Environmentally conscious Leura Garage customers can rest assured that great care is taken to minimise its carbon footprint. Owner James Howarth is aware that many people choose to live and visit the Blue Mountains because of its proximity to pristine wilderness. It was a given that the development of Leura Garage be as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible. Joe Mercieca, director of Blue Eco Homes, came on board with a similar mindset. His team has been involved since Leura Garage was redeveloped. “I love a challenge and when the idea came along for a restaurant on the site I thought it was fantastic,” Joe says. “It has a lovely northerly aspect and sure enough, now that the restaurant is open and the weather is cooling down, as soon as there is a bit of sun everybody is out enjoying it.”
Did you know – Leura Garage won 2 Master Builder Awards for its environmentally responsible conversion from a mechanic to a restaurant. These are some of the energy related points:
1 Photovoltaic energy system – Harnessing the sun is an environmental plus for the business and the builders installed a 10kw photovoltaic system, taking up 90-100 square metres of roof space, to generate power fed back into the grid and significantly reduce energy bills. 2 Evacuated tube solar gas boosted system – heats water for commercial use and 300 metres of hot water piping in the slab to transfer heat into the thermal mass of the cement floor (as in image). 3 Energy efficient LED and fluorescent lighting – three and four star rated bathroom fixtures, and the use of low emitting paint. 4 Site Aspect – Site faces North, maximum advantage taken of sunlight and heat including, bi-fold doors, large windows and skylight. 5 Natural Ventilation – No air-conditioning needed. Air circulated through the use of industrial fans.
Did you know – Here are some of the water related points that helped achieve 2 Master Builder Awards for its environmentally responsible conversion from a mechanic to a restaurant: installation of rain water harvesting equipment. 22,000 litres of rainwater storage was installed, making the restaurant self-sustainable for its water needs. The restaurant is plumbed to the rainwater tanks which supply water for the coffee machine, dishwasher, drinking water (using a three-stage water purifier) and bathroom (water and bathroom equipment on low use cycle and restrictors, three and four star rated bathroom fixtures).
Here’s a shot of James Howarth on the roof between the solar panels, drinking the double filtered rainwater collected in tanks and used throughout the Leura Garage.
Leura Garage Eco Conscious practices – 10kw solar system spread across approximately 100sqm of roof space is used to harness free green energy. Power generated from the panels powers the restaurant with excess fed back into the grid. An evacuated tube solar gas boosted system heats water for commercial use and 300m of hot water piping in the slab transfers heat into the thermal mass of the cement floor, complementing the insulation under the roof. Those measures, along with installing fans rather than air-conditioning, has saved Leura Garage about $6500 a year in electricity bills and approximately $7000 a year in gas.