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Straw Passive Solar Home, Wetland and Permaculture Farm Tour

February 20, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Join us for a tour and chat about all things as they relate to passive solar design and building with straw.

Our home is a LightEarth build that used formwork around a stud frame to create walls of straw.

We will take a guided tour of our home to see the north-facing greenhouse, double glazed tilt and turn windows, our yoghurt making cupboard, larder with underground cooling vent and surrounding garden designed to create a cool microclimate around our home.

Our home uses grid-connected solar electricity (solar PV on Roof) and evacuated tubes solar hot water in partnership with a combustion stove and hot water jacket.

We will visit our wetland, our emerging olive orchard, the beginnings of our native wildflower meadow, our berry and fruit orchards, our reed bed water treatment system and ORTO Kitchen-garden.

Renter, owner or owner to be, come and harvest ideas from us and share in our learnings! Culminating in refreshments.


• LightEarth building (uses straw but in a very different way to Straw Bale) a unique building method rarely seen
• All the usual suspects such as solar PV, evacuated tubes for solar hot water, and combustion jacket connected to solar hot water
• Larder with 30-metre underground cooling vent for passive cooling of food storage area
• Tilt and turn high performance double glazed windows
• North facing greenhouse attached to the main house to passively heat our bathroom and lounge room
• North facing greenhouse for growing perennial crops such as Babaco, lemongrass, lime and avocadoes all year round,
• North Facing Greenhouse for passively drying laundry and as an active propagation house for vegetable seedlings
• Cooling Microclimate plantings (climbing vines on external second-skin facades to the west of the built form)
• Biodiverse and cooling microclimate wetland which we built and planted to create both habitat and a heat sink for our land.
• Wildlife corridor plantings 2000 trees to help cool microclimates, to create habitat and to slow down wind speeds
• Australian rare native wildflower plantings among olive orchard
• Productive areas to contribute to food security in Hepburn: fruit trees, extensive berry orchard, ORTO One and Orto Two kitchen gardens with regenerative
agriculture practices: green manure crops, crop rotation and poultry rotations on land.
• Reed bed sand filter secondary treatment system for blackwater
• Piazza bee garden with oak trees for mitigating harsh summer heat against the house and for feeding bees all year round
• Zoned areas as per permaculture principles: herb garden adjacent to the house, kitchen garden zone 2, berry and fruit orchards zone 3 and wetland and wildlife
plantings zone 4.

I look forward to meeting you, all the best and arrivederci! Mara


February 20, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm


ORTO Straw Eco Farm
100 Allisons Road
Blampied, Vic 3461 Australia


Village Dreaming