What can we do while staying at Greens Beach?
- You can spend a whole day exploring Narawntapu National Park on the Two Heads Coastal Walk, which starts and finishes at Greens Beach (more details below).
- Alternatively, go for a more leisurely walk along Greens Beach, with views of the Tamar River and Low Head lighthouse. Walking all the way to Kelso takes about two hours return.
- Play a round of golf at the picturesque nine-hole golf course at Greens Beach Golf Course. If you're a really keen golfer it's only a bit over an hour's drive to two of Australia's top courses at Barnbougle.
- Drive fifteen minutes to Beauty Point and enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch at the River Cafe overlooking the Tamar River. While in Beauty Point, check out Platypus House for the opportunity to see these rarely seen creatures close up in their underwater habitat. And just a few kilometres further you can visit the Beaconsfield Mine Museum, at the site of Australia's most infamous recent mine disaster.
- Explore the dozens of wineries with restaurants and cellar doors along the Tamar Valley within 30 minutes of Greens Beach, including Holm Oak Vineyards, Iron Pot Bay Vineyards, Goaty Hill Wines, Moores Hill Estate, Loira Vines, Winter Brook Vineyard, Marions Vineyard, Tamar Ridge Cellar Door, and Velo Winery and Cellar Door.
- Drive to Low Head (about 50 minutes) to visit the Lighthouse and Pilot Station Museum, and just before dusk to view the penguins coming ashore. (best to book ahead at Low Head Penguin Tours)
- At the end of a relaxing or adventurous day, sit on the veranda at Greens Beach SOLARHOME, enjoying absolute serenity while watching the wallabies peacefully grazing on the lawn, and gazing at the moon and stars in one of the clearest night skies you'll see anywhere.
What is the Two Heads Coastal Walk?
The Two Heads Coastal Walk begins and ends at Greens Beach general store and takes about seven hours return at a leisurely pace. (You can also drive an alternative route to both heads if you don't enjoy long hikes). From February through May you can feast on an abundant supply of wild blackberries along the first few hundred metres of the trail, which follows the Shoal Bay and Boobyalla Bay foreshore through Narawntapu National Park, and passes a couple of secluded beaches as it leads through the ancient she-oak forest made famous by landscape artist David Keeling's prize-winning work. After passing the spectacular West Head lookout, the walk follows a four kilometre stretch of pristine sand along the uninhabited Badgers Beach, culminating at Badger Head, which was named after Australia's first female pirate, Charlotte Badger, an escaped convict who plied her trade in the area during the early 1800's. Badger Head is an outstanding wildlife habitat, having been documented as containing more than two hundred different species of native fauna within a 2km radius. Conservationist and TV personality Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter) was looking to purchase a large parcel of land here to create a wildlife sanctuary just before his untimely death in 2006. You'll definitely see plenty of wallabies and pademelons. There's a good chance you'll see wombats and echidnas. At night you might see or at least hear a Tasmanian devil. And you may even become famous by getting a good photo of the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger, of which there are hundreds of unconfirmed sightings every year. The Tasmanian tiger is the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Some locals claim to have heard its distinctive yap at night and seen droppings. But no one has produced a clear photo of one of these shy nocturnal creatures in more than eighty years. The last one in captivity died in Hobart zoo in 1936, after which it was officially classified as extinct.
What's so special about the SOLARHOME?
When a car manufacturer releases a revolutionary new model that uses absolutely no petrol, gas, or oil, never has to be plugged in for charging, has an unlimited range, and simply requires a new battery every twenty years, it will be considered a game changer. This is essentially what the SOLARHOME is. There are plenty of 'sustainable' houses around, but look closely and you'll find they are all either connected to the grid and/or use diesel, petrol, gas, coal, or wood fires for heating, cooking, hot water, and backup generators. Greens Beach SOLARHOME is all-electric and has all the comfort, conveniences, and appliances expected of a modern home, yet is powered 100% by fully recyclable solar-charged batteries 100% of the time, throughout the year, even during a cold Tasmanian winter. It has zero emissions (direct or indirect), zero utility bills, and requires zero maintenance.
Will the power drop out after a few days with no sunshine, and will we have to continually worry about turning off lights and appliances?
The off-grid power system for Greens Beach SOLARHOME has enough storage to last almost a week of normal usage with no solar input at all (which would never happen anyway, since the solar panels are efficient enough to have a significant input on overcast days). The batteries can safely cycle down to 30% state of charge, but in practice rarely drop below 80%, so are expected to last at least twenty years. Even if something drastic was done (like leaving the oven or an iron on for several days) to drain the batteries, the system will protect itself by shutting off power points while leaving lights and other essential items (the fridge and water pressure pump) still functioning. The power system was designed and installed by award-winning Tasmanian company MODE Electrical.
What did you learn from building the SOLARHOME prototype?
Firstly, I learnt how to design and build a house that doesn't require a lot of energy to be beautifully comfortable throughout the year in all climates. I also learnt that although it is possible to build a modern home that is totally off-grid and emission free, it needs to be a specially-designed ultra-low-energy house (costing as much as 50% more than a normal house of equivalent size) that significantly reduces winter heating demand, on a site with good year-round all-day solar access, in a location with adequate solar irradiance throughout winter. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of house sites satisfy these requirements. Plus it's practically impossible to convert existing houses or standard house designs into an ultra-low-energy house. But even more significantly, on further investigation, I discovered that despite what we've been told by mainstream media and authorities for the past twenty years, there’s no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have caused catastrophic global warming and associated sea level rises or are likely to do so in the future. (Computer modelling predictions do not constitute scientific evidence). Nor is there any evidence that, with current commercially-available technology, the modern world would be able to function without the majority of its energy coming from fossil fuels (or uranium). Despite all the hype, and trillions of dollars spent worldwide, even the EPA admits that solar panels and wind turbines currently provide less than 2% of the world's energy. With many more trillions of dollars this is likely to increase to 4% in the next decade, which will have no effect on global CO2 emissions anyway. The evidence in favour of climate change alarmism appears to be based on a simplistic unproven theory and a false claim of scientific consensus combined with apocalyptic computer modelling predictions which over the past twenty years have turned out to be incapable of replicating reality. Almost thirty years ago, in 1990, when alarmists first started warning us that if we didn't drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, sea levels could rise by up to several metres within a couple of decades, global CO2 emissions were about 22 billion tonnes per annum. Since then, not only have we not reduced our CO2 emissions, we've actually increased them by almost 70% to over 37 billion tonnes per annum. Yet during the same period, the sea level in Sydney Harbour (from mean tide recordings at Fort Denison) actually dropped by 5mm. It has risen by 22mm (that's less than an inch) since 1915. So much for catastrophic sea level rises and their connection to CO2 emissions. I also discovered that virtually all of the climate change action of the past twenty years has actually done more harm than good for the environment, in terms of actual pollution generated and wasted resources. As it turns out, climate change activism, at its core, is a deceptive political movement, not an environmental movement. So the challenge for true environmentalists is to continue to work towards reducing all forms of pollution, while acknowledging that CO2 itself is not a pollutant. It's a colorless, odorless gas that, if anything, has most probably helped re-green the planet in the past few decades. I have written a book titled Climate Sense: A Layman's Gide to Climate Change to explain my research and reasoning. Click here to purchase a copy on Amazon.com.au
So if solar panels aren't really doing anything to ''save the planet'' is there any point building an off-grid solar-powered home?
There is if you live in a remote location with no grid available or are likely to have a very expensive connection fee. And there certainly is if the government keeps insisting on connecting wind turbines and solar panels to an electricity grid with declining base-load power, which will undoubtedly continue to force up retail prices and reduce reliability. The Solarhome also happens to be remarkably quiet and comfortable, and it's great not having to worry about paying exorbitant power bills, no matter what the government does. If you're interested in purchasing detailed construction drawings and specifications for the Solarhome design, contact David Macfarlane at firstname.lastname@example.org.