Hills First

October 23rd, 2019
Hills First
In an Australian first, a new cellar door has used 36 blocks made from recycled concrete to achieve a zero net carbon footprint.

James Tilbrook's new complex has used this new building material as a retaining wall against the hill the premises is set into.

The blocks are made from waste concrete will act as a retaining and internal wall.

“The internal wall will be left as is with the texture of the blocks to be used as a feature,” James said.

“The texture of them is beautiful – they have separate pours of concrete which gives it a bit of a wood grain look.

“Using those blocks was a significant idea from the architect and they will help to keep the place energy efficient.”

James has been passionate about sustainable building for many years and he said this all stems back to his parents.

“My parents were considerate about the environment and were part of groups like the World Wildlife Fund and others back in the UK,” he said.

“They installed a solar hot water system over 25 yeas ago so I’ve been brought up with that mentality.”

He and his wife would visit houses as part of the sustainable house day and this is where he met architect Paul Hendy who had designed a home in Campbelltown that won the Zero Carbon Challenge.

Paul said the concrete blocks are made from waste concrete so are considered to be carbon neutral as it is made from a waste product despite the fact concrete is a carbon intense commodity.

“These blocks are enabling us to moderate the temperature in the building without the need for additional energy,” Paul said.

“As the building is set in a hill the block's thickness adds insulation that will keep the temperature moderated which is important because that is where James will be keeping his wine barrels.”

Tilbrook Estate's new cellar door has been a long time in the making but is now well underway which is good news for wine lovers and the environment too.

The aim of James Tilbrook's new cellar door is to achieve a zero net carbon footprint.

“This means that we add up the amount of carbon it takes to build it and then offset that number by planting trees and being energy efficient,” James said.

This new premises will replace the temporary shipping container they have been using since February 2018.

Previous to 2018, the cellar door was located inside the old woollen mill complex in Lobethal and James said that the planning of the new one has been five years in the making.

“There is a lot of red-tape to get through with approvals from council and such,” he said.

“We've taken all of the right steps to ensure everything can run smoothly during the building process.”

To build the project James enlisted Simon Crittenden of Hills Carpentry and Building who said that this was the kind of job he loves to do.

“As a certified energy efficient builder, these are the best kinds of jobs because this is where I see the future of building,” Simon said.

James said Tilbrook Estate's new building is moving along nicely – it's 30 per cent complete – he's hoping to open stage one by Christmas.

“Stage one is the cellar door sales area and dining space,” he said.

Other stages will soon follow but require further approvals and planning.

James said that his mission for this project is show people that you can build an environmentally friendly home or business with an achievable budget.

“We want to prove that it is possible to build a building that is zero net carbon for $250,000,” he said.

“That is fully inclusive of everything that goes with the building such as solar and waste water systems to deal with over 100 people.

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