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Sunrise on Falie sea view eco villas created to be good for the environment, our guests and us.
We thought it would perhaps be interesting for our guests to know how we have setup and run our accommodation here on Kangaroo Island to be environmentally sustainable plus work well for the guests and also minimise the costs of energy and supplies of water.
It has taken a lot of design and is in a way an example of how with care we can achieve both a low energy usage (and low cost) plus provide a really comfortable home for us and our guests in all seasons and outside weather conditions. It does show it is possible and
We have taken a lot of care of in the setup of our Seaview Eco villas
1. Siting of the buildings, insulation, and layouts – We get the benefit of the winter sun in the living areas and bedrooms to warm and provide comfort plus get shading for the summer sun with good placement and sizing of the eaves plus proper flows of air and ceiling fans. Years down the track It just works. Proper air flow by design of where opening windows are, and are not placed, is very underappreciated in good design. The windows and doors are double glazed and insulation is 6 star rated. This lowers substantially the energy usage to heat and cool. We find even on hot days the ceiling fans and airflow from the ocean minimise the need for air-conditioning but it is there for that week or 2 in summer when it does get hot and still with no wind.
2. Solar power and battery backup in the evening. We have as many solar panels as we could fit on the roofs and that plus low energy use lighting, fridges, aircon, ceiling fans, plus good layout and siting on the land keeps us under the draw limits for our batteries. We now rarely draw on the grid but can at times of other need in the community make a contribution to the local power grid plus even in the evenings when power costs spike.
3. Water usage. We collect the water from the roofs and store it so we can minimise the purchase from the local mains supply of the desal water from the nearby water supplier. Water is a precious resource in Australia especially in country regions and the aim is to collect and store as much as is possible.
4. Water heating for showers. Water heating is in 2 stages. The first stage is using 2 large storage electric water heaters on timer systems so these heaters only operate in the daytime when solar power is generated from our own solar panels. This storage of heated water is in effect 2 large batteries as well and we rarely use their full capacity each day meaning we can minimise power from the sun to heat the water the next day which goes to the electric batteries then excess power to the grid. The second stage heating of gas powered instantaneous hot water services is only brought into action if the stored water heater system is exhausted. This cuts down on purchase of bottled gas which is expensive and very delivery intensive in energy.
The most important part of all this is the siting and design of the homes as that minimises the need for energy in the first place but importantly makes a huge difference to improve the comfort factor. Having fresh air flow through a home for most weather events apart from the really hot and really cold times gives protection from heat and cold as a natural feature of a property. The ability to naturally heat and cool the home is the single best use of resources – even better than 7 or 8 or even 9 star insulation in our findings here at Sunrise on Falie.
We have been able to show that an ‘eco’ label is more than just a marketing term as we actually have taken all the hidden steps to setup and run our accommodation to work well for comfort plus pay itself back in time.
From the ground up in the design and build we have taken a green approach sensitive to the native wildlife and vegetation capturing the best aspects of the property for all guests to enjoy.
Where to from here?
The growing demand for home car charging is our next step so our guests can tour the island during the day and charge their electric of partial electric charging vehicle with us.
In addition we have a plan for more roof space to become available when a new garage and boat shed is added for both collection of rainwater and to cover with solar panels and a battery. The relationship of panels and battery capacity is closely linked to balance both the collection of power and its storage. There are coming onto the scene energy retailers that offer the feature of drawing from existing battery systems in the evening hours and actually recompensing the home owner a fairer percentage of the spot prices in specific surge times of an evening. This capacity option may gather greater use in the future to smooth out power production at the grid level in high demand evening times.