Friday, September 2, 2016

Why we are opening our house on Sustainable House Day 2016

We are OPEN as a sustainable house on Sunday September 11 from 10 am to 4pm.


  • We want to inspire others that live around here, in houses like ours which were built in the 1970s, that it is possible to improve your quality of life without knocking the house down and starting again. 

  • ENERGY We have made simple affordable improvements over the years which have reduced energy. At one time we were up to 24 units of electricity per day. By changing what we did with electrical appliances -such as making sure we turned them off as we finished using them, and getting rid of an old drinks fridge and replacing it with a modern one, for example, we were able to get to about 12 units per day. Of course we installed low energy light globes and fittings. Then we installed the solar array and now we are down to 4 units per day in summer, and up to 12 for some of the winter due to using some electricity for heating. We changed our gas hot water system when it died, for a solar hot water system too. Free hot water for much of the year!

  • WATER We have a 3000l water tank which we use on the garden. This supplements the other water saving measures we have taken, such as removing the thirsty lawn and replacing it with fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs, and installing drip irrigation instead of above ground sprays. We have remodelled both bathrooms and now have water saving toilets and showers installed. There are two wicking beds for vegetables which allow the water to be drawn from below the plant roots, thus saving on evaporation. We have average water use for this suburb even though we grow vegetables and fruit and are active gardeners. 

  • FOOD MILES As we grow more of our own fruit and vegetables, we are reducing the amount of carbon which is required to transport our food to our home. We enjoy picking salad leaves and herbs for our cooking, and have increased our skills at preserving, jam making and dehydrating. We have learned how to pack as much food growing as possible in a 700sm block -using a trellises to grow a passionfruit or some grapevines vertically 
  • We have developed passive cooling of our home wherever possible, including:
  1. Shade sails to the west 
  2. Pergola for a grapevine or two to shade the north side of the house
  3. Shade on the north west 
  4. Planted LOTS of trees to cool the air and provide microclimates for our other plants to reduce water use and enable survival in Perth's hot summers
  5. We took down a low flat roof pergola and replaced it with a gable with some perspex panels to let in light, reduce heat 
  6. We put up shade blinds on the east and west windows to allow in light but reduce the heat and glare.
If you are in Perth and free on Sunday September 11 2016 I hope you will come and let us show you around! If you register at this site you will be able to find our house listed with its address. 

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