EarthCare Centre open for Sustainable Housing Day

Eric Brocken and geochemistry student James Robinson at Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre, Richmond, which is open for Sustainable House Day. Picture: Geoff Jones

Eric Brocken and geochemistry student James Robinson at Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre, Richmond, which is open for Sustainable House Day. Picture: Geoff Jones

If you’re thinking of building and want to make it as energy efficient as possible, come to Western Sydney University’s campus at Richmond this Sunday, September 17.

Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre on campus will be open for Sustainable House Day, as it features a solar passive building and extensive permaculture gardens.

Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) and the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) will each have a stall and members of each group will be available to answer your questions. Plants, seeds and books will be on sale and tours will be conducted of the building and gardens.

The EarthCare building’s walls are of rammed earth, mud brick and straw bale, which allow a stable termperature inside year round.

The interior is finished in a combination of rendered mud and plasterboard with ceilings of straw panel. There is an underground tank for grey water and a composting toilet. The corrugated iron roof supports panels for a grid interactive solar power system. The kitchen benches are recycled timber slabs and other recycled materials have been used wherever possible. There is also an outdoor mud brick pizza oven.

The centre is managed by Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) which has developed organic gardens, maintained by members and covers half a hectare. These gardens are a living demonstration of sustainable growing methods. The gardens feature organically grown fruit and vegetables and demonstrate ecologically sound farming methods.

EarthCare Centre’s Eric Brocken said the centre demonstrated what people can achieve when they work together. “The building project has been completed almost entirely by volunteer workers using materials donated by sponsors,” he said. “Money for the building was mainly raised through voluntary fundraising efforts.”

The Secret Garden will also be open pn campus on the day, which runs from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Website links: www.earthcare.org.au

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