Property: 7
Location: Belmont
Type: Retrofit of a 1950s Weatherboard

Built in 1951, the owners have lived in their 3BR WB home for 22 years. Originally a 2BR WB, they were determined to keep its heritage character and with a limited budget, they have chosen to do most of the renovations themselves while raising four kids, taking the house from less than 1 star up to a 6 star NatHERS rating. A great example of GIY... "Green It Yourself"!

To improve the thermal efficiency of their cold and draughty house they did an extensive DIY insulation project. Starting with installing R3 batts in the ceiling, then over a  couple of years, working room by room, removing all skirting boards and architraves, the clouts holding the plaster on external facing walls were cut out and the plaster lifted away. A vapour permeable membrane and R2.5 batts were installed before reinstalling and re finishing the original plaster. All original wall vents were removed and gaps around window frames and behind skirting board were corked. Under the floorboards R3 batts were installed. Together with drapes and pelmets the results justify their efforts with greatly improved comfort throughout the house in summer and winter.

They did an extensive owner/builder extension in 2002, which was also fully insulated and included all double glazed windows. With little access to passive solar on their north boundary, they have constructed a double glazed Trombe wall to both add thermal mass and provide solar heated air on sunny days during cooler months. The original redgum and jarra stumps kept after restumping the house are now impressive polished benchtops while floors in the extension are reclaimed timbers from a school, a warehouse and wool shed. Furniture is also all solid timber.

A small gas heater warms the entire house and an evaporative cooler with larger (quieter) ducts that is used without water for about 25 days over summer to purge the house of heat overnight and with water for evaporative cooling on about 10 days. Future plans are to go gas free, starting with installing more panels to their small 1.2kW rooftop solar then a heat pump HWS.

In the garden they have a modest orchard including apples, quince, plums, nectarine, lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange trees together with chooks, compost and shade trees, greywater recycling and a permeable driveway.

Property Features
  • Retrofit
  • Owner builder
Experts On Site
  • Scott Barnes: CSIRO and owner builder
  • Scouts will be selling pulled pork rolls!