LOCAL couple Pam and Matthew May opened up their home last Sunday for Sustainable House Day.
Living on a rural bush block without mains power between Keppoch and Padthaway, they challenge the normal concepts of the bare essentials.
They live simply with a small PV system to power an energy efficient refrigerator and occasional electric appliances.
The small retrofitted cabin is warmed by a tiny pot belly stove which is used for cooking in winter, has a few LED lights powered directly from a solar panel and is well insulated for all seasons.
They have designed and started building an earth covered stone home which uses solar passive heating and cooling, recycled and renewable materials where possible and reuse of greywater combined with a composting toilet.
While the building is in its infancy they welcome inspection by those interested in an alternative approach to architecture for Australia's changing climate.
Over 150 Australian rural and city properties will showcase ideas for sound ecological lifestyles for this year's Sustainable House Day.
Some homes are designed to use the natural elements and remain at livable temperatures without excessive use of power, others are retrofitted with energy saving ideas.
Many people who enjoy the benefits of such design choices practice other sustainable living choices - growing and storing food, generating power with from renewable resources or making carbon conscious decisions.
The Mays have an extensive organic garden planned on permaculture principals, greenhouse for sub-tropical plants and newly established temperate orchard.
Pam has a wealth of experience in growing, tending, harvesting and storing foods.
She is well known for her wildlife paintings of SE native animals and her self sufficiency articles are published in Grass Roots magazine and occasionally in the publication Earth Garden.
On Sunday, Pam led several demonstration displays and workshops on self-sufficiency essentials like basic cheese making, food dehydration and bottling as well as plant propagation.
There were also tours of the garden and home with an opportunity for guests to view their plans and building site while asking questions to implement their own sustainable ideas.
For more information contact 8765 6116 or visit the Sustainable House Day website.