Our house was built in 1974 and is a standard single-story brick veneer with 4 bedrooms. It has been our home since 1998. We are now a family of 3, and have been learning about and taking action on ‘sustainability’ since 2006. Our approach is: ‘be the change you wish to see’. Over the last 13 years we have progressively taken many (little, big, low-tech & DIY!) actions to reduce our direct usage of fossil fuels, mains water and try to limit our overall ecological impact.
DOWN WITH FOSSIL FUELS:
- Replaced roof with added R3.1 insulation
- Installed angled shade sail
- Sealed all internal vents
- Installed solar panels
- Retrofitted secondary glazing on windows
- Installed solar hot water
- Invested in 2 Electric Vehicles
- Installed solar ventilation
- Changed all light-bulbs
- Seasonally use Renshade and other DIY blinds
- Use cross-ventilation and passive heating/cooling
- Made DIY window pelmets
as well as consciously minimised our energy consumption.
Electricity usage per day = 5-11kWh (depending on season and EV charging) – compared to benchmark of 18kWh in our suburb.
Gas (winter peak) usage per day = 194MJ – compared to benchmark of 340MJ per day.
Gas (summer) usage per day = 31MJ – compared to benchmark of 58MJ per day.
DOWN WITH MAINS WATER:
We have: installed 5 rainwater collection tanks and plumbed to toilet and washing machine, re-used grey and tap water within the home & garden, used mulch on garden beds, as well as consciously minimised our water consumption.
Mains water usage per day = 100-220 litres (depending on season) – compared to benchmark of 500 litres in summer and 395 litres in winter, and Target 155.
DOWN WITH OVERALL ECOLOGICAL IMPACT:
We have: grown our own (limited range of) vegetables, DIY worm-farm, composted all organic matter, enjoyed back-yard chickens (sadly no longer with us), re-used and recycled things, generally tried to ‘consume with a conscience’, eaten less meat, shifted money to ethical funds, and as a family love going on regular ‘Op-Shop Crawls’!
Our story can show it is possible to “Get More from 1974” – even when the house is old, has numerous design faults, and is poorly oriented on the site. We would like to share what we have learned, and inspire others.
BMW i3 REx EV on display for SHD
The house also achieved 7 stars with the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard. If you would like to find out more click here.