Our house was hot in summer, cold in winter. The garden was full of noxious weeds. We wanted to change this and make the house comfortable for our family, reduce our energy and water use, and plant a native forest.
Over 20 years, we have gradually made such changes – often when we had to make replacements anyway. The big changes have been installing external shading, a white roof with insulation, cementitious cladding with wall insulation, double glazing upstairs, extractor fan, heat pump and solar PVs.
Passive and active ventilation allows the house to track outside temperatures when the weather is mild, but it can be closed up on days to exclude extreme hot or cold.
The result is less maintenance, cool breezes, lower energy use and a happier family (well, mostly).