Moonee Ponds house

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Revision as of 10:00, 12 May 2008 by Glenn Tempest (Talk | contribs)
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Owners Glenn and Karen Tempest
Location Moonee Ponds, Melbourne
Country Australia
Type Sustainable renovation
House size Medium, 211 metres squares
Land size 468.2 meters squared

deck and sails
deck and sails

house features

  • Passive solar design
  • Solar panels
  • Solar hot water
  • Rainwater tanks
  • Grey water system
  • Double glazing
  • Forest friendly timber
  • Low energy appliances


Our goals

Our house was originally a fairly typical inner suburban house - a Victorian era, double-fronted timber home, in a street filled with similar houses. In 2006 we decided to renovate and turned to Andreas and Judy Sederof from Sunpower Design. The brief was to retain the original facade, in keeping with the streetscape, and to create a contemporary light filled extension/renovation with extended outdoor living to make the most of the valley views and to incorporate the best energy efficient and water saving initiatives. We also required an open plan office space where we could run our growing business, Open Spaces Publishing.

In October 2006 the builders arrived and quickly demolished the back of our house leaving only the front four rooms. After 9 months we moved back in. Of the original house only the front two rooms remained unchanged. But we added an ensuite and two north facing windows to the master bedroom. The remaining part of the old house became the bathroom, an ensuite and second office space. The new addition is two storey with steps leading downstairs to the large office space (or third bedroom), laundry, bathroom (for the office staff) and wine cellar (NOT for the office staff). Another small room became the hub room where all the cabling in the house is terminated (network, security, coax and electricity). Upstairs, from the original house level, our new extensions is an open-plan living space split over two levels, the lower level is the living area and the higher one the kitchen & dining room leading out to an extensive deck. This extends the living space and suits our outdoor lifestyle. The deck is also split-level and gives us access down into our backyard.

We took advantage of the fact that our house is orientated east west with the rear of the house facing west. This allowed up to create a series of large north-facing windows along the length of the building. These provide plenty of natural light and passive heating/cooling throughout. These windows are double glazed (like all the windows in the house) and are protected from the summer heat with large external awnings and inner blinds. We have added sun sails to the rear deck which also protect the western windows from the summer heat.

Solar Panels

solar array
solar array

Over 60% of our electricity is supplied by 10 x BP 165 watt solar panels (for a total of 1.65 kilowatts). The panels have been placed on the roof and we have the room to install a further 10 panels at some point in the future. Our Power Solutions SGB. 5KW (48V) inverter is situated in the garage. We originally were to have the inverter installed in the houser but changed our plans when it became apparent that it produces a distinct (though not loud) high pitch whine. We also have 4 x Sonnenschein Solar Batteries (12V/185 Amp Hours - a total of 740 Amp Hours) as a power backup standby system, which means that the house does not suffer from grid brownouts or blackouts. This is very handy for our business as we have 4 PCs running all day (and 2 NAS devices in the hub room) and didn't have to install any UPS (Uninterrupted Power supply) systems. The backup system kicks in automatically and will provide us with at least 4 hours of power, depending upon what we are running at the time. Excess electricity is sold back to the grid as green energy. The average annual power generation is 2400KW. Karen would love to install another ten solar panels just so we don't ever have to buy electricity from the power companies again...!

  • Solar electricity system -- North Central Energy Services (03) 5442 8933.

Solar hot water

  • Unit -- Edwards Stainless Steel LX305 (305 litre tank).
  • Gas booster -- Edwards Comfort 200A.

Rainwater Tanks

We have 2 x 9,000 litre water tanks (a total of 18,000 litres) at the bottom of the garden. We have a Davey pump fitted into the garage next to the tanks and this is used to provide water to all the taps in the house as well as the washing machine, solar hot water system and dishwasher. We have one (cold) tap in the kitchen which connected to the mains supply. Should our tanks run low (this has happened twice) we can easily switch over to mains water.

  • Tanks -- Tanks A Lot (03) 9776 6016.

Greywater System

Under our garden deck we have buried a 3000 litre tank for use as a greywater system. This tank is filled with all of our shower water runoff and is also connected to all the basins in the house and to our laundry trough and washing machine. This water is aerated and treated with ozone so that we can use it for flushing the toilets and for the garden. Two x 5 micron filters are used to clear the sediment from the greywater before it fills the cisterns in our toilets. The system works well although we did go through about 6 months of teething problems until everything settled down. We have very little smell from the greywater and it is generally very clear. The toilets have to be cleaned a couple of times a week as a little sediment does seem to build up but this is not too much of a hassle. We don't use any blu loo type products.

  • Greywater System -- Garden Saver Australia (03) 9747 0201.
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