I would love to be writing that my house is open to the public this weekend, 13-14 September 2007, for Sustainable House Day, however, not only did I miss the deadline for nomination, I didn’t even realise such an event existed!
Having checked out the map on the site, there are no houses within 30km of our town that are featured on the day, and none that I could see that have had a retrofit performed on them. From what I can tell by reading as many of the Victorian descriptions I can, is that the majority of homes are purpose built from scratch. So what happens when the majority of people like me want to retrofit an older house? We can’t all build new houses, because that is not very sustainable, is it now!
Our house was built in 1972, and at the time this house was not very sustainable at all. The only sustainable feature is that the living areas have a northern aspect and we can heat the lounge room and study in winter by passive solar heating. The other feature is the massive 50,000 litre water storage facility in the back yard in the form of a swimming pool (call it what you like, I reckon!).
Having performed so much work retrofitting it so that it is as efficient as it can be with the budget we had, it was such a shame that we couldn’t show it. It is a good example of what you can do to an existing home, with a bit of dogged determination and a lot of enthusiasm, and some minor changes in behaviour.
So here is the news flash! Kim and I have decided to enter our house for next years Sustainable House day. We don’t know if we will pass the entry criteria, but are willing to give it a go. At least by delaying for a year, we should have the chook house complete, a second rainwater tank installed and plumbed to the toilets, a lot more land will be under cultivation for food crops, and just maybe my back will be completely healed.
So, if you are around my area, this time next September (2009), have a think about dropping in and saying gidday if my nomination is successful! However, if you are really busting to have a look at what a sustainable house looks like, then have a look at the Sustainable House Day website and have a look for something in your local area. There might just be a house to visit in your town that you didn’t know about, and you might learn a thing or two that you can apply to your own home!