Sustainability focus at the end of DD1

Just got back from another meeting. We talked about a variety of things:

– Interior designer – we have a few complimentary hours with their interior designer.

– I’d been stressing about the facade a bit since the last meeting, but have calmed down a bit now. I went online and looked at some designs and saw one that has a similar look to ours. We do need to fine tune ours, but will use some of our interior design time to get some help on this.

– We talked a fair bit about sustainability issues, especially with regards to shading the north-facing windows in summer. I don’t really like shade sails, and would prefer to use deciduous trees, so we talked a bit about sun angles and did a 3D simulation of the sun movement to get an idea of the effect we’d get at various times of the year. We *may* need to put trees along the northern fenceline, but need to model it to see if the fence alone would provide adequate protection. Another job for Mr Trixee!

– We talked about rainwater tanks and greywater recycling. We said Yes to both, and discussed where we might locate the raintanks. For the greywater system, we’re going with a simple diversion system, which redirects water to the garden.

– We’re going to reuse our existing solar panels for now, and we have enough roof space to upgrade to a roughly 4 kWh system down the track if we want to.

– The hot water system thing was interesting. The architect subcontracts to a company (Chromagen) who supplies a specific type of hws. Basically, a combination of a roof-mounted solar water heater and an instantaneous hot water system. Very efficient, if somewhat ugly. There’s only one problem – they don’t make this model anymore. But the architect so loved the design that they are willing to supply the parts specifically for their clients. So anyway, we need to decide if we want to go with this system or not.

– We also discussed a roof ventilation system. I’ll need to double-check though, because while we were talking, he said that they don’t switch off in cooler months, but the link above says that it does.

– We talked about sola tubes, and even though we might want one, it costs the same to retrofit so will wait until we’ve lived in the house a while before deciding. I saw one of these displayed in the Sustainable Mandurah home and they are VERY bright! We probably won’t need one, but might want one in the hallway.

We also talked about the timeline, and it’s looking like we’ll start building in Feb/March of next year now.

We’re reaching the end of Design Development part 1. Once we iron out the facade details, we get that costed while we start on DD2, the interior details.


Got invited to the Solar Dwellings Christmas party, which will be held in their gardens. Sounds like a hoot, looking forward to it!


Also need to mention, we talked to our lovely landscape designer Teik on the weekend, and was reassured on many counts. He’s drafting up a design for us to look at in a couple of weeks, so that’ll be fun too!

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