This profile is written and maintained by the homeowner, architect, or builder.
Our key motivation for adding sustainable features and improvements to our home was cost of living – when we’re unable to work, we simply want a low-cost existence. That means setting up all of the energy, water and design features now while we can actually afford it.
Being first home buyers in their early 40s, we simply weren’t able to leverage any outside wealth or assistance, so it was essential we found a home which was well on its way to being sustainable.
The home itself is on a fairly flat block and is structurally sound. The first thing we did was add a heat pump hot water system, which barely consumes more than 4 kWh of electricity a day in the dead of winter. I later installed a 7 kW solar array with a home storage battery, while the purchase of an electric car (Hyundai Ioniq) has meant that the most unsustainable part of our existence (transport) was largely addressed.
The 32,000 litre rainwater tank will service our vegetable garden through spring and early summer while a greywater system will eventually support a new fruit tree grove on the western side. It’s humble, slow and steady work, but already we’re seeing savings come through.
I will be seeking advice from the brains trust on other key features we need to address, namely, the windows and doors are rather lossy and draughty and I don’t think the blow-in insulation in the ceiling is all that flash. Tips on making decreasing the energy needs through winter will be sought.