I purchased my house in 2000. It's double cavity brick on the western, northern and eastern sides; timber on the southern side; old 70s style sliding aluminium throughout (when purchased), with a long east/west axis.
The roof is of a skillion style with 50mm compressed straw sandwich panelling in the ceiling.
Floors are a mix of timber and concrete; the floor area is 160 m2.
I reduced the size and quantity of the large windows on the southern side and bought replacement double-glazing for the north and western windows.
Heavy, backed curtains were also added to all the windows in the living and bedroom areas to replace light-weight curtains in order to decrease heat loss.
At one time the house had gas heating; a well-used 'Kent' style wood heater had been installed prior to my moving in.
This was replaced in 2013 with a new wood heater that conformed to the highest existing standards for wood heaters.
As I became more aware of the polluting and adverse health effects of wood smoke I made the decision to switch to a reverse cycle system in 2017.
There were other contributing reasons - a transition to being an 'empty-nester', increasing prices for wood purchased through a local supplier and a desire to avoid the mess and effort of setting fires.
There have been savings in heating costs since installing the reverse-cycle system (which cost $3000, including installation and electrical upgrades).
I had kept accurate records of wood purchases throughout the previous years and the cost per week had grown over five years from approximately $30 to $40.
There was no sign of wood becoming cheaper as supply sources moved further away from Armidale.
The two winters that have passed using the reverse-cycle system has seen the heating costs reduce by 30 per cent back to under $30/week based on electricity bills; this factors in increases in electricity charges.
There is a further offset from PV feed-ins.
I manage the solar gain in my house every day by opening curtains in the morning and closing them again late in the afternoon whenever possible.
The house temperature rarely falls below 13 degrees and due to the siting of the air-con unit the heat is more fully dispersed throughout the house, rather than remaining near the ceiling.
(The ceiling construction does not allow installation of a ceiling fans).
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.