Golden Bay lives up to its green rep with the Eco-Fest Eco-home Tour
Weekly Local Good News Report by Charlotte Squire.
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Golden Bay has a great reputation for the highest green voting populace in the country, but what does that actually mean, for your average Bay citisen? These days being green in Golden Bay doesn’t necessarily only transmit to peace-loving, muesli munching types; we are also made up of dairy farmers, mussel farmers, retailers, trades people, tourism operators and many more who simply want to walk their environmental talk both professionally and on a personal level within the stunning natural landscape of Golden Bay. Each of us find our own ways to live our green ideals and one way this is being publicly demonstrated is via Golden Bay’s upcoming Ecofest Eco-Home Tour.
Organised as part of Eco-Fest (which is a big deal right now around the Top of the South Island) the Ecofest Eco–home tour is happening thanks to the Tasman District Council honouring their Resource Management Act obligations to educate the public about the fact that everyone (not only farmers) can impact significantly upon the environment. This is the opportunity for people to tour around six Golden Bay homes that have been built or upgraded to reflect the environmentally responsible values of their owners.
Says Claire Webster, Environmental Education Officer for the Tasman District Council –
“It always amazes me how different features of these homes appeal to different people on the tour, we’re visiting a few big palatial homes, and also a few that have been built on tighter budgets, for example one house has no electricity. It has gas, fire, solar, a composting toilet and gravity fed water. People have given a lot of thought into every aspect of what they put into their homes”.
With-out giving away the exact locations and names of the owners of the green-homes (it’s meant to be a surprise), Claire described some of the green design features of the houses to be visited this year-
“We’re visiting a large rural property that’s off the grid. It has a bank of sixteen panels in a solar array. There’s a beautiful Rayburn fire in the kitchen and these guys have given a lot of thought to their water supply – they have three sources of water from spring, rainfall and a well, meaning they have the capacity to hold 60,000 litres of water on their property. They have solar hot water too. Their house is lined with macrocarpa, with lots of passive solar design elements.”
“We’ll also be visiting a very modern, beautiful architecturally designed house that the owners describe as ‘their dream home’. It features beautiful passive solar design; it’s got a lovely outdoor area where they’re totally protected from the two main wind directions. It has low and high windows so that in the summer they have this great wind flow coming in through the low windows and going out via the high ones. And they have a polished concrete floor using river pebbles in the concrete, which is also insulated with polystyrene to maintain heat.”
Moving on now to a home that was built on a tighter budget but is no less ‘palatial’ to the owners, Claire said the tour bus would be swinging into the ‘burbs to visit a home that appears conventionally built yet has been cleverly designed to best utlise all the benefits of their small section with a deck built from recycled plastic bottles and wood chips that will never rot and isn’t slippery when wet.
“All of the components of that home have high star energy and water ratings. You can spend $200 more on a high star rating washing machine and save much more over time in power and water.”
Other homes on the tour are feeding electricity back into the grid, show how passive solar works, and some also feature trombe walls.
Note from the author: I had absolutely no idea what a ‘trombe wall’ was prior to my conversation with Claire Webster, and interestingly, not even google revealed it’s meaning … because I hadn’t spelt it right. Sigh. Please click on the word for a nice Wikipedia explanation. Now back to the story …
Claire intends for the tour to inspire people and to generate ideas so that people come away with new ideas about ways to either alter their current homes or build them in the future. As for me, I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about the TDC’s commitment to honouring the greener bits of the RMA. Now I’m off for a bowl of muesli …
Tickets are now on sale for the Ecofest Eco –home tour which takes place Saturday 5 May – 9am – 5 pm. It costs $25 for a ticket, enjoy a full day of inspiration and new ideas. Tickets available now from the Tasman District Council Takaka Office.
Ecofest is coming to Golden Bay! A mini Ecofest Expo: aimed at showcasing appropriate businesses that help people live more sustainably, and offering a wide range of interesting seminars and hands-on workshops.
Consider us a home and garden show with a green conscience. Our target market is mainstream public whom we aim to educate and encourage to live sustainably. We particularly focus on products, services and innovations that assist people in saving money on their household bills, and aim to provide a wide range of experiential learning opportunities for the public to get involved in.
Thanks to our sponsors for supporting this Local Good News Column:
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The (happy) end.