Our 1970’s bungalow is going through a metamorphosis. Since we bought it in November 2012 we have had one goal in mind; to redesign it, modernise it and make it as ‘Green’ as our budget will allow. We’ve had a few setbacks. Misunderstood by our first Architect, we now have an Architect on board who cares deeply about creating a design that works for us now and in the future and is achievable within our budget. A house that works for us in the future by definition has to be energy-efficient. Building a ‘Green’ home costs money, no doubt about it but will save us money in the long-term …….
That is if we stay in it long enough to get our money’s worth! There is a rambler in me and my feet get itchy but as our children get older I’m hoping we can stay put until their education is completed. That is 20 years away which will make us about ready to retire.
Our builders started 8 weeks ago and we are estimating that we have another 10 weeks before we can move back home. These first few weeks have been the hardest to watch. The house was, within no time at all dismantled and demolished in part. Whatever could be saved and re-used was put safely to one side. To be fair it hasn’t been much (roof tiles and a radiator to date) but with this project every cent counts. By he end of the second week, all that was left of our house was three out of four perimeter walls and part of the roof. Everything else found its way to a skip. Where the front door once was a gaping hole emerged with a pretty much uninterrupted view of the back garden. The beautiful planting which was the life’s dedication of the previous owners is now under a mound of soil and newly laid concrete.
Six weeks later and the footprint of our new house is clear and I now struggle to find where the original outline lay. It’s exciting and frightening at the same time. What if it doesn’t meet up to our expectations when it is complete? What if we just don’t like it? No matter what, I know the insulated floors, walls and triple glazed Alu clad windows are going to provide us with the most comfortable winter we’ve had in two years. In our 1970’s Bungalow mould growing on our uninsulated walls was an habitual problem. We swapped the mould for a simple but clever ventilation system that responds to moisture levels in the room and pulls in a fresh air feed when the moisture levels exceed a certain level. The solar panels will harness any amount of energy that our Irish climate bestows and the wood burning stove will heat our rads.
But, for now, our home is a shell and although it won’t be a Passiv Haus, it will be a highly efficient place to live and if I can just decide on the perfect tiles/fittings/flooring etc it will be our perfect family home. A lot can happen in 10 weeks.