Going green:

Agnes Nien­haus and Michael Shrap­nel’s en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly Carl­ton home, al­lows them to per­fectly demon­strate all their de­sign and life­style philoso­phies, writes JAR­RAD BE­VAN

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING -

Carl­ton cou­ple throw open the doors of their en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly home

THROW­ING open the doors of their home to the pub­lic is noth­ing new for Carl­ton home­own­ers Agnes Nien­haus and Michael Shrap­nel.

Next week­end they will par­tic­i­pate in their sec­ond Sus­tain­able House Day, an an­nual, na­tional ini­tia­tive that show­cases en­vi­ron­men­tally pro­gres­sive, sus­tain­able houses.

The cou­ple, own­ers of Bea­c­house Ar­chi­tec­ture, had about 200 peo­ple turn up to their open home last year.

Michael said it was heart­en­ing how many peo­ple were in­ter­ested in sus­tain­able build­ing and took the time to come visit them.

He said peo­ple were look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion on a huge range of top­ics in­clud­ing their ap­proach to pas­sive solar de­sign, the nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als used in the home or speThey cific fea­tures like dou­ble glaz­ing.

Agnes said while top­i­cal to­day, pas­sive solar de­sign has been around since Ro­man times.

“To ori­ent your house to­wards the sun,

Peo­ple step into our home and re­spond to it im­me­di­ately — they say it is a happy house

have nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion and the build­ing ma­te­ri­als you choose, it is an an­cient way of build­ing,” she said.

Agnes and Michael’s house is com­pact fea­tur­ing two bed­rooms and a sin­gle bath­room on a north-fac­ing block.

fo­cused on cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful shell that en­closes around a healthy liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

They spend very lit­tle on heat­ing and noth­ing on cool­ing the house.

Only a small amount of the house­hold bud­get is put aside for elec­tric­ity bills – and that in­cludes the cost of run­ning their busi­ness from home, too.

Michael and Agnes did not use any prod­ucts con­tain­ing volatile or­ganic com­pounds when build­ing their house – from the paints to the ma­te­ri­als, ev­ery­thing was care­fully se­lected.

Michael said newly built homes com­monly have a glue-like smell that “al­most

knocks you over” on en­try. “We avoided that com­pletely,” he said. Agnes, Michael and their daugh­ter Carla have lived in their Carl­ton house for about three years.

Build­ing the house al­lowed them to demon­strate their de­sign and life­style philoso­phies.

“When build­ing a new house peo­ple may see it as an op­por­tu­nity to splash out and buy all the lat­est ap­pli­ances for their huge new house to keep up with the Jone­ses, but our phi­los­o­phy is quite con­trary to that,” he said.

“In our pro­fes­sional lives we like to show peo­ple how they can live and build sim­ply, with a small foot­print.

“We cre­ated a beau­ti­ful liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment, peo­ple step into the house and re­spond to it im­me­di­ately – they say it is a happy house.

“Peo­ple ask us how to build eco­nom­i­cally, our an­swer is to sim­ply put less in fo­cus on what you need rather than what are told you must have.

“Us­ing less is the key to sus­tain­abil­ity.” Sus­tain­able House Day will be held next week­end on Sun­day, Septem­ber 17. There will be 11 open homes in Tas­ma­nia. Visit sus­tain­able­house­day.com to find de­tails of a home near you.

ABOVE: Now three years in, Agnes Nien­haus and part­ner Michael Shrap­nel and daugh­ter Carla, top right, are lov­ing liv­ing in their su­per sus­tain­able home at Carl­ton.

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