Eco Village, Castlemaine
Create the sustainable home – and lifestyle – of your dreams in a truly inspirational setting.
Our vision is to create a new standard for sustainable living that fosters a sense of community and closer connection to nature.
The Paddock eco village will be a beautiful place to live for people who enjoy a green lifestyle.
Residents will enjoy high levels of comfort in customised, architect-designed homes in a peaceful bushland setting only 1.4 kilometres from the centre of Castlemaine. Houses, made from timber and some recycled brick, will range in size from 2 to 4 bedrooms, occupying sites between 84 to 120 square metres including a private front and back garden. Homes will be highly energy efficient, with an average 8.5 star rating, which will not only keep running costs low but mean that each property produces more clean energy than it uses.
Around two-thirds of the total land will be dedicated to shared food gardens, orchards, planted wetlands, small wetlands and native gardens. Car parking will be limited to the perimeter, close to the back of each house, creating a central garden area that is both safe and serene.
Walking paths and tracks will connect the property with nearby bush and provide quick access into the centre of town, the train station (with regular services to Melbourne and Bendigo) and nearby schools.
The Paddock eco village offers an outstanding sustainable lifestyle close to the heart of one of Victoria’s most dynamic regional centres.
The Paddock eco village is being developed in accordance with the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge, a rigorous, inspiring standard for housing developments.
Abundant vegetable gardens, terraces, orchards and native landscapes will be created for the benefit of residents and their visitors. Footpaths winding between the gardens will connect people with their homes, neighbours and nature. There will be the opportunity for each household to grow their own in the community vegetable garden and enjoy delicious organically-grown produce.
The layout and features of the community centre were discussed at the Stage 1 workshops, helping the project team to integrate new expectations and ideas. These included a spare bedroom which could be booked by residents for their guests, a leisure area, a laundry and kitchen for community events.
Further ideas that have been incorporated from the workshops are
- The 2nd storey can now operate independently with toilets, kitchenette and private access
- the building has been extended to accommodate more people and it includes a disable toilet and more storage space.
- the laundry has been relocated and is now connected to external clothes lines.
Shared electric charging station
With so much solar power being generated at The Paddock, it made sense to include a electric charging station as one of site’s features. Residents will be able to use it to charge electric bikes – making those hills around Castlemaine a bit more ‘do-able’ – and even electric cars.
Rather than each household needing to obtain and store their own gardening tools, a shared shed will be built and stocked with tools that everyone can use.
The shed will include several art/craft studios and a locker area for all dwellings.
The dwellings will follow a natural curve in the shape of a semi-circle. House sizes will be mixed, with four bedroom homes next to smaller ones, creating a sense of diversity and greater design interest.
An inclusive, welcoming lifestyle
Residents will be free to live as they choose, engaging as much or as little, as they like with the community aspects of life at The Paddock. Due to the range of housing available, it is anticipated that The Paddock will attract everyone from young families and couples to single people, the disabled and the elderly. Pets will be welcome at The Paddock, as long as they are well-managed by their owners.
General day-to-day maintenance on shared buildings, gardens and facilities will be managed by an agent and a gardener. We estimate that this will involve an annual fee of around $1,000 per household to the owners' corporation (formerly body corporate), after allowing for income from renting rooms in the community centre.
Each home at The Paddock will be architect-designed with the internal layout customised to meet the requirements of each homeowner, including those with a disability. The style will be minimalist and contemporary, with lots of natural light and large windows overlooking the gardens and surrounding bushland. Natural construction materials including timber and recycled brick will be used to create a consistent ‘look’ that reflects the bark of the native trees of the area.
Building houses that ‘really work’ is what The Paddock is about. The result will be beautiful light-filled homes that are individual, extremely comfortable, and make the best possible use of the available space.
External walls: dark and light timber
Roofing: corrugated iron
Insulation: All walls will be insulated and walls between attached properties will have double brick walls with a cavity for increased sound insulation
Windows: double-glazed with timber frames
Internal walls: painted bagged brick
Living spaces: timber
Bathroom and toilet: tiles
Bedrooms : carpets
We estimate that the Paddock’s houses will, on average, have an 8.5 energy star rating based on the National House Energy Rating Scheme. Compared to the average new home built in Victoria with a 6 star rating, houses at The Paddock will require far less electricity for heating and cooling.
A comfortable temperature range will be maintained in each home for much of the year using natural sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun and breezes. This will be achieved by orientating each home appropriately on its site and careful design of the building envelope (i.e. roof, walls, windows and floors). The benefits will be huge in terms of increased comfort, lower heating and cooling bills and reduced CO2 emissions.
Solar on every home
Solar will be big at The Paddock! Each house – regardless of size – will have over 4kW of solar panels and the shared building will have the same. Clean energy will power all aspects of life. In fact, slightly more electricity will be produced annually than is used by residents, with excess clean energy fed back into the grid. Hot water and space heating will be powered by electric heat pumps. Each home will have a split system for heating and cooling. There will be no gas connection as The Paddock will be all-electric.
Fast, reliable internet
Each home will be connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), making home working, or simply downloading a movie, fast and easy.
Organic waste will be re-used on site for composting and as poultry feed. Recycling facilities will be provided to reduce the amount of rubbish going off-site.
Increased water self-sufficiency
Using six large water tanks, rainwater will be collected to meet the majority of residents’ needs while respecting the water needs of neighbours and the site’s ecosystem. This will reduce the ongoing running costs and provide greater resilience in the case of water shortages.
Lower energy bills
The 16 panels of solar on each house will insulate people from rising electricity prices and result in power bills being very low. On top of that, the decision to forego the direct use of all fossil fuels, will mean that rapidly rising gas prices will have no direct impact on residents.
Growing your own will become a much-loved way of life for everyone at The Paddock. Thirty percent of the total site area will be dedicated to food growing. Timber-framed wicking beds will be supplied for each home and located in a central area in the style of a community garden. Each household will be able to use these beds to grow the vegetables, fruit and herbs they enjoy, whilst saving up to 90 percent of the water normally used on vegetable gardens. There will also be orchards planted with fruit trees known to do well locally, such as apples, plums, nectarines, quinces, cherries, figs and peaches.
Cars less dominant
Cars will park on the outer perimeter of The Paddock, close to houses, creating an outdoor environment that will be safe for children to play, quieter and more relaxing for residents. Dedicated bike spaces will be built for each home and for visitors.
Connected to bush
Nearby walking and cycling tracks, including through the rear of the adjacent property, provide a pleasant way to enjoy the nearby bushland and surroundings. A dirt track takes you down Crag Street and into light bush and, going the other way, a one kilometre walk or bike-ride down Reckleben St and Chapmans Rd takes you to a bush track beside the Castlemaine Maldon steam railway line. You can walk or ride to Maldon and catch the train home.
Close to town centre
The Paddock is 1.4 kilometres from the centre of Castlemaine, yet feels a world away due to its peaceful bush setting. The Castlemaine train station is also only 1.4 kilometres away, with regular services to Melbourne and Bendigo. The closest primary school is 1 kilometre away.
Each home will have a private front and back garden which will be landscape-designed and include a decking area made of natural hardwood timber.
The shared gardens will also be landscape-designed with beautiful sloping terraces made of stone where the vegetable wicking beds will be situated. Winding pathways made of recycled brick will meander between the gardens, orchards, the natural wetland area and the bush, connecting people with their neighbours and the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Connected to nature
Bringing nature into human-made spaces is one of the fundamental design principles at The Paddock. Intuitively, we know we feel better when we are close to nature. This is backed by research showing that homes designed in this way lead to an increased sense of well-being.
Wherever possible, nature will be incorporated into the design of each home through:
long views down the valley
large windows overlooking gardens and bush
clever use of natural light to ensure homes feel sunny and bright, even in winter
well-thought-out airflows to control temperature variation
To increase habitat diversity, an extensive planting program will be undertaken to reintroduce more native plants to the site, including grasses, wildflowers and indigenous herbs. Mini orchards of fruit trees will also be planted.
For each hectare of development, an equal amount of land away from the project site will be purchased and set aside in perpetuity via an approved land trust organisation.
The CO2 emissions generated by the building work and materials will be offset by a one-off payment by the Barrett family to a carbon bank.