Red Brick Reno 2024

House Notes – Red Brick Reno

My house was built in 1954. When I bought it in 2010, it hadn’t changed much since it was built. It had no wall or floor insulation, little ceiling insulation, single-glazed windows, gas hot water, gas cooking, and no garden. It was freezing in winter and hot in summer.

Over the next 12 years, I made improvements gradually, as I could afford them. Much of the work was DIY. First, I built compost bays – an easy way of dealing with organic waste. Second, I dug trenches and laid stormwater pipes so I could capture all the rainwater from the house and the shed, and I had a 22,000 litre tank installed. Then I started planning the garden, which is a lifelong labour of love.

Every few years, as I could afford it, I did something more to decrease my carbon footprint, make the house more comfortable, and decrease my energy bills: added more insulation, replaced the windows with double-glazed uPVC windows, and installed rooftop solar, heat pump hot water, and split system heating and cooling. I made mistakes along the way: I installed gas-fired hydronic heating at a time when gas was still affordable.

By 2023, the house was comfortable and fairly energy-efficient, but it still looked dated. The kitchen had little workspace and the house was far from airtight despite the improvements I’d made.

That’s when I contracted Outlier Building Design and Backman Builders for the final push: making the house airtight, upgrading and insulating the floor, and upgrading the kitchen and bathroom. Post-renovation, a blower door test showed that the airtightness of the house has gone from 23 air changes per hour (ACH) to less than two ACH. With this level of air tightness, I hope to be able to live without the gas heating this winter.

(All post-renovation photography by Marnie Hawson. Video by David Darrah, All Creative.)

Sustainability Features

Years Open
2024
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENT FEATURES
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Deciduous planting around house
      External planting
      Heat recovery ventilation system
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Ceiling fans
      Split system airconditioner
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
      Water heated by PV system
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Drip irrigation
    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 267L (summer, including garden)
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • Poly tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 22,000L
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Eaves
      Honeycomb blinds
      Pelmets
SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED MATERIALS
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Construction waste reused or recycled wherever possible (no skip)
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Appliances
      Bathroom cabinets
      Bricks
      Doors
      Floorboards
      Light fixtures / fittings
      Paving
      Railway sleepers
      Timber
INSULATION SPECIFICATIONS
    • Insulation Type:
    • Ceiling
      External walls
      Floor
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • 5.0
    • Floor Type:
    • Bulk - glass wool
    • Floor Rating:
    • 2.5
    • External Walls Rating:
    • 2.5
    • External Walls Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIFICATIONS
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Solar PV grid connect
    • Size of PV system:
    • 3.6 kW
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 3.0915 kWh (summer)
COSTS AND COST SAVINGS
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • $3000 (gas, electricity, water, fruit, vegetables, eggs)
HOUSE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
    • House Size
    • 98 m2 exterior, 76 m2 interior
    • BAL Rating
    • No BAL rating requirements at time of construction
    • Roof
    • Tiles (Concrete)
    • Wall Materials
    • Brick veneer
    • Window and Door Types
    • Awning
      Casement
      Double glazing
    • Universal Design Features
    • Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Shower head on rail for various heights
      Window openings easily accessible
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 2
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 1
GARDEN AND WASTE REDUCTION
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Chickens
      Composting
      Drip irrigation
      Edible garden
      Orchard
      Organic
      Permaculture
      Water wise plants
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Book exchange/library
      Compost all food scraps
      Make jams/conserves
      Pickle and preserve food
      Recycle
      Repair
      Swap with friends and neighbours
      Waste free/reduced construction site
HEALTHY HOME FEATURES
    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
Location
Kyneton VIC 3444
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • Renovation
    • Builder
    • Backman Builders
    • Designer
    • Outlier Building Design

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