Natural Buildings and Passive Design

Sunday 26 February 2017, 1.30 pm. at the Narara Ecovillage Visitor Centre.

More on the hot topic- Passive Solar Design & cool and strong Rammed Earth houses


1.30 pm. “Passive solar design and other sustainable building features that are good for the planet and the wallet.

Paul Zaia, AspectZ Architecture & Construction


Paul is the owner/director of AspectZ – architects, builders and building certifiers from Narara, specialising in Passive Solar Design. They have twice won Sustainable House of the Year (as the builder) and also Best Use of Water in a Dwelling. Paul is an architect and a builder, and says he has a thorough understanding of both design and construction, to create house plans that are indeed buildable.

Over the last 2 years AspectZ have been developing a range of standard architect- designed sustainable homes for the wider market known as scallion. They have also developed a design called Aspect Zero, specifically aimed at someone requiring a Passively designed, compact home.


2:30 pm. What is the actual thermal performance and strength of rammed earth walls?”.

Dr. Michael Netherton, School of Engineering – University of Newcastle.


Dr. Michael Netherton with his team has been exploring properties of unstabilised rammed earth for post carbon construction methods. They made a test panel from ‘average’ dirt that was allowed to dry for a long period and then placed into a thermal testing box. The panel was also tested for strength – with a 50 tonne ram at first.

There were some surprising results in terms of actual performance that will be published in a paper, which Michael will highlight in his talk.


Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and presentation.
The Natural Building talk (above) will follow an Open Day tour and presentation on the Narara Ecovillage project, from 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This includes morning tea. If you are combining the Open Day morning with the afternoon talk, please bring your own lunch. We have not yet established catering services for visitors- but watch this space!

The program is: 10.30 – 11.45am registration and tours of the land. Last tour leaves at 11.15am. Refreshments served as tours return.12.00pm – Presentation followed by Q&A on Narara Ecovillage Project (approx. 1 hour)

NB Closed shoes are essential on the tours, the ecoviilage is currently a construction site.