Only one more sleep before the course is over…
Today there was excited buzz in the air, and it seemed like the group was slightly less focused on the lecture. The reason, I am guessing, is this afternoon’s session when we got to present our designs to the group. Many (most) of the people haven’t done a group assignment since school days, let alone stand up and talk about it. The pressure was on.
If this wasn’t enough, today is the last full day of the course, and it is set to conclude with a party at which everyone will have to present a talent, otherwise we don’t get our PC certificate! All of a sudden, the classroom and the lunch break were enlivened with people sitting in circles and sketching to prepare for their presentations. Music instruments made an appearance, women spinning Hoola Hoops on the lawn, didgeridoo and guitars. It was great! So cheerful, energetic and…very human.
The morning lecture discussed the risks of bush fires and how to survive them. If you are designing for a region with dry hot spells (like Melbourne region, for example), you will need to have a plan for bush fire shelter. Here it goes:
7 Ways to Fire Proof Your House
- First and foremost element is a water storage and sprinkler system that will be able to function when flames pass over the house. Important factor to consider is extreme heat during a fire, which will melt any plastic piping, so all reticulation needs to be metal and placed underground.
- Second priority is the shelter for the house residents that will protect them from radiant heat. Place the shelter on the side of the house opposite to the fire zone, and include water supply and old carpets. During the fire the carpets need to be wetted down and placed over the people to insulate from the heat.
- Plant willow tree buffer in the fire sector. They act as fire-retardants, causing smoke rather than flames.
- Use timber for house construction painted white. White colour reflects the heat, and timber has small thermal mass, which reduces amount of radiated heat. Use tin for the roof (it will need to be replaced after the fire, since it will rust).
- Crown-lift the trees so the flames cannot travel along the trunk.
- Place the house at least 15-20 meters from the bush.
- During fire risk periods, clear all rubbish around the house, and remove any other “easy fuel” that can feed the fire.
I didn’t realize how serious the fire threat is, and now I understand why my friend won’t go bush-walking during hot summer days.
Group Presentations: $24,000 Worth of Designs
After lunch each of the groups presented their designs. It was a real treat, and it’s REALLY amazing how far we’ve come in just two weeks. Each group had its own style of presenting and communicating information, we even had a meditation-like journey through one of the kitchen gardens :).
Ok, off to the party…going to present my talent!