Buckra Bendinni bed and breakfast wins award for energy efficient design from Master Builders Association

Alfresco dining area of the award-winning B&B at Buckra Bendinni

Alfresco dining area of the award-winning B&B at Buckra Bendinni

A Buckra Bendinni B&B blitzed the building awards with its self-sufficient design.

Rick and Susan Fischer of G.J. Gardner Homes Coffs Coast are the pair responsible for the design which scooped the pool at the Master Builders Association’s ‘Excellence in Regional Building’ awards.

The couple won ‘Best Energy Efficient/Environmental Home’ over $500,000 and also ‘Best Exhibition/Project Home’ in both the $300,001-$350,000 and $500,000+ categories for other projects they designed.

Rick said it was particularly gratifying to be recognised for their energy efficient home design.

“The house in Buckra Bendinni is in a rural area and has been set up as a bed and breakfast and therefore the owners wanted to take advantage of energy efficient features to keep running costs down,” Rick said.

“In this case it was cheaper to include energy efficient features like solar panels, water tanks and gas appliances rather than bringing power in from the street.”

The house features a 5000 litre water tank that has been installed ten metres above ground level, which provides instantaneous water for showering and cooking via a gravity feed.

This is backed up by two 100,000 litre water tanks that are on the ground and pump water up to the tank.

“The house also features 16 solar panels that face east, north and west to maximise heat capture and the solar hot water system is gas boosted to ensure there is plenty of hot water available on overcast days,” Rick said.

The central living hub: Solar powered extractor fans have been installed above the wood-burning fireplace and these capture excess heat from the fireplace and distribute it to each end of the house.

The central living hub: Solar powered extractor fans have been installed above the wood-burning fireplace and these capture excess heat from the fireplace and distribute it to each end of the house.

Solar powered extractor fans have been installed above the wood-burning fireplace and these capture excess heat from the fireplace and distribute it to each end of the house.

“We also installed a gas oven and cooktop, which draw less power than conventional electricity,” Rick said.

“All these features combine to enable self-sufficient living for the owners.”

Rick and Susan also took out the award in the Best Exhibition/Project Home $300,001-$350,000 category for their Bridgewater house at North Sapphire Beach.

This is the second year running that the couple have been recognised for their excellence in home design and construction.

Rick said business was thriving thanks to a spike in interest from new home buyers, both from the local area and from Sydney and Melbourne.

“People are moving here from the capital cities for the lifestyle benefits and also because they can buy much larger blocks and build bigger houses than they can in metro areas,” Rick said.

“It’s a good time to be building a new home.”

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