Understanding the house

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While endeavouring to improve the sustainability of our house, it’s proven useful to build an understanding of every aspect of how the house is put together.

As we’ve had things fixed by our do-all tradesman Wilhelm, I’ve been working alongside him. Now I need to highlight that I have absolutely no handyman skills at all, and have struggled to hammer in a nail in the past. Nonetheless, I’ve been able to provide a second pair (of unskilled) hands, helping to speed up jobs, reduce the cost, as well as allowing me to see what’s done.

This has meant working under the floor to remove old building rubble (to remove hiding places for rodents, etc). It’s meant helping to nail insulation up in the roof.

This has led to a number of observations:

  • It’s very cool under the floor. When we extend the house, can we put in place a wine cellar or “root cellar”? Can we make use of the cool air to ventilate our pantry, or maybe even the whole house?
  • It’s very hot up in the roof. We’re putting in place reflective foil to reduce the amount of heat getting into the roof space, but once it’s in there it’s trapped. Can we do something to get the heat out?

Too often, houses can be a mystery, with hidden corners and spaces. Before making any major changes, it’s worthwhile exploring these spaces to understand how the house ticks.