One of the first changes we made to our house when we bought it in November of 1999, was to have Batts Insulation pads fitted in the ceiling. We then fitted heavy curtains to the windows and later we installed Reverse Cycle Air-conditioning in three rooms and set the temperature at 23°C. We regulate what we use in electricity, but do not skimp or deny ourselves the luxury. We make regular advance payments to our electricity supplier and we are normally in credit at the end of our billing period. We had the house rewired in 2009 and a new digital Smart Powerbox installed.
Climate change is real and it happens continuously. Now we are back in a drought cycle of 2014+ with a rainfall of 280mm for the year and you can see how the farmers crops are drying off and the harvest this year will be a diminished one
When we settled here in the village 15 years ago the property consisted of a 100 year old Sandstone House, weeds and accumulated rubbish. By 2001 we had the garden established utilising a network of pipes to drip irrigate the parched ground. By 2002 we were using 240,000 litres of water a year on the house and garden.
At the end of 2005 we installed an Edwards Solar Hot Water System
News reporting and general alarm at the condition of our planet and how we live made us think about our sustainability in our lifestyle and we set about to change that by investing in Rain Water tanks to catch and store the sparse rain of this region. The cost of these tanks was around $7000 and we have now 50,000 litres capacity. The tanks were purchased and installed between 2006 and 2012. We have the tanks plumbed into the house and all cold water is supplied to all areas of the house….kitchen, shower, toilet, laundry….hot water is still supplied of the Main water connection through our Solar Hot Water System. We use two electric Davey Wayer Pumps to transfer waters from tanks as need be.
By 2012 our garden was fully established and we were reducing our footprint of water usage. Now in 2014 we are using around 60,000 litres of water per year…a reduction of 75% from our initial usage in 2002 and with careful management this is sustainable living.
One other thing we have done is to mulch all garden areas in summer in an annual basis. We buy Pine Wood-chip by the trailer load.
We are now considering investing in solar power (we have solar hot water) to contribute electricity to the grid when finances allow it.
The 22000 litre tank was not supposed to be at the front of the house in 2011 but due to technical difficulties and available labour this is where it ended up. Being colour coded to the house makes it blend in and be reasonably unobtrusive
I had to remove the side fence to fit the 10,000 litre tank in and then rebuild the fence and gate.
There are 3 by 200 litre water collecting drums in the garden and 2 by 200 litre drums which are filled manually. Water is pumped from the overflow tank to top up other tanks via an electric Davey Pump.
Our house was built in the year 1900. It is constructed of sandstone blocks on the outside and brick on the inside. Initially it was built as a Skillion House and was accommodation for a family of 8
The front part of the house was added on between 1918 and 1930 to bring the house up to what is known as the State Bank Feature. The Lean To at the back of the house was added on after this. We enclosed the front of the house in 2012 and the rear in 2013 adding two additional rooms
We have made many changes to our Garden as our passion for the property evolved choosing to nurture a Mediterranean Style garden due to our Temperate Climatic Zone that we live in.
Of the original flora in the garden we still have a Lorraine Lee Rosebush, a Lemon Tree, a Peacherine Tree and a Kurrajong Tree. We have planted 55 additional trees on the 1250sqm property and a variety of shrubs which are suited to a Mediterranean type of climate. These include a number of fruit trees. We also have at east 5 trees which have been planted by ‘the birds’.
Over the years we have had Ducks and Chickens but these days just 9 Isa Brown fowls and a Rooster called Captain Jack Sparrow. The Chooks get all the vegetable scraps and some grain which they share withan ever increasing flock of Sparrows.