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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.