Sustainable House Day 2017

Sustainable House Day (SHD) is an Australian wide event run annually. Thanks Griff Morris from Solar Dwellings and Cassie Silver and co from Today Tonight for promoting SHD 2017:


We loved having 200+ visitors through our place, The West Leedie on SHD 2017. It was a festival atmosphere, especially when the Solar Dwellings buses rocked up.


Functional creativity & design

Functional creativity:

  • The existing 50’s cottage was not structurally sound for renovation. StateWide Demolition advised they were able to re-use/recycle 97% of the pre-existing building materials.
  • A (small) number of bottles of fine South West Australian wine at a cabin in Denmark WA, along with some scissors, cardboard and markers helped create our functional requirements.
  • Essential homework and preparation with Landgate, Telstra, Western Power and the Water Corporation, to determine extent of telco/grid power/water in and out. No natural gas connection to the property and it stayed that way.

Solar passive design – there is way too much to write here so:

  • See Griff and the team at Solar Dwellings –
  • (source of images below)
  • Core design considerations included:
    • Integrating the buildings metabolism as part of the wider community/system i.e. mass, carbon, energy and water flows.
    • Perth climate – category 5 (temperate).
    • Windows/Glazing type, orientation and location.
    • Roof and ceiling buffer zones.
    • Mixed mass construction materials.
    • Natural lighting and shading, heating and cooling.
    • Natural ventilation and air flow – breathable walls and interior.
    • Certifications i.e. NatHers, carbon/energy/material/water lifecycle analysis, Greywater.
    • Hydrozones for bio-diversity – avoiding mono-cultures of plants, trees and shrubs.
    • Optimising use of natural energy from the earth and allowing groundwater replenishment for rainwater not harvested.
    • Renewable energy.


Energy efficiency

Design and construction – general:

  • 30 course high ceilings on ground and first floor
  • 3 x separately sub-metered future apartments – with lighting and power designated to each zone
  • 3 phase power installed
  • 8 Star NaTHers Rating
  • Smart wiring throughout for data and voice – telecommunications services enabled: Cable, NBN, Business Digital Office Technology

Renewable Energy and Storage:

  • 5.72kWH Solar System
  • 23 Ben-Q 265 Solar Panels – on north and west face to optimise daylight hours of operation
  • 23 Micro-inverters – attached to each panel for optimised energy efficiency and reduction of loss
  • 1 x 1.2kWH battery storage that powers all standby, fridge and lighting use at night

Solar Hot Water:

  • 300Litre solar hot water system gravity fed from roof storage with provision for 2 additional electric hot water systems to be installed for future apartments;
  • Hot water system located less than the minimum mandated 20m from points of use – <8m for whole of house;
  • Timer installed for Solar Hot Water boost in winter


  • Combination of low-e comfort plus, translucent low-e comfort plus and double glazing installed – latter to all kitchen, meals and family windows and sliding doors – refer Jason Windows specifications
  • All windows have been strategically located to heat and cool the home naturally by maximising the use of the natural light, natural shading, radiant, convective and conductive heat, air ventilation and breathability
  • Mix of timber and crushed limestone (minimal paving) have been installed to a depth of 3m immediately from any glazing to avoid radiant and conductive heat absorption through windows
  • Retractable roof installed over full extent of ground floor west facing windows and glazed sliding doors to offer protection from west sun in summer, opening at night in summer to allow efficient heat escape and open in winter to optimse winter sun
  • Shade sails deployed in Summer along full extent of ground floor northern aspect to protect windows and polished concrete
  • 600mm eaves around entire first floor building

General roof, wall and ceiling insulation + thermal mass:

  • Roof insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool Anticon 60 – R1.3
  • First floor ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool ceiling bats – R4.1
  • Garage and porch ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool ceiling bats – R4.1
  • 2 x internal stud walls: CSR Bradford – Soundscreen – System value – R1.7
  • Ground floor ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Soundscreen – System value – R2.5
  • External double brick cavity insulation (ground and first floor): CSR Bradford – Kingspan Aircell Permicav – System value – R2.0
  • Natural air conditioning and/or heating only – no air conditioners or heaters installed
  • Combination of air ventilation systems in roof for summer air flow – sealed in winter
  • 600mm eaves around entire first floor roof for sun protection in summer and allowance for radiant winter sun into building
  • Wall materials, insulation, polished concrete, first floor timber, retractable roof and shade sails designed to optimise positioning of the sun and wind on all walls – natural lighting, natural shading, radiant– convective – conductive heat transfer considered, air ventilation and breathability
  • To achieve mixed mass design first floor north, east, south and west have reverse brick vaneer – mix of recycled spotted gum timber and colorbond custom orb cladding
  • Sealed door separating first floor from main living area downstairs to enable heat capture and storage through glazing in winter and heat/air movement in summer
  • Provision for Pellet heater down the track if required
  • Provision for drapes/curtains to all major glazed areas if required
  • All east windows and sliding doors fitted with either block out or double blind combination – see through and solid
  • Master bedroom west windows and sliding doors fitted with double blind combination – see through and solid

Insulation innovation:

  • Living roof insulation over 25m2 of ground floor – refer biodiversity and living roof construction
  • Innovative insulation construction to optimise airflow, air trap, breathability and heat retention in winter and heat loss in summer: Layer details working from left (inside) to right (external)
    • Layer 1: Internal plasterboard and internal dulux enviro paint
    • Layer 2: Brick
    • Layer 3: CSR Bradford – Kingspan – Aircell Permicav – R1.9 (with air pocket – layer 4)
    • Insulation Layer 4: Timber frame (35mm air pocket)
    • Layer 5: CSR Bradford – Kingspan – Aircell Permicav – R1.9 (with air pocket – layer 6)
    • Layer 6: Timber frame (35mm air pocket)
    • Layer 7: The third outer layer also separated by another 35mm air pocket and is CSR Bradford Martini Polyester Absorb XDH25 – system value R0.7.
    • Layer 8: Colorbond wall cladding – Surfmist or recycled spotted gum gladding

Lighting and fans:

  • Hiaku and Aeratron reversible ceiling fans to all living areas
  • All lighting selected to avoid whole of light fitting removal when globe fails – globe only replacements – 100% LED inside and out.

Energy-efficiency partners:

  • Primary: StepBeyond, Nulook, Solar Dwellings – solar passive design, research, project management, construction
  • Electrical: Techforce Electrical
  • Lighting: Tilly’s Lights and Big Ass Fans
  • Solar and Storage: Clean NRG, Enphase Energy
  • Polished concrete: Terrazzo’s
  • Renewable bamboo timber flooring to first floor: Eco-fusion flooring
  • Steel cladding and roofing: Colorbond
  • Recycled timber cladding and decking: Mortlock Timber and Nulook Homes
  • Glazing: Jason Windows
  • Insulation: CSR Bradford
  • External and internal blinds/shading: Bozzy blinds, Coolico and OneShadesails