We renovated our original 1920’s brick bungalow in 2008 by doubling the floorspace and building a completely different, modern extension comprising the rumpus, living, kitchen, dining, main bathroom and laundry, linking to the original house via a glass walkway. It is orientated and built for maximal solar gain in winter, and in summer the sun is largely kept out by the use of external blinds and eaves. To aid cooling in summer, we created a ‘natural evaporative air conditioner’ by misting the cross ventilating breezes we get in summer.
The photovoltaics minimize our electricity bills and since the rainwater tanks are plumbed to the whole house, we are on rain water for 8-9 months of the year. We rigged up our own gray water system from the childrens bathroom to use on fruit trees, further reducing our water requirements.
Our garden design includes a lot of productive plants, and chooks, but also landscaped areas which help to decrease the surrounding ambient temperature in summer. Our house won the South Australian HIA Greensmart Energy Efficiency Award in 2010 and was featured in Issue 18 of Sanctuary Magazine for its sustainability , recycling of old products and ‘green’ features.