Cemintel Fibre Cement Systems  supplied their BareStone pre-finished facade panel and fixing system for a 100% self-sufficient eco house built by Bernard Hockings in Newcastle.

Part of the CeminSeal family of products, BareStone is a high performance, low maintenance cladding system incorporating the CeminSeal water-blocking technology. Bernard chose BareStone for reasons such as cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, minimal environmental impact and aesthetics.

A carpenter and builder for over 30 years, Bernard has undertaken most of the construction of this project himself, which began in 2009 and will be completed later this year.

Featuring a contemporary style, the eco house incorporates several environment-friendly characteristics ranging from the design to the building materials used for construction and finish.

Key features of BareStone facade panels:

  • 9mm compressed fibre cement panels
  • Extremely weather-tight, highly durable, low maintenance cladding system
  • Top hat sub-frame provides a ventilated cavity to improve thermal performance and keep condensation away from the timber frame
  • CeminSeal technology keeps the panels stable, watertight and mould-free 
  • No render, paint or flush jointing allows for faster, cleaner and more economical construction
  • Exposed fittings and express joints allow the house to be dismantled instead of demolished at end of life
  • Tested to AS4284
  • Uses 1.15BMT galvanised top hats and exposed head fasteners S/S or class 3

The eco house also uses building materials such as 90% recycled content concrete, VOC-free paints made from recycled engine oil, concrete blocks that act as carbon sinks, HDPE plumbing and boron treated hoop pine timber frames. 


The house is contemporary in style, built with terracotta tiles on the upper storey walls and oiled external timber. BareStone used as the principal cladding material has a natural finish, giving the building a raw and earthy look. Bernard believes that BareStone cladding panels will be the next trend in building style.

Green features of the two-storey, three-bedroom eco house also include a composting toilet and greywater treatment system to handle all sewerage on site in addition to a 40,000 litre underground rainwater tank incorporated in the building foundations to meet all household water needs.

Power needs are met with photovoltaic panels and a 2kW wind turbine generating approximately 150% of the building’s electricity needs with excess energy fed into the grid. Good passive solar design achieves a 9 star thermal rating so indoor temperatures will only be too hot or cold for a handful of hours each year. A solar heated hydronic system takes care of the heating while the underground water tank functions as a heat sink to provide active cooling.

According to Bernard, the building after 20 years will have generated enough renewable energy to meet the day-to-day operation of the building as well as enough surplus to offset the carbon impact of producing the building’s materials, making it truly carbon neutral.