2006 - 2007
In 2006 renovations accounted for more than 80 per cent of building activity in Australia. To demonstrate that renovators could make significant improvements to the environmental performance of their home without breaking the budget, Switch your thinking undertook sustainable development retrofits at a typical suburban home; creating the Greenhouse.
The Greenhouse, a typical 1970s double-brick home located in the south-eastern suburb of Maddington, received a number of structural and non-structural modifications designed to increase energy and water efficiency and improve thermal comfort and liveability. Renovations included:
|Windows on the north facing wall of the lounge room||Let in winter sun||1 300|
|Bi-fold doors||Let in winter sun||3 828|
|Shade sail||Shade bi-fold doors||1 500|
|Deciduous vines and landscaping||Shade western and northern windows and walls||12000|
|Clay tiles||Increase thermal mass and moderate temperature||1 500|
|Solar hot water system||Energy efficient water heating||3 000|
|Roof insulation||Moderate internal temperature||2 000|
|Reverse sweep fans||Energy efficient cooling and heating||120|
|Energy efficient gas convection heater||Energy efficient heating||1 200|
|Window tinting||Keep out summer heat|
|Curtains and pelmets||Moderate internal temperature||2 000|
|Insulation paint||Moderate internal temperature||615|
|Rendering of external walls||Reduce heat absorption by the bricks||2 300|
|Skylight||Increase natural light||1 050|
|Whirly bird||Release heat from ceiling cavity|
|Cracks covered with draught tape||Moderate internal temperature||10|
|Energy efficient lighting||Improved energy efficiency||500|
|Energy efficient appliances||Improved energy efficiency||6 500|
|Rainwater tank plumbed to the toilet||Improved water efficiency||1 900|
|Grey water system||Improved water efficiency. Grey water used for garden irrigation||660|
|Flow restrictors||Improved water efficiency||280|
|Low flow shower head||Improved water efficiency||20|
|Waterwise garden and irrigation||Improved water efficiency||4 290|
|Re-direction of down pipes to the garden||Improved water efficiency||100|
|Worm farms||Waste reduction and soil improvement||100|
|Composting system||Waste reduction and soil improvement||95|
|Bokashi bucket||Waste reduction and soil improvement||89|
The Greenhouse was open to the public as a demonstration and education facility for one year before being occupied and monitored for another year to quantify energy, water and waste savings as well as thermal performance.
The results of the occupation phase showed that relatively small investments could yield significant improvements in resource efficiency without sacrificing occupant comfort.
The Greenhouse welcomed 2 500 visitors who learned about sustainable renovations.
- The Greenhouse saved over five tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the control house during the occupation phase.
- The Greenhouse saved $1 250 in utility bills over the one year occupation phase.
- Anecdotal evidence from local real estate agents that visited the Greenhouse suggested that the retrofits undertaken had increased the property’s value by $100 000, providing a huge return on investment and demonstrating an additional incentive for home owners to incorporate sustainability into any future renovations.