Finished backyard landscaping with the fence panel feature

Backyard blitz for number 1

Landscaping the backyard of our first home with a simple, but effective, design turned the area into an inviting space.

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Steel cladding contrasts well with timber door and window frames

Cladding materials for number 2

Experience gained from building our first home helped to make some modifications to the cladding specifications for the second one. For example, we replaced Shadowclad with more Klip Lok steel cladding.

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Sustainable House Day 2019

After several years of visiting other people’s homes on Sustainable House Day, we’re excited to announce that our first home will be open for visitors on September 15.  Now it’s ...

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Thermal mass in living room heated by sunlight

Living with thermal mass

Learning how to help the passive solar design features keep us warm in Winter is a useful exercise. Sunlight is all we need on clear, cold days. When it's cloudy, we use the heat pump to stop the concrete slab thermal mass cooling too much.

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Finished landscaping of Unit 1 front garden

Landscaping makes a difference

After the hot weather and other project priorities conspiring against us, it was a pleasure to finally start on landscaping the front garden of Unit 1. There are three main elements to the garden - crazy paving slate steps, a found object sculpture within a ring of railway sleepers and an indigenous bushland theme.

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Good progress on Unit 2 with walls wrapped

Progress on three units

While looking around our worksite recently, I took the opportunity to pause and look at the big picture.  We’ve reached that exciting point where something is happening on all three ...

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Solar panels installed on the north and south facing roofs

Solar panels installed and operating

The day we switched on the solar power system was the culmination of a long design and installation process. Clever solar panels maximise electricity production while the inverter/battery keeps the lights on at night. The aim is to minimise importing grid electricity but export as much solar power as we can.

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View of Unit 2 frame from Unit 1 kitchen window

Frame means Unit 2 goes 3D

After a pause to recover from the exertion of pouring the slab, the team moved onto building the frame for Unit 2.  Time to go 3D! Living in Unit 1 ...

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Passive solar and Passive House are different

Passive solar and Passivhaus

While discussing sustainable home design with others, I realised the word "passive" mu;st be used carefully. Passive solar design is different to Passive House design. It's important to understand the differences and similarities.

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Outdoor and indoor temperature graph

Testing outdoor versus indoor temperature

While the indoor temperature felt comfortable during hot summer days, I was left with the nagging feeling that wishful thinking was keeping me cool. Passive solar design should minimise the need for mechanical cooling for everything but a run of very hot days. Temperature monitoring data confirmed this is the case for our design.

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