The Design Parameters:

To meet the ethos of our expression of concern for ‘Wellness’, health for people and the planet, ecological, organic, sustainableand reproducible living, the design parameters for the EarthShip Fleurieu (and the whole of The Plentiful Barn Project) had to be very carefully defined.

We zeroed in on these:

1. People are our No1 priority. The ‘Ship’ must be a comfortable, functional, welcoming living space.

2. The living space must be ‘alive’, not only with people but with lots of internal vegetation and animals (if practical)

3. We will build it ourselves – project manage, build, and supervise volunteers and sponsors.

4. The building is to be simple in design in such a way that anyone with minimal building skills could reproduce it.

5. We are to be ‘Off Grid’: Maximise the use of onsite produced living requirements.  A.) Some diesel fuel and Medical requirements have to be notable exceptions. B.) All Power, All Water, All sewage Treatment, All Fertilizers, Most food.

6. We are to be Ecologically Sound: Carbon Zero, organic, sustainable. This is to be during construction and then during ongoing living.

To be Carbon Zero,

We are maximising the use of recycled materials,

We are sourcing materials locally, to minimize the ‘transport CO2’ generation and we will have a huge ‘carbon sink’ (our Natural scrub lot, the wood lots, the windbreaks and the fruit trees) to absorb all the CO2 we produce.

We are generating all power required from solar and wind.

The Materials: We are maximising the use of recycled materials, including using waste materials to create the materials we need. Amongst other materials, we are using:

Recycled glass for the Atriums, fish tank and internal windows

Recycled doors

Recycled or locally grown timber

Using waste Polystyrene fruit boxes to create all the insulation required

Recycled tyres – for our compacted walls and thermal mass.

Used bottles and cans – for internal walls and the bond beam.

Low budget – we will build the ‘Ship’ in a way that even a family on a low budget could replicate.

The Design

For reasons highlighted in the script on EarthShips and EarthShip Fleurieu, we decided that an ‘EarthShip’ was the best type of dynamic, alive living space that would meet our parameters.

This obviously meant we must first have a suitable ‘north facing’ building site. This was paramount in our choice of the plot on the Fleurieu Peninsula on Tonto Road Normanville.

Of equal importance we reasoned that, for healthy, wellness living we must have an exceptional out-looking view from every room – including the toilets, shower and the kitchen.


This is our view from the EarthShip Fleurieu site – The panorama of almost 270 compass degrees stretches along the coast then around the South Mount Lofty Rangers – amazing!

Sector analysis



using a Steropathic sun-path Diagram for the latitude of the property, and the land and boundary layout from Google Earth, we prepared a “Sector Analysis” for the site

The Permaculture Zones


Zone Analysis

Zone Analysis:

Next,we superimposed upon the land and boundary layout the Permaculture Zones.

Zone 0. Living space on and in the EarthShip. The intimate zone where creative design occurs

Zone 1. Close to the house where intensive activities need and get regular attention. Daily used vegetables and intensive animals (fish)

Zone 2. Intensive but less so than Zone 1. The growing area requiring regular management of crops and small animals. Chickens, rabbits pigeons

Zone 3. Low maintenance orchards and dryland crops/pastures. Domestic animals for meat, wool, down, milk etc

Zone 4. Minimal management dryland. Windbreaks, agro-forest and large animal grazing

Zone 5. Unmanaged natural scrub/wood lot forest zone. Close to nature and biodiverse, it contains native and exotic species

Zone F: Fire Protection Zone:

Then, using the above analysis, we produced our first concept layout of EarthShip Fleurieu.

Concent Layout

The actual EarthShip Design is progressing very nicely.

1. The Final design layout has been completed. Our designer, Marty Freney, has excelled himself. Have a look at the drawings below! The design is in Council for Development approval.

2. The Bushfire Attack Level assessment (BAL) has been completed by the Country Fire Service (CFS) and we have been given the “green light” to proceed as designed.

3. The Structural Engineer, Thomas Ha, and Grey Water System Designer, Dave Pennington, are busy checking the structure and water systems in readiness for Building approval.

We expect to have the building certification and “green light” to build in the 1Q 2017.

A100 A102