Powering Down - Djanbung Gardens-Nimbin
While connected to the grid, both Djanbung and Jarlanbah have exceptionally low electricity consumption and generate a substantial percentage of their own power from solar panels, the only viable renewable energy source for this location. At Jarlanbah, households are restricted to a 20 amp feed (30 percent of the standard Australian household), which powers basic appliances but will not support energy-hungry appliances such as electric stoves, space heaters, and air conditioners.
A number of houses have feed-in solar arrays, which reduces Jarlanbah’s electricity demands from the grid. The key focus, however, has been on reducing the need for electricity, wherever possible, through good design, energy efficiency, and use of nonelectrical appliances. Djanbung Gardens integrates appropriate technologies into everyday life, with careful consideration given to tools and appliances for domestic and garden functions. Students are introduced to cob oven, rocket, and TLUD (top-lit updraft) stoves, as well as solar ovens for outdoor cooking. For gardening and building, there are sickles, scythes, and an array of other hand tools. The few power tools here are used sparingly.