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Monday, March 17, 2014

Permaculture Sectors at HHF

Sectors are more site specific issues of sun, light. view, wind, rain, wildfire and water flow.

As for every one else the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Our house is facing South East which means the other side of the house gets that hot Summer sun. With verandas and the addition of pergolas with vines over them we have been able to eliminate the worst effects of heat. There is the fortunate placement of the Cave (with its own shield of Bananas and Kiwi fruit) which shields the house and of course lots of insulation in the roof and walls. Overall the result isn't all that bad but the design of our house does not facilitate the cross flow of air which would be the ideal solution to the heat build up of a hot day. Not perfect but not too far off the mark.

The vegetable beds get the full benefit of the sun with some protection form the western heat. Zone 2 used for the Summer tomato/Vine bed is well placed for a constant rain of sunlight.

An issue for our squat house. Plenty of windows but with the verandas we do suffer from dim lighting internally. The roof design prevents the use of sky lights and so we live with LED lighting 'on' in any occupied room during the day. Usually this is only the kitchen which seems to be the heart of all activity.

This style of window opening is not suitable to direct breezes

The real value in HHF is the view over the valley. At least they got this right when the house was built. But we get a double benefit as the vista from the rear and north of the house is spectacular in its own right as it is an expanse of the hill. (see the about me photograph)

Being nestled into the base of the hill while still being high and overlooking a valley seems to generate its own energy.

A pond beside the lounge room is a pleasant feeling

Having experienced the negative effects this last weekend we know how destructive it can be but also how beneficial. Cooling breezes are the usual Summer experience. Fortunately, with the well established wind breaks of Casuarinas (suitable for both dry and wet conditions and doubling as drought fodder) to the West and natural forest to the South we are now well sheltered.

Part of the vegetable garden with the backdrop of Casuarinas

If we could make the house experience the same effects as the carport which has a steady cross breeze on most days we would have a perfect situation.

We have two collection systems. Zone 4/5 is our large dam fed by a significant catchment area. This does use energy in the form of fossil fuel to deliver the proceeds to the house holding tank. We are working on a solar solution.

The second collection system is all roof area feeding our potable water storage which is four concrete tanks. Two of these are kept turned off from the pressure system as a safety against line breakage. 100,000 litres insures against even the worst drought.

The holding tank for dam water kept cool with vines

This is the weak spot of HHF. Being on a ridge surrounded by forest we have limited options to protect against wild fire. Although we keep the areas close to the house clear of debris unless we remove the native trees we are open to flame attack from the south. Removing the native forest would expose us once again to strong southerly winds and destroy the habitat of a large number of native fauna.Our solution is to insure well and evacuate early.

The southern forest

Water Flow
The greater part of our property is native forest and there are no plans to alter that situation. We have examined the possibility of adding swales to some sections such as the orchard but retrofitting these presents a very difficult challenge. We are still examining how this might be effected without removing the current fences and damaging established trees.

The south

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