by Amber

Green Living Inside and Out

There’s a lot more to being green and living a sustainable life than recycling, composting and organizing an occasional carpool. I came across the most stunning home designed to incorporate all the green features one can in an urban location. They call this green living house, “Aquas Perma Solar Firma” – or at least the architects do. They’ve managed to include a vast array of sustainable features into one small city lot just off the Pacific in Sydney, Australia.

green living

Chickens live grandly in a shady arbor beneath fruiting vines while greens grow lushly in the most beautiful aquaponics setup. Vertical steel growing beds filled with clay pebbles have nutrients pumped up from covered tanks of goldfish.  At first glance, you don’t realize you see fish tanks at all. They’re inside what looks like a bench, probably protected from the cat or the heat, perhaps both.

The homeowners embrace every aspect of green living, including growing a variety of fruits and vegetables organically. They have tree fruits and garden plants in a series of raised planters and ground beds just outside the kitchen door. They compost kitchen waste not fed to the chickens to build up the garden soil. Naturally, the chickens provide composted manure for fertilizer, along with live-in grub and insect patrol.

backyard permaculture

Irrigation for the permaculture gardens comes from harvested rainwater stored in an underground tank which also feeds the home’s toilets and laundry room. The raised planters have a wicking system worked into their design that fills the tank. You could do something similar at home with rain barrels.

As you can see by this view out a second-story window, the backyard is very small. Yet, the chickens and gardens are so productive. Locally grown is big on the green living agenda, and it’s even better when you can grow more than you can consume to share with friends and family. No matter where you go, there is far less good organic food than commercial substitutes. Every good gardener is a link in the local food supply.

sustainable living

The home itself is quite beautiful inside and out. It makes great use of the daylight heating the interior with ample ventilation offering lots of fresh air. Its roof-to-ground windows and glass door provides a wonderful view of the courtyard with a garden that looks as if its built around a rainwater collection point assisted by a lovely rain chain.

Even the stairwell fills this green living model with sunlight and fresh air. There’s lots of natural wood; beams, flooring, and moldings complementing mostly brick walls. Brick is far better insulation against temperature extremes than wood construction. A better green living choice too. It’s less strain on available resources because it doesn’t rot. Giving you a long-lasting build and wiser use of your money.

To learn more about this amazing green living home’s interior features, check out the Houzz article that introduced me to it.

Images courtesy of the architects, CplusC Architectural Workshop in Darlington, NSW. It’s easy to see why they won an award for this project in 2017.

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  • Amber Grimaud says:

    I love this aquaponics system! Do you have plans on how to build this?

  • David burns says:

    Great article and a great idea for urban housing. Imagine what it would mean for any major city to have even 25% of its housing going fully green like this.

    I also didn’t know that brick was a better insulator for heat variations than wood. You learn something new every day!


The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.