East Brighton house

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Revision as of 21:47, 27 September 2007 by Rjanson (Talk | contribs)
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As you can see , this is a very stock standard 1950's style aussie brick veneer.

The question is what can one do you do with this sort of home to make it more efficient and water wise?

The first thing I did was to sign up for Green Power. I am currently with AGL but decided to go with 100% Green Power Option with Jack Green. Australian GreenPower Providers

After speaking to several folks in the know it was clear the the initial focus should be on insulating the ceiling and installing a solar hot water system.


Insulating the ceiling (complete)

Given that there is very little storage here we initially thought of using some of the space in the roof for storage. After thinking about some more we decided that the access to the space would be too difficult and there isn't really enough space to make the investment in a pull down stair case worth while. - don't like dealing with particle dust so we chose polyester insulation instead of fiberglass.

It turned out there was 115 square metres of insulation required- so a combination of R3.5 and R3 polyester insulation. (Moorabin Timber, Mitre10 were out of stock of the R3.5 Batts).

  • 15 x 430mm R3.5 Batts @ 28.64 = $472.50
  • 4 x 430mm R3 Batts @ 27.19 = 119.63

We had my handy man install it. He took off some roof tiles in order to get the batts into the roof.

GSM based SMS Alarm System (opportunistic during ceiling insulation)

About 1/16 houses get burgled in Brighton every year. So while he was in the roof installing the insulation I had the handy man install 4 core cabling for the alarm system motion detectors and siren. I chose these alarm system components from Rhino:

Complete SMS8 Alarm KIT


Once the wires for the motion detectors were in place it took about 7 hours to wire up and configure the system. It uses a SIM card (I used a $20 prepay SIM from Vodaphone- it is configured to be valid for 12 months without toping up). With the wireless SMS capability and the 12V battery for backup power, the system will still SMS me even if someone cuts the power and internet cable and phone line.

The cool thing is I don't have to pay a $30-$50 monthly monitoring fee. This monthly money can go toward Green Power instead. Monitoring is a bit of a con because it can take the monitoring company 40 minutes to respond. With the system installed now I get an SMS and can ring the neighbor within a few seconds.

Solar hot water (actively investigating)

I am currently investigated solar hot water systems and I read a bit on evacuated tube systems, which claim to be more efficient.

My family loves the water. At our last place we had a gas heated spa which we used around 80 days a year. I would really like to innovate here. Perhaps linking the outdoor spa with a large solar hotwater system. My partner won't go in the water unless it is warm to hot. It would feel great for the family to take a daily hot bath, using water from the roof and heating only with the sun. We could save water like the the Japanese, wash before you go in the bath.

Contact Info

Feel free to contact me at rjanson2@yahoo.com.au

Next steps

Over the next few years I will document the thought processes we go through as we try to make it a more livable and greener home. One of the first initiatives is likely to be capturing rain water. So I have started with an article on Water tanks. The roof looks pretty over grown so I will be trying to clean the green mold off. I am not sure this is necessary, there is probably lots of vitamins in that 50 year old moss. The other thing we are thinking of doing is removing the walls in the centre of the house. The kitchen, living and dining rooms are pretty small. I am having a builder through to figure out if the walls are weight bearing or not.

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