By our estimations, the house here at Arborlon was built about 20 years ago.We don’t know who built it, but as we’ve lived here now for two years, we’ve noticed how well they designed the aspects of the house to achieve natural heating and cooling.
It’s a simple house made of steel and cement board. It’s both fire proof and termite proof. Two bedroom, one bath open living area. We spend most of our down time on the north facing covered deck.
We have a 4 meter roof over the deck that faces due north.This allows sun under the deck roof in the winter months and complete shade during summer. Our solar panels on the roof above also provide insulation.
The house is all windows. Floor to ceiling on each side of the living area. The cross breeze is essential in the warmer months and we have figured out how to keep the house cozy by capturing the warm air on the north side and closing up the south side early in the day for the cooler months. We use an oscillating fan to help with air flow if needed, keeping in mind our power is generated solely by the sun! We also have a combustion stove for cooler nights but air conditioning is not necessary!
Being at an elevation of 400 M above sea level we don’t experience frost or bitterly cold mornings that the valley below us do. This winter has been so mild, it has been our best season so far growing veggies. The past summer was very dry and hot with little rain fall, so it was a tough season for the veggies.
At the south end of the deck they planted a Cassia Brewsteri that loses most of it’s leaves in the middle of winter to let the sun shine through but provides protection from the sun in the summer. It’s also a great wind break from the southerly storms.
The Cassia Brewsteri also offers up close and personal interactions with many birds including King Parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets and Golden Whistlers. These guys visit often and we get the occasional rare sightings as new birds come and go.
In spring our Cassia Brewsteri blooms in a profusion of huge grape like clusters of flowers. A deciduous tree that looses it’s leaves can be a bit of a pain, as we want to keep the grass growing below, but it’s worth the raking with all of the rewards this tree offers us!
We plan on adding to the house on the south side to extend the kitchen and bathroom as it’s still 20 years old and needs updating. Most of the work will be done by us and we are excited about using lots of recycled materials and provide more air flow and cross breeze.