Kendenup sustainable home on show
With nimble hands and a green spirit, Ross and Brenda Collins have built one of the most sustainable homes in the region.
The couple were in their 60s when they bought the land and decided to design and build their dream house.
Every aspect has been designed to be sustainable, down to its colour, which has been chosen to reflect heat and stay cool in the summer.
The Collins’ two-storey home in Kendenup is extremely cost-effective — its electricity bill totals less than 50¢ a month.
“A lot of our relatives and family members think we’re mad, but we’ve heard that other people get their owner-and-builder licence to build their own house, so we thought we’d go for it,” Mrs Collins said.
Built on a five-acre block, the house features six water tanks, thermal mass flooring and a vegetable garden.
The thermal mass flooring heats the house from the ground floor during winter and the ventilation keeps it cool during summer.
“It stops the cold and the hot coming in; a lot of the new homes don’t have that included in their design,” Mrs Collins said.
The couple grow their own vegetables, keep chickens and hardly spend any money on groceries.
In the spirit of sustainability, Mrs Collins designed a lot of the furniture in the house and made it out of second-hand items.
“We made a lot of the things here ourselves — the decking and the limestone wall, even the big wooden outdoor chairs and table,” she said.
“I sussed most of the stuff from auction and garage sales and it’s all done very provincially.
“We’re not builders, but you learn as you go along and if you don’t know how to do it, then you find out.
“Everyone can do it, but sometimes people think that these things are in the too-hard basket.
“But what have you got to lose until you try?”
The couple are opening their house to the public on Sunday as part of Sustainable House Day.
Sustainable House Day is a national initiative, which gives people the chance to tour some of the country’s most environmentally progressive homes and get inspired.
“I thought it would be nice to share our knowledge,” Mrs Collins said.
“People can look at different things they can do around the house to keep the bill low and live more sustainably.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails