A few cold, but sunny, days allowed our home to show off what it can do with sunlight. Light streaming through the large north facing windows quickly warmed the house in daytime. Solar panels produced more than enough electricity to supply our all-electric home's needs.
Summer solar means maximum production from the panels. With great power comes great responsibility so there were lessons to be learned in how to best use the electricity generated. The most important lesson I learned was to move power consumption to daylight hours whenever possible.
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.
Building the deck for Unit 1 from sustainable decking materials was a requirement. Creating an artful privacy screen from reclaimed timber offcuts was the icing on the cake. The process highlighted what can be achieved with a commitment to sustainable building practices.
After years of talking about living in a home based on sustainable design principles, we are now living the dream. With the first house nearly finished, we took the opportunity to move in and get our first impression of a new lifestyle. Early indications are the design is meeting our expectations.
Once the kitchen walls and floor were finished, it was time to install the cupboards and benches. After seeing all the components in place, we believe we met the objective of a functional and attractive kitchen. A few extra features such as a bench top made from reclaimed timber gave the design some sustainability credentials as well.