Solar Powered Straw Home

5This solar powered straw home was built on a 90-acre block in Mount Pleasant. Family and friends will be helping to finish the upstairs rooms. It may look like a regular house fromthe outside, but this solar powered straw home was carefully designed to fit into nature. Veronica Reinders, and her late husband, Yuri, lived in a bus on their Mount Pleasant property for a year, researching the sun and wind direction before building their home. 2 The cleverly angled building ,combined with straw walls, carefully placed windows and a verandah ensures the winter sun is utilized and summer heat blocked out. The temperature is regulated with large windows on the north side of the building and a low roof for the sun to travel over the top.The house, which has so far takensix years to build, will remain at a 22 degree Celsius temperature all year round when it is complete. Veronica and Yuri began building in 2006, and after laying thefoundation, built the walls with tightly packed straw bales on spiked stands – learning the method through local and interstate courses. The walls are much thicker thanin a regular home, with three layersof render on the inside and two on the outside.“We wanted something that would fit into nature and the plan of everything being earthy and natural,”Veronica said. Despite the belief straw wouldburn in a bushfire, Veronica said it is safer than brick, with the render protecting the walls from flames.The walls are topped with plain clay paint, with one room containing a “truth window” showing the straw inside the walls. The 90-acre block is self-contained and powered by windmills and solar panels. Veronica uses gas to cookand a large water tank sustains her throughout the year. “Deep in my heart I knew I didn’t want to connect to power. I like being close to nature and knowing I am living fairly naturally.”Veronica, who conducts meditationclasses in her home, has chosen a The “window of truth” showsthe straw inside the walls.calming purple theme throughout the house. Although only recently decorating, the theme “lived in and lovely” was something she strived to achieve. “I am not materialistic. Everything is mismatched and odd and I don’t care – out here it is lived in and lovely.” Veronica is still coming to termswith her future in the house, afterlosing Yuri the day the last wall in the house was built. Friends and family have pulled together to finish digging trenches,painting walls and put on the finishing touches.“Yuri built this all single-handedly– he could do anything,” Veronica said“It was a shock to lose him but I thought I can’t be beaten. We startedthis project and I am going to finish it.“It has been lovely to have my family and friends to help finish it, I couldn’t have stayed without their support.” Veronica plans to one day open her home to people who have mentally burnt out, need to regenerate and learn meditation skills to help them cope. She eventually hopes to open a bed and breakfast offering an earthbound experience for couples to get in touch with nature.

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