The Habitat Project and IoT

Yesterday “The Habitat Project co-ordinator”, MySelf, Tony, met a wonderful group of people at the OzBerry – Sydney’s Monthly IoT Maker Space yesterday Sunday the 17th of July 2016

They let me present a 5minute pitch about “The Habitat Project” and IoT. Let me paraphrase what I said after describing the project as a whole.

The Habitat Project provides enthusiastic makers to contribute to a range of projects and potentially many different things, from monitoring to control of environmental, electrical systems through to new an innovative solutions.

Some projects will have funding and all projects will have the opportunity to be installed in a new “green fields” site. Some may choose to experiment in The Habitat Project before implementing it themselves.

We will be looking for vendor partnerships, grants and research and development opportunities.

Areas not fully explored include

  • Interactive home/venue management facilities
  • Research and development around perceived comfort

The Response?

Genuine interest and great ideas expressed by many of the attendees, Among them is so much knowledge and curiosity, I can see we can innovate a more sustainable world.

PS It was an all male group which I believe needs to recruit some women for a little more diversity. Ladies where are you hiding?

Are shipping containers really the answer for affordable housing? Time for a reality check

This is the title of an article in The Conversation, please read it.

This was my reply;

Like usual discussions about a subject such as container homes, really depends on the context and the particular requirements. I have a Container Shack/Shed with 2 x 6m containers – 7m apart with Walls floors and roof between, now including an additional room, recycled wood Veranda and covered areas. Estimated as not much over $12,000 we have around 150m for “glamping in”. This design is not about portability just ease of building, and I believe we are making substantial use of the structural strength of the shipping containers.

I am now planning a larger structure using similar principals to extract the maximum structural utility from recycled shipping containers, now 4 x 12 Containers. The idea is to provide a “platform” on which to undertake the R&D of sustainable features which is an open project for those interested see or for the “design” represented in cardboard models see

Just installing the 4 containers provides more than 50% of the walls structure and a substantial part of the roofing (We will add another layer) not withstanding that external insulation will be applied. The points raised in this article simply highlight issues to be addressed and are welcome, but unlikely to alter the final outcome.

I will endeavour to make everything we do public, volunteers and enthusiasts are encouraged to contribute.

an I subsequently followed the link on “Ceramic paint insulation” and have also asked the following question of the author.

Funny, the link for Ceramic paint insulation you gave contradicts the line “it does offer some degree of insulation” and seems to suggest its snake oil? I think there may be uses for “Cool Roof” paints but this sounds absurd.

Vidyasagar Potdar can you please explain this further?

Do subscribe to The Conversation is is one of the best Evidence based reporting you can find and seem to be open to real feedback for reasonable criticism.

Possible Locations for The Habitat – 2 and 3

The Following two locations are on the central ridge of the property which results in very extensive views however the fire risks of these locations must be taken into account given they are atop slopes with extensive grassland on either side.

The Second location for the Habitat is what we describe as at the “Lower End of The Range” is between the central point and the Shack. Some way from the property entrance (1km by road) it will require an additional 400m of road. A short walk of 5mins will get you to the shack.

View from the second possible location, Lower End of The Range

The location would be just in the foreground, solar access is great but there is more wind exposure. Again the views are spectacular with distant and near views such as the one above.  (>800m) from our nearest neighbor. One advantage is it will be possible to place a berm wall to the east in this location and there is extensive flat or gentle slopes around for gardening and other activities. The Dam is within 400m and thus accessing the water in plausible.

This location has access to additional water, has plenty of parking space, thin topsoil’s and a slightly reduced northerly view see next Photo.

LowerEndofTheRangeLocation-Towards the HigherRidgeLocation
View from the second possible location, towards the 3rd location, The Higher End of The Range

The final location currently under consideration is about 50m to 100m south of the power pole in this photo.  Only a short walk other the hill to additional and extencive North and Westerly views, this location is 10-20m above the lower end of the range and has > 270 degree views.

In our next post we will extract the various factors involved in site selection so far and consider other issues.

What do you think is most important in site selection?

Possible Locations for The Habitat – 1

One location for the Habitat is what we call the “High Altitude Location” is the closest to the property entrance. A short walk or drive through the forest opens out to this location.

Looking south west as you emerge from the forest

Beyond the Post in the foreground may be necessary to ensure the Northerly sun radiates the the northern wall, all day in winter. The views are spectacular with many distant views. Somewhat protected from North Easterly and Westerly winds this location is the closest (<500m) from our nearest neighbor.

Beyond the buildings own water harvesting, this location has no access to additional water, has plenty of parking space, thin topsoil’s and a reduced northerly view (view of the forest).

The Shack – Low Cost container home?

The Shack – On The Habitat Project site

The Habitat Project is not just a theoretical design incorporating numerous Sustainable features, it will be built. To support the project we already have a “Shack” in place with accommodation for two couples as is, with a Caravan there are another 2 double beds but we can quickly reconfigured to accommodate 8 to 12 people. If we then pull out the tents, we can accommodate dozens. The Shack also borrows most of its structural strength from recycled shipping containers like the proposed Habitat project design.

The Frontal view of the Shack.
Looking up the hill at the back of the Shack


The Shack in the Context of Hidden valley

Currently only configured as a “shed” and occasional “glamping” The Shack is a key resource to support The Habitat Project which will provide more accommodation.

The Habitat Project Phases

The Habitat Project Phases have being penciled out on our Wiki,  and a Project phase template is under development. The Project is in the Initial Design Phase with some work started in the Community engagement Phase.


Soon we will be letting you know how you can participate.

note: As of writing there is no content in each of the above project phase pages, content will appear progressively.

The Habitat and the Sustainable Systems Method

The Sustainable Systems method provides a way to identify new and innovative opportunities to make any systems in your sphere of Influence, more sustainable and Efficient.

A project of the sustainable Systems method can be applied from your fridge to a factory, your home, your car.

The Habitat Project will include multiple sustainable systems and features and thus provides an ideal opportunity to trial the Sustainable Systems method.  The Sustainable Systems method will thus be one of the principals under which The Habitat Project is guided by. More information will be made available in the wiki.

An Architect with Sustainable building experience has been engaged

An Architect with Sustainable building experience has been engaged to undertake the initial steps to  make a Sketch Design which entails finalisation of a brief of requirements, and an inspection of the property.

A review of Council and other Development policies that apply.

On development of this final concept a thermal comfort rating will be done aiming to achieve as high a thermal comfort rating as possible.

Of note is we will be attempting to place as little as possible detail on the “Blueprint” because we want to “Evolve” the structure with the help of participants.

The Habitat Project has been created with its Website, Blog and Wiki

  • Would you then consider designing an ultra Sustainable habitat, but rather than believe you know it all, opening the design process to others, to allow them to have a hand in what you do, and benefit from the results?
  • Would you consider sharing your knowledge and experience in sustainable systems and design, freely to contributors who can enjoy low cost country escapes to relax, learn and volunteer?

I would.

I really intend to do this, and the process is in train. The idea is to use recycled shipping containers, a roof, a floor and some walls to build the skeleton, a sheltered “sleep over” and project work space. I then want to engage contributors from the local area, the ACT, Sydney, even internationally.

All along I will seek to open source as much as we can for those who follow; to inform city based workshops, presentations or training courses and drive the research and development of a “Sustainable Systems method” that allows people to identify new and innovative ways to increase sustainability and efficiency – “from your fridge, to a factory”.

The project is now started on

Sustainable home/venue for the development of sustainable practices