CREATING an environmentally friendly building was not the only priority for a couple who are constructing their own home at Cudgee.
With two small children, they also wanted it to be a family-friendly space where they could relax, have fun and enjoy the country life.
Timshel and Shelley Knoll-Miller and their children Reuben, 7, and Grace, 5, are building a straw bale house on one acre of land at Cudgee.
The 18.5-square building is a passive solar design with a polished concrete floor, loads of north-facing, double-glazed windows and includes living areas, three bedrooms and a study.
Work started in January and the project is expected to take 12 months to complete.
Mrs Knoll-Miller said they purchased the block at 15 Manna Lane about two years ago from friends who had subdivided a parcel off their own land.
The couple decided on straw bales for their environmental qualities and insulating benefits. The bales, which are used on the external walls, are rendered, acting as a heat bank in winter and providing a cooling surface in summer when windows are opened and air circulates through the house.
A builder was engaged to manage the project and built to the fit-out stage while the Knoll-Millers decided to do the straw bale construction themselves.
“In a bid to save money, we have also taken responsibility for other aspects of the project, such as polishing of the slab, digging of the trenches, assemblage of our shed and driveway, the supply of water tanks, solar power and a worm farm septic system,” Ms Knoll-Miller said.
The couple will run a workshop on straw bale construction as part of the Warrnambool Environmental Action Group’s fourth annual Sustainable House Day on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
It is limited to 20 people and anyone interested can email email@example.com to pre-register. Another workshop is planned in coming weeks.
The property will also be open for general inspection on Sunday, along with several other Warrnambool homes.