Sustainable Hills House on a Budget 2024

House Notes – Sustainable Hills House on a Budget

We wanted to prove a young family could renovate a home in the Dandenong Ranges to become more sustainable, on a small budget that most families could afford. By simply making smart choices and using good design we were able to build a house within budget despite building smack bang during the once in a lifetime pandemic.

We used solar passive design to do a major renovation (80% new) on a 1940s hills cottage, on a steeply sloping block in a BAL29 bushfire zone using light weight construction. The house is all electric, and features heat pump water heating, bamboo flooring, and carbon absorbing natural paint. We were also able to recycle lighting and door hardware from the old house, keeping with the typical quirky nature of homes in the Hills.

What was once a weed infested mess has become a native landscape that attracts the beautiful birds and insects native to this area, and includes a productive garden. With a modest solar PV system, the house now attracts a Scorecard rating of 10.

Did we mention we did it on a very modest budget??!!

Sustainability Features

Years Open
2024
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENT FEATURES
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Deciduous planting around house
      Passive solar designed home
      Thermal chimney
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Heat pump
      Split system airconditioner
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
      Water heated by PV system
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Low flow taps
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • Metal tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 10,000L
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Blinds
      Deciduous tree/vegetation
      Drapes/curtains
      Eaves
      Solar pergola
SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED MATERIALS
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Hand digging of footings to preserve 70+ year old significant trees Sealing of penetrations and exterior building envelope for improved air tightness Bamboo flooring Structural timber sourced from plantations only
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Basins/sinks
      Bathroom cabinets
      Doors
      Light fixtures / fittings
      Paving
      Tiles
INSULATION SPECIFICATIONS
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Ceiling
      Internal walls
      External walls
      Floor
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R6
    • Floor Type:
    • Glass wool + reflective foil
    • Floor Rating:
    • R3
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Roof blanket
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R1.5
    • Internal Walls Insulation Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Internal Walls Insulation Rating:
    • R2
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R3.5
    • External Walls Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIFICATIONS
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Solar PV grid connect
    • Size of PV system:
    • 6.6kW
COSTS AND COST SAVINGS
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $350K (2022)
    • Cost estimate of sustainable home/features:
    • $
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • $2000
HOUSE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
    • House Size
    • 140 m2
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 29kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Colorbond)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)

    • Wall Materials
    • Cement plank cladding for BAL29
    • Window and Door Types
    • Awning
      Clerestory windows
      Double glazing
      Sliding windows/doors
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 3
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 2
GARDEN AND WASTE REDUCTION
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Removal of noxious weeds (this is a major problem in the Dandenongs)
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Bee hotels/friendly
      Composting
      Edible garden
      Local indigenous plants
      Organic
      Native plants
      Water wise plants
      Worm farm

    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
      Recycle
      Repair
      Take own containers to the supermarket and for take away food
      Toy exchange/library
      Swap with friends and neighbours
      Waste free/reduced construction site
HEALTHY HOME FEATURES
    • Healthy home features
    • Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Cross flow ventilation
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Natural fibre furnishings
      Natural light and ventilation
      VOC free paints/sealer/varnish

    • Healthy Home
    • Carbon and chemical absorbing lime paint
Location
Upwey VIC 3158
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • Renovation
    • Designer
    • Yan Zhao and Daniel Wurm (owners)

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