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Our first home, built in 1972, was an individual build using passive solar design as we understood it back then. Whilst this home worked well in summer, it did not retain heat overnight in winter due largely to uninsulated wooden floors. Unfortunately, the builder took hidden shortcuts which resulted in cumulative damage that eventually made the house unliveable.
So in 2019, not wanting to leave our neighbourhood, we made the difficult decision to knock our home down and start again. We lost our front garden but were able to keep the rear garden, including several trees, as well as a 35 square metre brick studio and a large garden shed.
Meeting Griff Morris, the calm and knowledgeable head of Solar Dwellings, was the key to giving us the confidence to rebuild, turning challenge into opportunity. Griff met our brief of designing an affordable, low maintenance, sustainable home, built to universal design principals, that would replace our first much-loved home with a rebuild that would take us comfortably into our old age.
Seven months after the pad went down, we moved in over Easter 2020 and set to work establishing a new garden containing 200 waterwise natives. With our focus elsewhere, we went through our first winter without a single curtain to retain heat, yet the house still performed well. Overnight temperatures never dropped below high teens whilst daytime temperatures quickly reached low to mid-twenties and stayed there until late at night. Over summer the indoor temperature ranged from low to high twenties. Our ceiling fans, only rarely required, kept us comfortable during heatwaves.
Whilst it was devastating to knock down a home containing half a century of memories, we are well compensated by our rebuild. Three years on, it continues to exceed our expectations in every regard.
Starting Over is opening on March 19 for Sustainable House Day:
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