Josh Byrne

 By Donna Kelly

9 May 2013 — ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter and environmental scientist Josh Byrne is well on his way to finishing two 10 Star Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme energy efficient family homes in the Fremantle suburb of Hilton, in Western Australia, that will slash  $2000 from yearly energy bills and outperform on a range of other measures.

Landscaping works have begun and the team has also created Network Partnership agreements with a number of peak industry bodies to help promote the messages of the Josh’s House project.

They include:

  • The Greywater Industry Group
  • Irrigation Australia
  • The Landscape Industries Association
  • The Nursery & Garden Industry WA
  • Smart Approved WaterMark
  • The Urban Development Institute of Australia

Mr Byrne said last year he and his colleagues were tired of hearing that sustainable construction had to cost more so wanted to prove that resource efficient homes could be built at comparable cost and time frames to regular houses.

And the project was under way.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes will be thermally comfortable year round, without the need for air conditioning or additional heating. They will generate more electricity than they use, and will harvest and recycle water. In addition to private garden areas, a common productive garden will supply both houses with fresh food.

Josh’s House – EPISODE 5 from Josh’s House.

“The project also demonstrates a more sensitive approach to residential subdivision that has considered maximising effective garden area around the homes to allow for natural shading, children’s play spaces and local food production – important health and lifestyle benefits that are rapidly disappearing from our suburbs”, Mr Byrne said.

The homes are expected to use less than 10 per cent of the energy of a typical Australian new house, saving the occupants an average of $2000 per year in energy costs. They will emit less than 10 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions normally created by Australian dwellings and use around 40 per cent of the scheme water of a typical Perth home, while still supporting a diverse and productive garden.

“This project is all about providing an inspiring and practical example of how to create beautiful and resource efficient homes that are accessible to the broader community,” Mr Byrne said.

“Key to the project’s success will be the industry partnerships that we will form and foster throughout the process to help share ideas and promote the outcomes.”

Also on board are builder Highbury Homes, Solar Dwelling’s Griff Morris, the Water Corporation and the City of Fremantle.

The building and landscape plans can be downloaded for free here

Factsheets on various aspects of the build will made available during the construction period. There will also be a research component to the project to assess the thermal performance, as well as energy and water efficiency of the homes and landscaping once they are completed and operational.

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  1. Hello Josh, my daughter Jodie Blount met you in WA many years ago and has now got a property of her own. She follows your philosophy and is trying really hard to develop the land her home is on. She has a large hill on the block that requires a retaining wall and weeding etc, it seems a bit too much to manage as they have also renovated the house it has been ongoing for more than 3 years. Her and her husband have done an enormous amount in the garden with many fruit trees and vegie beds. Have you any advice for her. We live in Alexandra Victoria. She believes in permaculture and the life style it provides, regards Denise Blount.

  2. Well done Josh.
    This is exactly what inspired me to build suburban sustainable homes in 1995 – to make sustainability integral to the whole property.
    And from that we established EcoRealEstate and our ecoproperty® system for properties, businesses and all real estate.

    We look forward to more mini developers, and eventually the big ones, following this leadership to create great places for people to live based on natural systems of Permaculture, good design.