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Showing posts from February, 2009

Energy Rating

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Principle 2: Catch and Store Energy

As part of the building permit application process I needed to get an Energy Assessment of the house design. The architectual drawings were submitted to an Accredited Rater who uses House Energy Rating tools like FirstRate to give an energy rating to a house. In Victoria any new house or renovation needs to receive a rating of 5 stars or better in order to be appoved by council.

The house design received an Energy Rating of 6 stars, the maximum rating available with software used.

FirstRate report summary


With the plans a list of design details was also supplied which help to elaborate on the drawings which is listed below.

Design Details for Energy Assessment

The development includes the relocation and rebuild of an existing 3 room timber structure (to become 3 bedrooms) with a new construction of Living/Dining/Kitchen plus Bathroom. The Living/Dining/Kitchen is an open plan design with thermal mass from the insulated concrete slab. This area has seals t…

Milling

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Principle 3: Obtain a yield

About a day and a half work was involved in milling up the Red Gum and Lightwood on site. I employed the services of a mobile miller by the name of Mal who used a portable sawmill to cut the timber into planks and slabs.

The slabs were quite an effort to move. It took 4 blokes just to lift one end of a Red Gum slab to get it onto a trailer for drying off site. Metal pipe was used to help roll it into place.

Because we are in mid-summer here in Australia, it was suggested by Mal that the timber be stacked on flat ground with no air gaps and be covered. This helps to reduce the speed at which the timber dries. When timber dries too quickly it twists / bends / warps / cracks and becomes very difficult to use for building. When the weather cools down and the rains start, Mal suggested that the timber is re-stacked with wooden spacers (about 10mm high and 300mm apart) to allow it to air dry. As a general rule of thumb it timber takes about a year per inch (25mm) to…

Preparing to mill

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Principle 9: Use small and slow solutions

Peter was pretty keen to take some of the Lightwood (Acacia Implexa), which is native to Tallarook ranges, to the Tarcombe Road house site. Peter has been interested in how the timber performs in extreme conditions and loves the finish of it. He believes that it would be good for joinery, as it tends not to bend or split. These logs are all dried and collected from the property where he lives.

Our mission here is to move some rather large logs from a very steep site, to the house site some 12km away, with some pretty basic equipment. Since the Red Gum is going to milled up on the house site it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment with some other timbers.

It took most of the day to move seven logs to the site. Let's hope that the timber comes up okay. If is doesn't then I guess we have wasted some time, but not much money, and will learn some lessons. If it does work out, then we have discovered a fanstastic renewable resource ava…