A passion for the past: Award winning sustainability

Published 25 September 2015. A vision, respect for history, hard work, and attention to detail were all evident at the first Sustainable Homes Tour last weekend...

A vision, respect for history, hard work, and attention to detail were all evident at the first Sustainable Homes Tour last weekend.

The current owners of the Cordial Factory at Rylstone (built in the early 1880s) won a National Trust NSW award in 2003 for Adaptive Re-use of the building, and Watershed Landcare members enjoyed a fascinating glimpse into the project which created a beautiful living space.

When the owners bought the derelict stone building blackberries were growing through the window openings, yet they could see that this could be a functional and cosy home.

The original building has been lovingly restored and is a large open-plan kitchen (recycled), dining and living area. An enclosed breezeway leads to the private areas of bedrooms, bathroom and laundry in the adjoining weatherboard building which was a new construction.

The integration and design of the project went through many drafts and revisions, resulting in a functional, energy efficient home. Solar power is installed, comfort glass has been used in windows, and insulation placed in walls, ceilings and under-floor.

The earthen floor in the factory was removed and 36 concrete piers set to take a recycled wooden floor and local timber poles to support the roof. Doors and windows were rebuilt with recycled timber, and hardware made to suit the period. Timber shutters on the windows provide security and allow the sashes to be left open in summer allowing cooling air circulation.

All components of the weatherboard building were recycled. The house holds boards, doors, windows, skirting boards, picture rails, dados, and flooring from places as diverse as church hall, schools, and NSW University. Metal components such as hinges and sub-floor vents were made by the owner. A small extension was needed to protect the bedroom from western summer sun and 3,000 second-hand bricks were used.

External elements contribute to the solar-passive design and comfort, with a sheltered courtyard, alfresco area with deciduous a vine and trees protecting the western walls. There is also flourishing veggie garden.

The Sustainable Homes Tours are free and are a chance for folk to chat together, look and learn, share ideas, and have an enjoyable afternoon. Members, non-members and visitors are welcome. Tour dates: 17th October and 21st November. Tours will commence at 1.30pm and finish at 3.30pm approximately.

Points of interest for the next Tour in Gulgong include: a long, narrow, solar-passive designed home, earth covered, indoor temperature range 15 – 25 without heating or cooling, roof garden. Come along and be inspired!

Registrations and enquiries to Rosemary Hadaway 0411755682 or rosemary.hadaway@gmail.com