The DIY Energy Efficient Home Project Magazine By EcoMaster


Learn from award-winning experts, Lyn & Maurice Beinat at ecoMaster on how their astronomical energy bill was the catalyst to two decades of research, product development and trial and error in the search for the most economical way to make their home more energy efficient on a budget.

Fast forward to today, and their home is now a 7.6-star energy rated home with zero energy costs and carbon emissions.

ecoMaster is here to show you simple, practical DIY projects; room by room that any DIYers can do. It was all filmed at the ecoMaster test home in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia.








Learn from award-winning experts, Lyn & Maurice Beinat at

ecoMaster on how their astronomical energy bill was the

catalyst to two decades of research, product development

and trial and error in the search for the most economical way

to make their home more energy efficient on a budget. Fast

forward to today, and their home is now a 7.6-star energy

rated home with zero energy costs and carbon emissions.

ecoMaster is here to show you simple, practical DIY

projects; room by room that any DIYers can do. It was all

filmed at the ecoMaster test home in the Macedon Ranges,

Victoria, Australia. 1







Use this code


our store for

some great




Visit Our Store

Insider Secrets To An Energy

Efficient Home.


Our Home Is Making A Difference


Why We Did It


Your Roadmap


What Our Clients Say


What We Did, What We Learned &

What We Will Do Next


Outside DIY Projects


Solar Hot Water


Sun Lizard & Solar Panels


Solar Hot Water &



Split Systems


Nature’s Lawn Mowers


Water System


Inside DIY Projects




Lounge / Dining Room








Ensuite / Bathroom


The Top And Bottom

(Building Envelope) 2

The DIY Energy Efficient Home Project Magazine by ecoMaster is owned and published

electronically by ecoMaster. Copyright 2019 ecoMaster. All rights reserved. No part

of this electronic or printed magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of

ecoMaster. Requests for permission should be directed to: LYN BEINAT - Co-Founder,

ecoMaster -




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Australia’s energy efficiency experts reveal

the best-kept secrets to reducing your

energy cost and improving your thermal

comfort PERMANENTLY. The insiders

tricks and downright “I NEVER would that

thought of THAT” tips to make your home

comfy, cheaper to run and better for the

environment’. It is two decades of handson-retrofit

experience and guaranteed to

save 10 times the investment. And what

could be better than doing something

great for your home, your family and your

environment? The profits from Insider

Secrets To An Energy Efficient

Home go to the environmental and

social charities that ecoMaster


ecoMaster has donated

over $24,000 to charities

since 2017. 4 5

Initially, we set out to make a

difference to climate change.

Our home was the ideal

candidate and became the test

bed for ecoMaster. Consequently, we

only provide solutions that we have

empirically tested and have proven to

ourselves to be 100% effective.

We think that is a pretty novel

way to run a business these days.

Actually, it’s not even a business,

it’s “an obsession” that went well

past being a “passion” many years

ago. Our solutions are the highest

quality available. We rarely provide an

alternative because our testing has

shown us which product is “best of

breed”. So why would we offer you

anything less?

Our philosophy is to do a great

job - once. Best product, best

installation. Great outcome.

Job done! For years we

only worked on a personalised

assessment and customised

installation approach. ecoMaster

provides that service and is a multi

award-winning business. However,

we understood there was a limit

to how many homes we would be

able to support that way. To reach a




wider audience, faster, the ecoMasterStore

was born. Our aim is to provide the same

high-quality solutions that ecoMaster is

famous for, but to clients who prefer to

take a DIY path. We obsessed with how to

achieve the same outcomes as our bespoke

service, so we support our DIY clients with

the same high-quality products as well as

full instructional videos for every solution to

ensure a brilliant result.

Over the years, we have learnt that most of

our clients were sick of living in a home that is

freezing in winter and sweltering in summer.

They would rather spend their money on

a pint of beer than a huge power bill, and

ultimately they really want to do something

about the environment. Warren Buffet does

not see us as an acquisition target. Nor are

we the focus of a venture capitalist. We are

an honest, trustworthy business providing an

ethical, values linked service in which

we passionately believe; determined to

ensure that every client achieves a great

outcome. We love the fact that we are

always learning and looking for ways

(sometimes well outside the norm) to

find solutions to a particular challenge.

We believe that the built environment

can be truly sustainable – and we work

steadily towards that every day.

There are not many occupations that

you can say you made a difference every

day. We are so fortunate to have this

opportunity - and we would love to share

it with you and your family. Would you

like to join us?

ecoMasterStore is home

to DIYers

who want a comfortable

home, comfortable family.


Founders - ecoMaster

Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia.



Visit: 6 7






The retrofit began! A series of unique ecoMaster products

were developed along the journey where we found the

existing offerings were either poor quality, did not work, were

ridiculously expensive or just plain wrong (like throwing out

perfectly good windows that just happened to be single

glazed). Architectural quality draught proofing, secondary

glazing, and retrofit wall insulation were all developed over

several years.

That same home is now rated 7.6 stars with zero energy

costs and carbon emissions. Even with minimal heating, it is

a cosy warm home during winter. Summers are naturally cool

with air-conditioning that is just not needed, even when it is

46 degrees outside. Having retrofitted our own home to such

an impressive standard, we understood the unique nature of

what we had achieved. We wanted to share that knowledge.

So we established ecoMaster to support

other homeowners more easily down

the same “make my home comfortable,

lower energy costs and low carbon”


Our objective was (and still is) to provide

honest advice and effective solutions

to enable others to retrofit their homes

for energy efficiency as practically and

pragmatically as possible.

We concentrate on our core strengths:

honesty, quality, and innovation to

support our obsession with a low

carbon future.

Our journey started in 2003 as a response to

an astronomical energy bill accompanied by an

incredibly cold home (rated 1.5 stars) and the

realisation that our lounge room emitted almost

double the national average in carbon emissions.

Thermally, financially and ethically - it was “not ok”.

Told to ‘Suck it up princess... you live in the Macedon

Ranges, it’s winter, you’re gunna be cold!’ by local

builders, we were not sure where to start to fix our

home. Clearly, it wasn’t with them! With those gruff

words, the journey to retrofit our home for comfort,

reduced costs and reduced carbon took its first,

defiant step. Research to retrofit our own home was


We built a heat chamber (as you do!) and hired a

cool room (as you also must do!) and tested every

insulation product on the market with 2-minute timing

tests using multiple temperature probes.

After 6 months of testing, we had our own library of

temperature performance curves, developed from our

own empirical testing.





Alan Pears AM is the closest thing to “Green Royalty” in

Australia. A dedicated environmental consultant, and a

pioneer of energy efficiency policy in Australia since the late

1970s. He has been an environmental consultant for decades,

involved in energy/environmental rating and regulation of

buildings, green building developments, and efficient appliance

development. Often the lone sensible voice advocating “energy

efficiency” first, he is a highly regarded analyst, consultant, and

commentator on sustainable energy and climate policy.

A natural thought leader, he has written or peer-reviewed

many articles in specialist media such as The Conversation ,

Energy Policy, and ReNew magazine, as well as other academic

journals, chapters of books and major reports. Alan was

made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for his

contribution to environmental and energy policy. He has also

received a number of awards from industry associations and

RMIT media awards. Lyn and Maurice would like to take this

opportunity to thank Alan for his mentorship of ecoMaster. We

were deeply touched that Alan took an interest in the work we

started nearly two decades ago and took the time to lend his

considerable expertise to our learning journey. We salute you

and thank you. 8 9







Make your home energy efficient first,




Eliminate gas hot water

THEN install solar panels


Use appliance timers to maximise the

use of your energy when it is being made


Check the output from your panels


Use evacuated tube solar collectors or

heat pumps


Insulate your hot water pipes

regularly to detect issues early




Have downlights? Replace them with IC4

rated LEDs to eliminate draught and allow

for complete ceiling insulation cover




Adopt best practice rather than minimum

building standards


Ensure complete coverage to external



No gaps!






Controls your ventilation!


Provides the biggest bang for your

retrofit buck




Shade the windows in summer


Secondary or double glaze


Use good quality, long-lasting



Have thermally efficient window





Reduce your food miles - grow your own





Without insulation, your floor will be the

veggies and fruit

outside temperature


Chickens eat your kitchen scraps and

provide you with eggs


Share your garden abundance with

*Wall insulation is important, but it has been

excluded here, because it is generally not

a DIY activity.


Insulated floor means warm feet and

cosy comfort


Works well in summer too!

friends and neighbours



Joel (sales) was a great help. Explained

the process and quickly confirmed I

could pick up the goods same day.

The products you’re offering, especially

the Shugg window draught excluders

are rare and difficult to find, so your

website was invaluable. Joel met me

in the office, I signed out the goods

and was on my way in minutes - great

service. Thanks! - W.T.

When I rang to explain what I needed,

the gentlemen I had spoken to was

amazing. He waited patiently while I

logged in, and helped me navigate the

website to place an order. Truly

appreciated his help, thank you! - M.K.

Hi! I installed the Draught Dodger last

weekend. Good product - works well.

Thanks. - G.B.

Thanks Ken and please thank June.

Normally I don’t order materials

online however I couldn’t find a

similar (let alone better) product

locally that suits my current needs

at an affordable price. If this benefits

as much as I believe it will, I (or

better yet the wife) will probably

insist I retrofit the rest of the house!

Thank you for your patience with

me and look forward to an ongoing

relationship as needs require. - S.M.





Hello, I’m Maurice Beinat. I’m Technical Director at

ecoMaster; and together with my wife Lyn, we started

ecoMaster quite some years ago. I’m standing now

on our property in the Macedon Ranges, and this

is actually the reason that we started ecoMaster.

When we moved into our beautiful home here, we

discovered that it was mightily uncomfortable,

freezing cold in the winter, almost unheatable, but

more to the point, it was an environmental disaster

- emitting more than twice the average household

carbon just from the living room.

That was a motivating factor for us to start making

some changes. So I’d like to take you now on a tour of

our home, but more than that, I’d like to take you on

a journey of testing, trial and error, development and

just everything that we went through to making our

home from a 1.5 star home into a 7.6 star home.

I very much hope that in this journey, you might find

some things that you can implement in your own

home. So let’s get started now. 12 13





Solar Hot Water


Sun Lizard & Solar Panels


Solar Hot Water & Solarventi


Split Systems


Nature’s Lawn Mowers


Water System

Solar Hot Water

“One of the first things that we did here was to put both solar

heating and also wood fire heating into the main hot water


The main hot water system is in the roof behind me. It

already had the connections for solar panels and it also had

connections for what’s called a “wetback” on a wood fire,

although neither of those things were in place.

So the first thing that we did is we actually got evacuated

tubes, as you can see on the roof behind me. We wanted 40

tubes. Unfortunately at the time 30 tubes was the biggest

panel so we got another 10 to put beside it, and hence that’s

why it’s in two pieces. But those are connected up to a lowpressure

400-litre water tank in the roof behind them.

You might notice that the tubes are on a bit of a slope.

That’s because there is no pump on this system, its just a

thermo-syphon. As the water in the header of the evacuated

Sun Lizard &

Solar Panels

“This is the family cat, Vodka. On the roof behind me you’ll

see a device called a Sun Lizard. The Sun Lizard is another

box that seeks to heat up air and pump it into the home in

the winter time and in the summer time seeks to extract

hot air.

Now it’s slightly different to the Solarventi’s that we saw at

the other end. The Solarventi always brings in fresh warmed

air whereas the Sun Lizard actually recirculates air, so it

seeks to keep adding heat as it goes. So it draws in the air

from inside, heats it and pumps it back in.

By and large it works pretty well. It has a control system,

a powered control system in the roof, and a panel inside

from which to control the device. So you can switch it from

heating to cooling. It’s not as automatic as such.

tubes heats up, it gets less dense. The water goes “uphill”

into the tank and the cooler water comes into the lower level

of the header from a lower outlet in the tank. So that’s how

our water is heated - just from the sun.

We’ll see inside the wet flue that connects to the same tank.

In the first year that this system was connected to the tank,

we had zero boosting. That means all 100% of our hot water

was from the sun and the wood fire.

The other thing you can see on the roof here is just a very

common solar panel system. It’s a 2.7 kilowatt system and

it just sits there. When the sun’s on there, it generates power

and sometimes it gets fed into the grid and sometimes it

gets used in the home. We certainly try to maximise the use

of that energy within the home when we possibly can.” 14 15

Solar Hot Water &


“You can see behind me quite a lot of stuff on the roof.

Originally it did have a solar panel inside the box. When the sun

hit the box it heated up the air and excited the solar panel. The

panel drove a fan that pumped the air from the Solarventi down

into our home.

It draws new air from the back that gets heated up and the cycle

just continues. So, when there is a nice winter sun, it actually

works really well, and we’ll have a look at an outlet a little bit later

inside. We have actually ducted it down and provided a means

of directing the hot air either into the ensuite, which is a dead air

space, or into the bedroom to warm the bedroom. As I say, when

the winter sun is nice and bright, it actually works brilliantly well.

Of course, when there is no sun, nothing happens! But one of

the issues with this particular box is that because the summer

sun here is so strong, it actually cooked the solar panel inside the

box. There is a fix for that now. But we just decided to put an

external solar panel on to drive it, and maybe you can see that on

the roof just below it.

A fair bit later, we added a second Solarventi. That one actually

exhausts into the living room to heat it in the wintertime. In the

summertime, these can work kind of in reverse so that it still

uses the solar panel to drive a fan, but instead of pumping hot air

in, because obviously that’s not very useful in the summertime, it

actually drives a fan to extract air through a ceiling outlet, which

is kind of just marginally useful. But the main purpose of these

is winter heating. The other thing you’ll see on the roof

behind me are another 40 evacuated tube solar panel

for hot water. So, because this house is so very long, it

actually has two hot water systems in the roof. For a time

we were just using the one down the west end. It was

being piped up here, but of course the bathroom up this

end, there’s a lot of pipe work in between, and so there

was quite a lot of water wastage waiting for the hot water

to get through.

So, we did decide to again split the two systems apart. At

this time, of course, we were able to get 40 tubes in one

header. Again, you’ll notice that it’s not straight across the

roof, it’s on a slant. Of course, that’s because it’s thermo

syphoned. Okay?

So, really great in the winter time, providing you a lot of

your hot water. In the summertime, the hot water can

get quite hot because there’s no control over how much

heat the evacuated tubes are adding to the water. So, in

the summertime, yeah, you have to be a bit more careful

about adjusting the hot water.”

Nature’s Lawn


“One of the things we have here are great lawnmowers and

behind me, you can see lawnmower one, two, and three!”

Water System

“You’ll see the two pipes? They are risers that come up and

carry water into the tank. One pipe comes from each side of

the house. Whatever water falls on the roof ends up in the

tank. This arrangement is called “loaded lines” and these

pipes are always full of water.

That’s assuming it hasn’t been a really, really long time since

rain, but generally, those are full of water and whatever falls

on the roof is added to the pipes and pushes all the water

that’s in the pipe into the tank, so we have never, ever run

out of water here.

The other thing that happens here is that there is a pump

below us - an electric pump. One of the things that I’ve never

got around to is to replacing that with a solar-driven pump,

but it’s still on the list of things to do.

on the hill. That makes room in this tank, should there be a

nice shower of rain.

In the wintertime, usually both tanks are full or almost full

and in the summertime, of course, there’s a bit less rain.

We do get down a little bit, but unless there’s been a water

leak somewhere, really we’ve never had less than one and a

quarter tanks of water, so that’s still loads of water and we’re

not miserly about it.

We don’t particularly worry about flushing the toilets,

having baths or having long showers. That’s all great. It’s an

enormous amount of water and it’s great infrastructure that

we were the beneficiaries of. So that’s the water

system here.”

What happens is that the water is pumped up to another

Split Systems

tank on the hill. That second tank provides the water

pressure for our home. Every couple of weeks, usually on

a weekend, we’ll put the pump on and it tops up the tank

“In more recent years, we added a couple of highefficiency

split systems. These are Mitsubishi Heavy,

hyper inverter. I don’t really know what hyper means,

but really, they are fantastically good because they are

so convenient. Of course, you just hit the remote and

within a couple of minutes, you’ve got really great heat

coming out of them. And of course, if you need to, you

can use them for cooling as well. So they have been really

fantastic units.”

Don’t forget to sign up to

‘Insider Secrets To An Energy

Efficient Home’. $25 - All proceeds go to charity 16 17






- Draught proofing the front door

- Air lock

- Entrance landing


Lounge / Dining

- Introduction

- Draught proofing

- Stainless flue hot water heating

- Window treatments

- Big Ass fan

- Acoustics - 3D wall tiles

- Acoustics - suspended circles



- Windows - Testing and more draught proofing

- Replacement cooktop (future project)

- Lighting evolution



- Introduction

• Lighting

• Seal up heating outlets

• Double insulated heavy drapes and pelmets

• Improved air circulation - external door

• Draught proofed cavity slider


Top And Bottom (Building Envelope)

- Introduction

- Testing ceiling insulation

- Attic

• Insulate the manhole

• Insulation, smoke alarm, insulated hot water pipes

• Insulating the cathedral ceiling

• Draft stoppa

- Underfloor Insulation



- Draught proofed awning window

- Heavy drapes & pelmets

- Personal heating

- Retrofit wall insulation


Ensuite /Bathroom

- The Bathroom Evolution

• Exhaust fans

• Draft Stoppa

• Timer switch

• Heated towel rail

• Showerdome look-a-like

- Zoning

- Solarventi Outlet 18 19


Draught Proofing

The Front Door

This is our front door. Because this is the ecoMaster test

house, this door has over the years had lots of different

treatments; door perimeter seals and door bottom

treatments. We have learnt lots about things that don’t work

and how to design things that do work.

as thorough as the draught-proofing that we would do today.

Nonetheless, it reduced our heating bill by 50% just doing

that. So, doing this kind of work has real dividends behind it.

Entrance Landing

In the entrance down into our living room, there’s a couple of

steps. When we first came here, there were a few little steps

with really sharp edges, making it a little tricky to navigate. One

of the things that we did was to make this a larger entrance.

The platform is made from bamboo. We chose bamboo for

two reasons. One is it looks great, but also it’s a reasonably

sustainable material to use and we’re really happy with the way

it’s turned out.

One of the things that we were concerned about with making

this kind of structure, is the amount of noise that it might

generate from just walking across it. For that reason, we

actually filled it underneath with acoustic blanket and so it

hasn’t been an issue.

For example, originally for the perimeter seals, we started

with typical weather stripping but soon found that to be not

very satisfactory. We tried other seals, including ones that

had bulb seals on them which had some promise, but there

are issues with bulb seals particularly getting jammed in

the hinge side of the door. This led to the development of

Draught Dodgers, which you see on these doors at

the moment.

We came to use this bottom treatment (RP35), which, in

all the years that we have installed this device in various

places, have not had one failure. We’ve hit upon a formula

that’s really good. Our initial draught-proofing was not

very thorough. It didn’t involve the doors - just a little bit of

caulking and treating the light fittings. It was by no means

See our Product Feature for Draught

Dodgers for Doors + RP35






Our family room is quite a big space, with a living area on one side, a

dining area on the other, a kitchen, and a great big cathedral ceiling.

It is a big space, and there’s quite a lot happening here to talk about.

There’s a drying rack, a ceiling fan, the lighting upgrade, an acoustic

upgrade and there’s also hot water heating happening here. And

there’s the heating systems themselves. There is quite a lot of

draught-proofing to talk about. And of course, there’s a ceiling and

underfloor installation as well. So, let’s make a start.

Air Lock

Draught-proofing a front door is one thing, but when people

are coming and going, if this is your main heated area,

you’re definitely losing a lot of heat every time the door

opens. And of course, if you’ve got kids you can expect the

door to be left open. That’s just a fact of life. To take energy

efficiency to the next level, an airlock is a great idea so

you can certainly come and go without losing a lot of your

winter heating.

Draught Proofing

The journey really started with draught-proofing. In the living room,

it turned out that there were a lot of draughts. We didn’t really think

that it was a draughty place, but when you look carefully, there

was quite a lot to do. Because this is a cathedral ceiling, there are

loads of gaps where the rafters meet the wall, where the rafters

meet the external wall, the architraves around the glazing, but

also the aluminium sliding doors were not very good. As well as

that, of course, the external hinge doors and the awning windows

were also draughty. So all those have been treated. And initially

we didn’t do it all, but in the first year we actually saved 50% of our

heating just by doing the draught-proofing.

See our Product Feature Section for

Draught Proofing - Ultraclear

draughtproofing-gaps-fullers-ultraclear 20 21

Stainless Flue Hot

Water Heating

In the early days here, one of the first things that we did was we

decommissioned the two central gas-fired heating systems.

Now, because we live in the countryside, it was LPG. It was really

expensive to run and not very helpful because the heating simply

came out from the ceiling outlets, which is not ideal.

We got rid of the LPG tank and we stopped using the heating

systems. The wood-fire became our main heating source. Now if

you’re going to use a wood fire to heat hot water, normally there’s

a water jacket built into the wood-fire, but this one was new and

it didn’t have water jackets. We decided to add a wet flue. The

bottom section of flue here is a stainless steel jacket and the

pipes at the back lead up into the hot water tank, which is just

above it.

You run the fire to heat the living room. The fire heats up the flue,

the flue heats the water up and it’s a simple thermosyphon. Again,

it goes around and heats up the water in the hot water tank.

If you are thinking of doing this, there’s just one little fault we

didn’t do. The pipes are nicely curved going up, but in fact, what

that leads to is when the hot water system gets pretty hot, you

can have the thermosyphon stagnate and this starts sounding

like it’s going to be a bomb that blows up, but eventually it boils,


One of the things that were paramount in improving the overall

thermal performance of this home was to do something with the

glazing. Because it’s such a big place, it’s got so much glass, and

especially here in the living room, it was really where we had to

do something.

Way back when we started looking at this, we got some pricing

for replacement double glazing and it was just astronomical. We

just weren’t going to devote that amount of resources and also

trash perfectly good joinery and glass. That’s where the idea for

ecoGlaze (secondary glazing) came from - how to figure out

has a bit of a hissy fit and it starts again. This can be

prevented if the pipe at the back here actually went down

before it went up and that would circumvent that little

issue. It’s not really a problem, but it just sounds a bit

ominous when it happens.

That’s it. Earlier, we saw that we’ve got the 40 evacuated

tubes on the roof in a set of 30 in a set of 10 that feed into

the same tank. When the sun’s out, it heats up the hot

water. When we’ve got the wood-fire on, which is less so

now that we’ve got a couple of really good split systems

(they’re just so convenient), and of course wood fire, not

really very good environmentally. We use it at a minimum

now. So, the wet flue doesn’t actually do very much for us

these days, but when we put it in, it was the main source

of heating and did a fantastic job of providing hot water

as well.

what we can do to make existing glazing effectively


In this home, there are lots of experiments along those

lines as we were developing ideas, and they still kind of

work, and I’m glad we didn’t go with some of them, but

eventually we developed ecoGlaze.

Behind me, now you can see the real McCoy. We kept the

living room in reserve to install the actual product that we

could supply to everybody, which is ecoGlaze. I think it

looks especially great when it’s colour-matched with

the existing.


Roller Blinds

The blind that you see behind me is a Renshade chain pull blind.

Renshade is this material that you see. It’s reflective on both

sides, it’s got little holes in it, and it’s amazing at stopping the

heat. In particular, it’s great for western facing windows, where

you’ve got the blistering sun. Here it’s on the north side of our

home because in full summer we can get a lot of heat coming in

through these windows. We’ve made it into chain pull blinds so

it could be pulled up and we can get the full benefit of the winter

sun. These have been really, really good.

They did operate in conjunction with heavy line drapes and a

box pelmet. Unfortunately, those drapes became, well worn, not

helped by a couple of our dogs. So, the drapes have gone, which

has left us only with the Renshade roller blinds. The next project

in hand is actually to replace both of those window coverings

with one. What we’re planning to do here is to take out these

Renshade chain pull blinds and replace them with cellular blinds

otherwise called honeycomb blinds as you might know them.

The advantage of fitting this on existing windows with

ecoGlaze, is the cost and less material going to waste.

We’re still using the same joinery, it’s still just as good as

it was all those years ago and we’ve kept it and just added

the ecoGlaze components. It’s really made a massive

difference to the overall thermal performance of our

home at a very reasonable cost. So, that’s it. That’s how

ecoGlaze came about, and here it is.

We’re hoping that those are going to perform most of the

function of the Renshade in the summertime. I don’t think

they’re going to be quite as good, but because here we’re

at 500 metres of elevation, it’s more of a winter issue

here, and the cellular blinds should perform quite well in

that respect.

See our Product Feature Section for




Drying Rack

One of the things that’s reasonably challenging here in the

Macedon Ranges in the wintertime is how to dry your washing.

We don’t like to use the dryer, so here’s something that we

really love. A drying rack! Now because we’ve got a really high

cathedral ceiling, this is ideal. You can just put your drying on

there and hoik it up out of the way. Whatever heating you use,

whether it’s a split system or the wood fire, the washing gets the

most of the heat and, and dries off brilliantly. 22 23

Panel LED &

Painted Ceiling &

Solarventi Outlet

Sometimes things are done for aesthetic reasons and

others are done for energy reasons. So above us, we’ve

got these LED panels which we use to replace the previous

energy-intensive lighting.

When these panels came, they were a really harsh daylight

colour and there were a lot of complaints. So rather than

replace the panels, we got a roll of Change to Orange

film. It’s a translucent film that’s actually used in the

photographic industry. We pulled the panels apart and we

put the film in it. It’s transformed what was a really harsh

light into quite a mellow, yellow light, and there was peace.

In conjunction with this, we got rid of a lot of “brown”. So the

cathedral ceiling above me, as so many cathedral ceilings

are, were just clear finished timber, so it was brown, brown,

brown. The wall behind me also was a brown feature brick

wall. We also have brown slate on the floor. It’s a typical

1980s arrangement. So we painted the ceiling white and we

plastered and painted the wall.

While that’s changed the aesthetic quite a bit, it’s has also

improved the light quality in the whole room. We are really

pleased with the results.

On the back wall here, there is also an old heating outlet in the

wall. It’s no longer a heating outlet because we discontinued

the heating system, but we have made use of it to be the

actual port that brings in the warm air from the Solarventi.

Better Acoustics -

3D Wall Tiles

Here’s something that we’ve done quite recently to this home.

You can see behind me in these red tiles. These are called

Quietspace 3D tiles, and we’ve put them up in conjunction with

a hanging feature above me. That’s called a “Horizon Circle”.

Why have we done this? Well, it’s about sound quality in the

room. As you get older, you get less tolerant of reflected

sound. That is, sound coming at you from multiple directions.

That makes it really difficult to understand speech. So what

we were finding was that we’d be sitting here watching the TV,

and we’d be having this conversation over and over again,“Did

you hear what they said?” “No. Did you hear what they said?”

“Hmm, Not sure.” It was very irritating, and you can put the

volume up, and make a lot more noise, but it doesn’t improve

your understanding of speech.

So, the idea of this arrangement is that it absorbs sound, and

it eliminates some of the reflected sound, so that you just hear

the direct sound. And I have to say, it’s made an astonishing

difference. We don’t have those conversations anymore.

It’s a great thing. If you’re getting older and you’re finding

difficulty with understanding dialogue, then that’s a great

thing, and also, if you’ve got a home theatre, I would suggest

that it’s a fantastic thing to use for that.

See our Product Feature Section for

Quietspace 3D Tiles

Big Ass Fan

“What you see above me is the Haiku Big Ass Fan. Now this

is a pretty big room so we thought we’d need a pretty big fan.

We did in the past have just a regular fan, and the quality was

not very good, so we thought we’d go with this.

I have to say that this fan, it’s an amazing piece of engineering.

It’s brilliantly well-made. You get a remote control to operate it

with. It actually has a light in it as well that you can dim. It’s a

brilliant product. The one thing that I don’t like about it is that

it doesn’t have a reverse function. It won’t run backwards, like

most fans where you can actually physically flip the reverse

switch on the side of the fan. This one just doesn’t have that

function, and so it can only actually blow

air down.

In the wintertime, its actually more pleasant if the air is blown

upwards. That distributes the heating in the room better as

the heating comes down around the edges of the room at a

lower velocity.

If you stand under this, even though the air is warm because

of the air velocity, it actually feels cool, and that’s kind of


Acoustics -

Suspended Circle

Being of Italian extraction, when we get together we can get

quite boisterous, and we’ve got a lot less soft furnishings in

this room than we used to have. So again, lots of reflected

sound. And so that’s why we’ve added another Horizon Circle

over the table.

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See our Product Feature Section for

Horizon Circle 24 25

Lighting Upgrade

LED downlights, and so we have replaced the compact

fluorescents with those. The LEDs are completely sealed

units with an amazing light output.


Awning Window


Well as you can see, these are the kitchen window. We

have a few things going on here. Firstly, as well as

developing ecoGlaze (secondary glazing) in this home, we

do continually test other things, and on this window, we’re

testing one of the heat shrink films. You can probably see

that it’s got a bit of misting around the centre that’s on the

inside of the external glass.

How does it perform? I think from a thermal performance

point of view, pretty good because it’s trapping about 20

millimetres of air. Aesthetically, well, it doesn’t look all that

great. It’s pretty hard to trim nicely and keep looking nice

over time. It’s pretty hard to clean - you have to be ever so

gentle trying to clean it. But, thermally and cost-wise, I think

it’s pretty good. It would be particularly good if you are


is that it’s very long-lasting. Maintenance wise, it’s pretty

good, but it does tend to warp over time. What generally

happens with these sashes in that they bow and leave

quite substantial gaps. So, in these awning windows, we’ve

replaced the original beads with Draught Dodgers for

Awning Windows. It’s a great seal around the whole window

- no more draught!

See our Product Feature Section for

Draught Dodgers For Awning Windows

One of the things that we did really early on was dealing with

the lighting. We had about 40 of these halogens downlights

fitted in a gimbaled fitting (that is they had the ability to tilt).

But they were all 100% flat on the ceiling, and there was an

enormous gap around each. So there was lots of draught into

the roof, lots of electrical energy used in the halogen lamps,

and lots of ceiling insulation missing as well because you’ve

got to leave a big spice around the hot lamps.

What did we do? We took the lamps out and took the centre

out of each fitting. That just left the space that actually fits

the hole in the ceiling, and then we installed 11-watt compact

fluorescent lamps into that existing ring.

So that effectively sealed the draught, greatly reduced the

electrical energy for lighting. And of course, we can fix up the

ceiling installation pretty closely to these. The downside of that

was compact fluorescents take about 30 seconds to come up

to reasonable light and about a minute to come up to full light.

That’s pretty irritating. We put up with that for a very long time

because that’s all there was. But now there are these amazing


These particular ones have got a switch that enables you

to change the colour of the light. We like the warm light, so

that’s what we use. They’ve got a regular plug on the end so

that they can plug easily into what’s called plugged bases

in the ceiling. So if you’ve got plug bases, then it’s a DIY

installation. You can just take out the existing inefficient

lights and plug that into the plug base, then pop that into

the ceiling and the job’s done. The result is just amazingly

different - it’s a really amazing light and surprisingly cheap.

The other thing about this window is that we’ve draught

proofed it and others like it. So in this home, we’ve got

hardwood joinery. And what tends to happen with hardwood




When we came here, this was an electric cooktop. We did

change it for a gas one that runs on LPG. This has been here quite

a long time now, and it is slated for replacement. LPG or piped

gas is not sustainable and not great in terms of greenhouse gas

emissions. This is particulary true in the production stage. We’re

going to change this for an induction cooktop. This has all the

really great control features that gas has, and in fact, is better than

gas but without the emission issues.


Working in a study can be a reasonably uncomfortable

experience. For a start, you’re just sitting sedentary. If space

is cool, you’re soon going to be feeling frozen. There are a few

things that have been done here to try and alleviate that. Firstly,

on the window side. We have draught-proofed the opening

window, added ecoGlaze (secondary glazing) to reduce the

conducted heat through the glazing and added the Renshade

roller blinds as well to reduce the incoming summer heat.

There’s also heavy lined drapes with the box pelmet. So the

windows in this room are pretty well taken care of. Of course,

during the day, we don’t really want to use the drapes.

We’ve also fitted a quite a good LED light to the ceiling to

provide a good level of lighting. And finally, the thing to make

you really comfortable is to create your own little personal heat

bubble. And how do you do that? Well, you might notice that

I’m wearing a jacket, but it’s a special jacket. This is a heated

jacket and we put a battery in it, push the button, and hey,

presto, in a few minutes you get a nice, warm feeling all over.

The other thing is, of course, a heated floor mat. Here it is!

This particular one uses 75 watts of electricity, which is not

a huge amount, but certainly, if your feet are warm and your

body’s warm, then it’s going to be a fair bit more pleasant

sitting here doing your work.

See our Product Feature Section for Draught

Dodgers For Awning Windows

products/draughtdodgers-for-awning-windows 26 27

Retrofit Wall


One of the questions that we had was, “What exactly is in

the walls of this home?” When we looked, we discovered a

high-quality reflective house wrap. And while it was really

good quality, it was not very well installed. It was not fixed to

the bottom of the walls (so it was just flapping in the breeze)

and lapped in the middle. But it only came to 2.4 metre

high. As most of this house has 2.7-metre ceilings, the top

300mm of the walls were actually just open to the elements.

In effect, the reflective nature of the wrap became completely

pointless, because there was absolutely no chance of still

air space. So the next question is what to do about it? We

decided to remove the plasterboard, treat the walls and then

put the plasterboard back on. We cut the plasterboard about

a 100mm from the corners of the room, 100mm in from

architraves, skirts and corners so that we didn’t have to disturb

those. Then we took the plasterboard off. We got material like

this - RetroShield - and cut it into sections that would fit into

a stud noggin space. We installed that, made little hospital

corners and stapled it in all the way around. So the idea is to


make a still air space. Next, we glued some battens to it. The

purpose of that was to hold the bulk material off the reflective

surface. We put the polyester wall batts in. Then we installed

new plasterboard and jointed it. Then, of course, you have to

redecorate. So that’s how we retrofitted wall insulation. It made

a massive difference. We left this little piece open here just so

we could show people what we actually did in the walls.


I’m standing in the main bedroom. There are quite a few

energy efficient features to see. Starting with the drapes, the

lighting treatment, an example of sealing up heating outlets,

improving cross-flow ventilation and draught proofing a walkin


See Our Product Feature Section For

Autex Wall Insulation


Sealing Up

Heating Outlets

About a year after we stopped using the central heating

system, we decided to have a go at blocking up the outlets.

What you see here, is a typical ceiling outlet of a heating

system. You might see a silvery part inside, or if I open these

louvres, we can see inside.

We got a piece of polyester insulation and pushed it just up

into the ducting. Then we cut a piece of Foilboard and pushed

it in nice and airtight and put the louvres back on. Normally

the louvres are closed. But the point of doing this was that it

made a massive difference because the heating system is a

closed-loop. It wasn’t really draughty, but any heating in the

room was drifting up into the ducting. The ducting is insulated

a tiny bit, but not as insulated as a ceiling should be. A lot of

heat loss occurs in the ducting. The air in the ducting then

gap). And these about 13 Watts. So it reduced the power

consumption of the lighting quite a lot. The downside of

compact fluorescence, apart from having some mercury in

them, is that they take a long time to come up to full light,

and that’s kind of irritating. But once they are in full light,

they’re okay. It’s a nice warm light as well. And that’s why

we’ve kind of persevered with this and left them to the last

for replacing.

cools and comes down, so it was a continuous cooling cycle

in the wintertime. Sealing up the vents made a surprising

amount of difference.

See our Product Feature Section for

Goodbye Heating Vents


When we first moved into this home, it was absolutely full of

50 watt halogen downlights. They were fitted into gimballed

fittings (the ones that can tilt) which have an amazing gap

around each one.

Very early on we decided we had to do something about

those halogens. While many of our lighting upgrades have

been superseded, this particular one was lasted. It is now

slated for replacment with IC rated LED downlights, but it was

pretty good at the time. Even today it is still working well.

These particular lamps were fitted onto the exterior rim of the

gimballed fitting. We just kept the rim in the ceiling, took out

the halogen centres and fitted the new lamps. These are GX53

compact fluroescent lamps. You can probably see the little

fluoro going across it. So it’s sealed up the light fitting (no

Double Insulated

Heavy Drapes &


We’re probably all aware that amongst the most thermally

effective window coverings are heavy lined drapes and box

pelmets. The pelmet is very important because they eliminate

the airflow going down behind the drapes. One way to

rejuvenate all drapes is to simply sew the new material onto

the old. That way you get a new look, you get added insulation,

and you don’t trash the old drapes and linings. Bear in mind

though you’re probably going to need a curtain maker to

help you do that. 28 29

Improved Air


I’m standing at the east end of the home. One of the things

that we did was to improve the cross-flow ventilation of the

home. There use to be a regular awning window here, which

are really poor for ventilation purposes. We took out the

whole awning window unit and replaced it with this doubleglazed

door. On those few really scorching hot summer days,

in the evening, we can open this door and get a rush of air

straight through the home. This resets the home at a lower

temperature for the next day and we have a more pleasant

evening. As you can see, it’s got a blind tilt and very easy

to operate. You can also pull up the blind with this other

control. It’s been a really great thing.

Draught Proofed

Cavity Sliding Door

So the next thing that we did is we got an electric towel rail.

We figured, “Well, we’ve got damp towels all day long. That’s

not really good, so let’s get an electric towel rail and have nice

warm and dry towels.” It is connected to a timer, so it comes

on in the morning and dries the towels, and a little bit at night.

Again, it helped a little bit, and we did have nice, toasty, warm

towels, which is great but still not really fantastic. We did install

the Solaventi, which did help a lot. And finally, the thing that

really made a really big difference is that we fitted on top of our

shower our own version of Showerdome. I’m a big fan of the

Showerdome product, and I would have bought the real McCoy if

our shower had been a standard size, but it’s not.

So what we’ve done is made our own effective shower dome,

making the shower a booth rather than just an enclosure.

Having done that, there actually is almost never a reason to run

the exhaust fan, because all the steam from the shower actually

condenses on the glass in the shower, and none of it comes in

the room at all. Our shower’s big enough, that you can towel dry

in there in a nice, warm space rather than out here, so it actually

has worked fantastically well. After showering, we leave the

shower door open, and the Solarventi actually just dries

out the shower during the day, so makes everything dry.

And there certainly is no tendency towards any mould

issue here at all anymore.

See our Product Feature Section for Draft



As is usually the case with master bedrooms, there’s often a walkin

robe. In this case, we’ve got a cavity sliding door that slides into

an external wall, so almost always causes a draught issue. In this

case, we fitted the Draught Dodgers for Cavity Sliding Door, so that

we can shut the door and have it draught-proofed on this side.


See our Product Feature Section for

Draught Dodgers - Cavity Sliding Door Kit



There is a longish story of evolution in here. There’s a little bit

of an echo in here because there is no external opening to this

room. You can see behind me that we can see straight out the

back, but that’s because there’s a glass wall on the other side of

the shower enclosure. So it looks very nice, but the problem was

that it was always damp in here. We’ve progressed over time,

and done various things to try and address that dampness, and

there was also the tendency towards mould on the ceiling.

The original fan was choked with dust and it wasn’t really

a great fan, so we replaced it. But replacing it didn’t really

make a lot of difference.

As we used to accidentally leave the fan on for a long

time, we put a pneumatic push button on the fan. We

would push the button and it would run the fan just for a

number of minutes rather than all day long. That kind of

helped a little bit - but not very much really.

See our Product Feature Section for RP2A,

Draft Stoppa





When we heat our home, it’s a good idea, not to heat areas

that you don’t really need to heat. And for us, it’s the wet

areas. It’s the laundry, toilet and bathrooms.

We treat the doors (as in draught-proof them) and keep them

closed. Now here’s an interesting thing - if you’ve got little

kids, it’s pretty hard to keep them closed!. But we don’t have

little kids. So this door has been treated with an experimental

perimeter seal and just a regular brush on the bottom.

So when we close it, it’s pretty well draught proofed. We can

leave the window open if we wish to ventilate the bathroom.

It’s not going to affect the rest of the home. Another thing

that’s in this bathroom, is that we’ve treated the exhaust fan

with a draught stopper, and we’ll have a look at that when we

get in the roof. 30 31

Solarventi Outlet

This is the outlet for the Solarventi that we first saw on the

roof. It’s a simple MDF box that leads from the ceiling down to

the floor. The Solarventi has a flexible duct that adapts to the

top of the box. So, the warm air comes down here, and maybe

you can hear it going? I can certainly feel quite a nice warm

airflow on my hand, even though there’s not really very much

sun at the moment.

One of the things that we did was to organise this so we

could direct this airflow into two rooms. At the moment

we’re in the ensuite, which is a dead air space. It has no

opening window and so, usually, the warm air is directed in

here to dry out the shower. But we can direct the airflow into

the other room which is the master bedroom. It’s quite a

simple arrangement that just works brilliantly well.

The other part of the Solarventi is the control system. I was

explaining earlier that the box on the roof that draws air from

outside through the backplate, heats it up, passes it down

the shoot into the ensuite or the master bedroom. The last

part of the puzzle is actually the controls. The bottom control

here is a speed controller for the fan so you can slow the fan

down if you wish. It’s a solar-powered fan, so I just leave it on

full. The other part is the thermostat. It’s just a really simple

thermostat and when it hits the set temperature, the system

is going to change from pouring in heat to energising the

extraction fan. That’s it.

In the wintertime, we normally set it up to a reasonably high

temperature, so there’s no risk of it switching to cooling

mode. I really love the simplicity of this - it’s a beautiful thing.

Testing Ceiling


Before upgrading the ceiling insulation, we had to decide

how much to upgrade it and what to upgrade it with. Without

knowing very much about insulation products, we decided

to build a controlled heat chamber and we hired a cool

room. We built a simulated house and insulated it with all

the different bulk insulations and reflective installations and

basically tested how they performed in heat and in cold.

So the result was that polyester performed really, really well.

Not only that, but it was a nice product to work with. It is much

more pleasant than the fibreglass batts that we had in the

roof already. We went with a combination of the polyester

bulk insulation and reflective insulation. We’ll see that very

shortly. Before we did that, we actually took the existing R2.5

fibreglass batts from one end of the home and used them to

double up in the opposite end of the home so that we had R5

fibreglass batts.

So, one end of the home is end’s slightly smaller than the

other. We had enough extra installation to make good all the

gaps around the downlights that we now didn’t need to have

and doubled it all up. Effectively, we had about R5 down one

of the home. At the other end of the home, we used R3.5

polyester batts and pleated foil batts over the top. So with the

combination of those we found worked really well.

See Our Product Feature Section For Autex

Ceiling Insulation



One of the things that we did really early on was to improve

the ceiling insulation. Some years later, we did underfloor

insulation as well. Now, before we look at those in detail,

let’s talk a little bit about the structure of this home because

there are some things that are a little unusual and not found

in many other homes. So although we’re in a cathedral

ceiling here, the cathedral ceiling is not actually the roof as

is normally the case. So that cathedral ceiling is a structure

within the greater roof, and so there is actually crawl space

above the cathedral ceiling. The other thing is that although

we’re on a concrete slab, the concrete slab is on stumps.

So there is crawl space underneath the slab. So those two

things are really unusual features that you don’t normally find

in homes but have enabled us to insulate under the slab and

actually over the cathedral ceiling, as well.

See Our Product Feature Section For Autex

Ceiling Insulation

Attic - Insulate

The Manhole

We are just about to go up in the roof to have a look at things

up there. But before we do, I’d just like to point out that in our

case, we’ve got attic stairs, but nonetheless it’s a manhole.

And in your home, you might have a more regular size

manhole in the ceiling. Just remember it’s part of the ceiling,

so it needs to be insulated as well as the ceiling. 32 33

Smoke Alarm &

Insulated Hot

Water Pipes

to the tubes, and it comes back this way. So actually, I’m just

going to test the difference in the temperature here. Pretty hot.

Ouch, really hot. So, it is a sunny winter’s day outside. And so

those evacuated tubes are definitely working fantastically well.



one after the other, and glue them up under the galvanised

deck. We used water-based liquid nails to do that. They fitted

together just like a jigsaw puzzle, making little still air pockets,

which you need for reflective insulation to work properly. So

that’s what we did and it’s still there and working today.

Firstly, we decided to put a smoke alarm up here because

if there’s a fire that happens to get started in the roof, this

is likely to warn us a long time before a smoke alarm in the

house would do.

The other thing is the hot water system here. We’ve got a

low-pressure copper tank with 400 litres of very hot water. So,

this hot water pipe here is pretty well insulated. And this is the

return from the tubes on the roof. Down below here, we’ve

got the flow to the tubes on the roof. So it goes out that way

Because this house is a slab on stumps, it gave us the

opportunity to insulate under the concrete slab. It’s great

thermal mass but not a very good insulator. So normally under

a floor, you would use the polyester rolls between the joists,

which are fantastic. But under this floor is a galvanised tray

that was used to pour the slab on top. And so very difficult to

fit any kind of bulk installation to that.

So what we had to do was invent our own insulation and we

decided to use reflective insulation. So you can see here we’ve

got 15mm Foilboard cut into 600mm tiles and fitted with this

25mm border on two sides. What enabled us to lap them

See Our Product Feature Section For

R2.5 Underfloor Insulation


Insulating The

Cathedral Ceiling

We’re currently in the roof, looking over the cathedral ceiling.

And what we can see here is the original fibreglass bats laid

on black plastic over the cathedral ceiling, and then on top,

we’ve actually fitted R2.5 Underfloor Insulation Rolls that were

pulled across the cathedral ceiling. You can also see that

while the cathedral ceiling actually holds up the roof, it is not

the roof itself.

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Draft Stoppa

We are over the bathroom now, and specifically, we’re

looking over the exhaust fan. This is a Draft Stoppa that’s

fitted over the exhaust fan. It’s got two flaps that are pretty

carefully weighted. When the exhaust fan is on, they tip up

and the moist air comes out. When the exhaust fan switches

off, they just fall down. Now you can probably hear that

clickety-clack sound that they make. This is an old model.

The newer models have got little rubber bumpers on them

so that they don’t make that sound.

See Our Product Feature Section For

Draft Stoppa

draughtproofing-exhaust-fans-draftstoppa 34 35



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Awning or Casement


ecoMaster - Draught

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Draught Proofing

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Draught Seal

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Awning or Casement


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Maurice and Lyn would like to thank you for reading

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