Solar House Day - bus tour

The sun shone and bus loads of enthusiastic people arrived! This photo was taken at Jigsaw’s Curtin House at 9:15 am; just moments before 30+ people walked up the front ramp and deck to have a look and chat. A second bus load of equally sunny and inquisitive people arrived half an hour later.

Solar House Day took on a new format this year with urban bus tours in the morning and rural bus tours in the afternoon. Jigsaw’s Bywong House and the home of architect, Rob Henry, were just two of the terrific houses on the afternoon itinerary. Earlier in the week, the architects involved, and Andreas Luzzi from LAROS Technologies, shared their expertise at a fully packed public seminar at the National Library. (Jigsaw and LAROS share a passion for thorough insulation and draft sealing – more on our collaboration in a future blog.)

The Curtin House is a bit different to the other wonderful houses showcased on Solar House Day – it was a renovation project rather than new build, and an example of ‘light and tight’, rather than high thermal mass construction.

By ‘light and tight’ we mean lightweight construction, highly insulated and well sealed. Originally an ‘ex-govie’ this house has the typical suspended timber floor and timber framed walls. Despite its lack of thermal mass, the house requires little energy to maintain it at comfortable temperatures. This is becuase of its:

  • relatively small volume (small floor areas but loads of functional space through good re-design)
  • good use of northern orientation and external shading to east and west
  • retrofitting of insulation to floors, walls and ceiling
  • replacement of single glazed Aluminium framed windows with quality PVC double glazing
  • careful attention to sealing junctions and penetrations to minimise air leakage.