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Sustainable Home Renovation - Templestowe Lower (Melbourne) - Part 1


This case study is about a Sustainable renovation of a Melbourne eastern suburbs 1960s Brick Veneer 3 Bedroom home.

To provide more of an insight into the home, this case study has been split into a number of parts, starting from when the home was built and what changes have occurred over the years.

Part 1 - The Original Built House - late 1960's
Part 2 - The 1970's changes
Part 3 - The current owners - 2007 purchase
Part 4 - Renovate or Detonate


The photo shown is the front yard which is facing almost due north and was one of the main requirements when the owner was looking for a new home. With this home, the main living rooms are all facing north, with the bedrooms located along the western wall. It is not known when the front yard was changed from it's original design to the one shown here when the house was purchased in 2007.

The bonus with the location of this home is that it is on top of the hill so the backyard on fine days is sunny without much shading all year round. Additionally there is no over shadowing by neighbouring properties to the East, West and South.


Below are the original plans of the home. Like most houses of that era, there was little or no insulation other than some foil under the corrugated iron roof. We entered the plan into the energy rating software to determine what the homes energy rating would be newly built in the 1960s. Luckily, the original plans, and future renovation plans all came with the house.

THERMAL RATING (Energy Rating): 0.9 Stars




Roof: No
Walls: No
Floor: No
Reflective Roof Space: Yes
(ie Foil under roof iron facing roof space)
Wall Foil: No
Single Glazed 3mm Glass
Draught Sealing
Wall Vents: Yes
Chimney: Unsealed
Doors weathersealed: No
Windows weatherseals: No
Exhaust Fans 
Bathroom: Unsealed
Floor Coverings
Bathroom / Shower / Toilet / Laundry: Tiles
Kitchen: Vinyl 
External Walls: Brick (brick veneer)

Original plan section drawings

OriginalLotImage North-Wall

The original home had a west facing front door onto a patio which was the roof of a single garage underneath. A metal garage was placed in the backyard 1 metre off the West Boundary and it appears there was a side driveway to this garage or a side walkway entrance. At some stage, the single garage under the patio was extended to the West boundary to become a double garage with a large patio deck. Steps from the patio were on the North East side of the patio.

It is assumed the backyard was a grassed area with some vegetation. The East side of the backyard from the Kitchen to the south yard had a concrete pathway to a clothes line - presumably a hills hoist. The front yard was brick terraced with a concrete pathway running off the East side boundary along the side of the house to the backyard but also meeting up with the steps to the patio at the front of the house. Grassed areas with vegetation around appears to be the front yard landscaping.

Like most brick veneers, the house consisted of a single brick wall, cavity, then timber hard wood frames with no wall foil. Floors were Tassie Oak hardwood, glass was timber framed single glazed 3mm glass (not safety), and roof was effectively a flat tin roof with silver foil underneath. Eaves were typical size - around 450mm - and made from asbestos sheeting. The chimney was most likely the main heating source. For whatever reason, electricity from the street was attached to the front of the north east section of the house with cable heading to the meter on the east side then all the way across to the fuse box on the West side of the house close to where the hot water system (current) is located. Not a convenient place to change fuses.

The orientation and design of the home wasn't too bad given that the lounge and dining room were located on the north side and the bedrooms and bathrooms mostly located to the south. However, the lounge also faced west with the majority of lounge/dining room windows facing this direction which would lead to overheating.

Part 2 - The 1970's changes