 10 per cent, according to Mr Luffman.

“Over the long term, you can more than get that back through savings and that’s not considering the health and comfort benefits.

“This house has been designed and built to a budget with the intention of showing how you can incorporate sustainable features that save energy, water and waste.”

Nangara Eco House features include solar passive design, such as minimising west-facing windows, maximising cross ventilation and using eaves to shade windows. Outside, external walls are constructed from concrete-rendered expanded polystyrene panels, which have an insulation R2 value.

The latest in solar power generation, solar hot water, rainwater tanks, grey water re-use, energy efficient lighting, water and energy efficient appliances and organic compound paints, also reduce the ecological footprint of this home.

“It’s important to get the message out there on sustainable houses, that there’s not just an environmental benefit, but also a comfort benefit, because the house performs so well. It’s warm in winter and cool in summer, rather than a house that does all the wrong things that you have to heat or cool,” he said.

“We hope visitors are inspired to incorporate one or more features in their own homes. Conventional homes consume a significant proportion of our energy and water resources, so every little bit we can do helps.”

The Nangara Eco House is expected to save about 80 per cent of the energy and water used in conventional homes. Anyone about to travel on the home building journey or interested in sustainable living is invited to the Nangara Eco House at 14 Noomba Street, Toormina, from 10am to 4pm tomorrow or every Saturday and Sunday until March 2011 between 10am and 3pm.


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