Eco-building and Off-Grid Accommodation – with Steve Golemboski-Byrne

Lackan Cottage Farm is a permaculture farmlet and off-grid holiday accommodation that is situated close to the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland’s only off-grid holiday accommodation. On the 29th November 2016, I travelled to Lackan Cottage Farm to meet one of Northern Ireland’s most inspiring people in the area of sustainable living – Steve Golemboski-Byrne.

In just four years, Steve and his wife Claire, assisted by volunteers, have renovated a rather delapidated cottage, added an educational living space, renovated an existing second cottage for rental accommodation, planted and established large vegetable beds and an orchard, put in large polytunnels, created a reed bed system for their greywater, and more – with everything set up to run from off-grid renewable energy. Almost all of what they have created has been completely done using locally sourced materials and using natural building methods such as strawbale, cob and local timber. In addition to this, they have a four year old daughter, hens, dog and cats – and two horses, one of which is a draughthorse that Steve is training to do the jobs that a tractor would do.

In this show, recorded on the 29th November 2016, I talked with Steve about some their off-grid ecobuilding achievements here at Lackan Cottage Farm.

To listen to this programme about Eco-building and Off Grid Energy Generation please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=7bc0d608-e815-4dc3-b74c-f846782a7448

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 1st December 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Steve Golemboski-Byrne, eco-builder and co-owner or Lackan Cottage Farm

Steve Golemboski-Byrne, eco-builder and co-owner or Lackan Cottage Farm

The Classroom - a learning and community space where permaculture workshops have been held.

The Classroom – a beautiful learning and community space where permaculture workshops have been held. Heated with a rocket mass heater that burns dry slender branches with great efficiency.

The Mass Rocket Heater - wood is very efficiently burned within a double chambered drum, to heat a long earthen seat re-radiating heat into the room.

The Rocket Mass Heater – wood is very efficiently burned within a double chambered drum, to heat a long earthen seat re-radiating heat into the room (and bottoms!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green roof on the Classroom. The roof is insulated with strawbales to make a square round house!

Green roof on the Classroom. The roof is insulated with strawbales to make a square round house!

This is a wattle fence - quick to make and a great use of local resources.

This is a wattle fence – quick to make and a great use of local resources.

 

 

Interior of the Off-Grid Holiday accommodation. The internal ambience of the accommodation is created using the principles of Human Centred Design

Interior of the Off-Grid Holiday accommodation. The internal ambience of the accommodation is created using the principles of Human Centred Design

Photovoltaics provide power for electricity. These panels were found discarded by a church who had upgraded theirs. All they needed was a good clean!

Photovoltaic panels provide power for electricity use. These panels were found discarded by a church who had upgraded theirs. All they needed was a good clean to work well!

This draughthorse was very neglected and in poor condition. With Steve's care and equine expertise, he has brought it back to excellent health and is training it to be his 'farm tractor'.

When Steve found him, this draughthorse (Rain) was neglected and in poor condition. With Steve’s care and equine expertise, he has brought him back to excellent health and is training him to be his ‘farm tractor’.

 

Arcosanti – an architecturally unique eco-community in Arizona

Arcosanti (in Arizona, US) is an eco community, an educational facility, a visitor desitination and most importantly a model for sustainable city development. It is based on the unique and inspirational architectural work of Paolo Soleri’s theory of compact city design. In part his work was inspired by a desire to avoid the urban sprawl he saw happening in cities like nearby Phoenix.

I am interested in eco communities, as well as places where people can come to be inspired by examples of sustainable building design. On the 1st of May 2016, I carpooled with friends to Arcosanti in Arizona to see its architecture as well as meet some of its residents. I spoke with Laura Banks who is both resident and staff there. Laura and I chatted about some of the unique qualities of Arcosanti such as its multiple uses of space and passive solar heating/cooling design.

To listen to this programme about Arcosanti please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=272f0a34-a8de-451d-86bf-169126829ff0

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 19th May 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

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Laura Burns checks out one of the clay bells the community makes in the outdoor bell making workshop

Laura Burns checks out one of the clay bells the community makes in the outdoor bell making workshop

A staircase and roof combined

A staircase and roof combined

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal accommodations are close to work areas, and inset into the earth to provide perfect living temperatures without external need for heating or cooling

Personal accommodations are close to work areas, and inset into the earth to provide livable temperatures without external need for heating or cooling

SHOW HOST Maureen Howard is a Sustainability Educator and was a Sustainable Living Facilitator with the Dunedin City Council from 2007-2015. During the period this show was recorded, she was travelling from Dunedin to Northern Ireland – using low-carbon alternatives, that have included freighter, bus and hitching (and no flying so far). Each week, she hosts a radio show with a resident of Dunedin (via Skype), or with a resident she meets on her travels.

Natural Earthbuilding – with Ben Nicholls

I really like the idea of building with earth – it’s natural, low-enbodied energy, local and fully recyclable. For most of us, building a new home is not a practical option. However we can still do projects and retrofits to our homes that involve earth.

In this programme, I chat with Ben Nicholls who has a strong interest in earth building and has completed several projects from earthen floor to pizza ovens. Ben has a background in engineering and has completed a number of household earthbuilding projects such as making a earthen floor and constructing pizza ovens.

To listen to this programme about Natural Earthbuilding please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=4dd7c8b4-7c21-4cbc-b5c0-446f66a8fcba

For more information on earthbuilding in New Zealand go to EBANZ at http://www.earthbuilding.org.nz

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  6th November 2014 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Ben Nicholls, advocate for natural earthbuilding

Ben Nicholls, advocate for natural earthbuilding

Passivhaus (Passive House) building – with Tim Ross

Here in Dunedin, many families struggle during the winter with cold damp houses. In the last few years thanks to central and local government initiatives we are improving our housing stock with subsidies and rates offsetting for insulation and clean heating installations. This is all to the good!

However overseas especially in Germany and Austria, there is a movement in housing design that takes warm energy efficient housing to a whole new level where houses are capable of maintaining warm stable indoor temperatures down into the minus figures with little extra heating required.

Its called Passivhaus. High energy performance standards are achieved using a combination of super insulation, passive solar design, draught proofing and heat recovery ventilation systems.

Here in NZ the Passivhaus concept is still fairly new and lately seems to be catching on. We have some Passivhaus buildings in New Zealand, and here in Dunedin there are now houses built that incorporate some of the features of Passivhaus.

For this programme, Tim Ross joined me in the studio to chat about Passivhaus design.

Tim has a passion for low energy housing. He is a Registered Architect and a Certified Passivhaus Designer. He leads an architectural practice called Architype Ltd. The practice has expertise in domestic renovations, new houses and community architecture as well as significant experience with institutional and commercial clients both in New Zealand and overseas. With Tim’s expertise in passivhaus design, his business is able to specialize in in low energy housing design.

To find out more about

To listen to the programme Passivhaus Design please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=6b8a9ed0-8600-4257-9079-9c22e1888ac2

This programme was originally broadcast on  the 19th February 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council. To view other programmes go to http://www.ecolivinginactiondunedin.wordpress.com

Tim joined me in the Otago Access Radio studio.

Tim joined me in the Otago Access Radio studio.