A sustainable retro-fit at Speers Point will be on show for Sustainable House Day on September 17

RAISING THE STANDARD: Andrew Murdoch has retro-fitted his family home at Speers Point to lower their environmental footprint. The house will be open to the public to see this Sunday. Picture: Supplied
RAISING THE STANDARD: Andrew Murdoch has retro-fitted his family home at Speers Point to lower their environmental footprint. The house will be open to the public to see this Sunday. Picture: Supplied

THE Murdoch family, of Speers Point, have been lovingly retro-fitting their 1949 brick home for sustainability.

They’ve done such a good job it has been included in this year’s Sustainable House Day. 

Andrew and Wendy Murdoch moved into the home in June 2016.

One of the big appeals of the house was some of the hard yakka had already been done.

“Previous owners put a 2.2kw solar power system on the roof; an evacuated tube solar hot water system,” he said. “All the roof is plumbed into two 10,000-litre tanks.”

The water from the roof is used inside the house. It supplies the family with about 90 per cent of their water needs. Rain water is also used on the garden. 

Since buying the house they have insulated below the floor with polystyrene batts.

“This winter has been warmer and we have been able to retain the heat in the house longer,” he said. 

This winter has been warmer and we have been able to retain the heat in the house longer.

- Andrew Murdoch

They have also added heavy shade-cloth external awnings on the western windows and have applied a secondary perspex window behind existing windows. It creates an air-gap which adds to insulation. 

They have also installed a system called Ventus which pumps warmer air from the roof cavity into the house during winter and in summer pushes hot air out of the roof cavity. 

“It also means the air quality in the house is better and reduces humidity,” he said. 

The next phase will see them install a grey water system which will allow them to recycle their water into subsurface soil to irrigate fruit trees. 

They will also soon be dealing with lead contamination in the soil from the former Pasminco lead works site at Boolaroo. 

“You can add gypsum to the ground and the calcium locks up the lead,” he said. “We will raise the soil level.”

A membrane of jute matting will be used between horizons. 

The family has also built raised gardens beds and eat something they have grown every day. Food scraps are recycled through composting and they also have several worm farms. 

The house will be open to the general public this Sunday, September 17.

For details, and to register for an inspection visit: sustainablehouseday.com