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Josh tackles 10-star homes

Josh tackles 10-star homes

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Josh Byrne has started a bold new building project, SIMON WEBSTER reports.

After 20 years of transforming rented backyards into productive permaculture gardens, Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne is taking on his most ambitious house project yet: the design and construction of two 10-star energy efficient family homes in Fremantle.

The homes will not need heating or air-conditioning, will create more energy than they use, and will harvest and recycle water. They will also share a productive garden, and the building methods and materials will be chosen so that they can be easily replicated.

 Josh hopes the houses will cost no more and take no longer to build than regular houses.

 Features will include:


  • A concrete slab finish in northern living areas to store winter heat and moderate temperatures in summer


  • A 3kW photovoltaic system and gas-boosted solar hot water


  • Solar tubes to bring daylight to internal areas and reduce the need for lighting


  • Rainwater tanks and greywater systems


  • A centrally controlled irrigation system for the shared garden, incorporating soil moisture monitoring and weather monitoring to maximise water efficiency


“The project also demonstrates a more sensitive approach to residential subdivision that has considered maximising effective garden area around the homes to allow for natural shading, children’s play spaces and local food production,” Josh says.

Construction started in November 2012 and is scheduled for completion by May 2013.

An online mini-series will document the project. To find out more and sign up for Josh’s House newsletter, go to