Jim’s Story

Jim on his roof in Mount Martha with his new solar panels

Over a period of 2 years we fully renovated our home including the following: Implementing a passive house design which provides solar gain during winter and sun protection during summer with extra long eaves on all north facing windows. We minimised all west facing windows and for the remaining ones planted trees next to them to protect from the heat of the westerly sun.  We added extra insulation in the roof, fitted double glazing doors and windows throughout and gap sealed and sealed every door and window in the home.

Three years later we replaced our hot water system with an electric heat pump, one year after that we replaced all our heating systems which included a wood burning fireplace. We upgraded to the latest efficiency air conditioning systems – 3 separate ones totalling about 9 kW.

A year later we added 10kW of solar to our north facing flat roof with an 8.2kW inverter (enabling us to benefit from extra power in winter), and added a new induction stove top and EV charger connection to the fuse box. Last of all, we switched our electricity supply to an energy company that generates energy from renewable sources only.

Our motivations for making the renovations to our home are:

1. reduce climate damaging emissions; 

2. have a healthier home for my wife and daughters who suffer with asthma; 

3. enjoy a better balanced air temperature and quality all year round.

It feels fantastic to be generating your own energy, not relying on coal or gas based energy damaging the environment and benefitting from the most efficient systems available today. Air quality has improved. We love our zero emissions home! Mostly we feel that now we’re part of the solution rather than the problem, and we’re no longer relying on the one time burning of fossil fuel resources, instead using renewable sources.

We love the winter sun heating our home, it feels fantastic and keeps the home warm and dry and we need to use minimal heating on sunny days. Heating using the air conditioners keeps a better balanced temperature than burning wood in a fire so we’re enjoying more thermal stability. The thermal mass in the concrete slabs creates a thermal inertia/lag to changing heat or cold which means having a naturally warmer house in winter and cooler house in summer. 

The cost savings are dramatic, although we still rely upon the grid at night, we buy our electricity from a renewable generation only retailer, and the feed the tariff benefits during the midday peak help pay back some of the night time use. Our bills are 80% lower than they used to be and by financing all our changes against our mortgage we are making savings from day one.

In the future, we plan to buy an EV and benefit from the spare solar capacity we added purposefully to do so.

I would recommend Dunton Solar for solar, All Electric Homes for our tricky induction hob and EV charger rewiring.

Jim – Mount Martha