Autumn in Jenny's Light House
Not everyone gets to experience how comfortable it is to live in a well designed home. Jenny, our resident scientist and director, loves collecting data and communicating science so she has multiple data loggers around her home recording temperature, humidity and ambient light levels.
Although her house sits on a tricky, narrow, north-to-the-street block it still makes good use of free heat from the sun during cooler months due to its clever, compact design. She's so confident about its thermal performance that the only heating installed in the home are two 600W infrared heater panels, one mounted on the ceiling in each bathroom. *Its important to note that Jenny's home is built using common construction methods and materials and uses a solar passive design approach which responds carefully to climate and site, not the more prescriptive Passivhaus approach.
As Autumn arrived in Canberra this week (with minimums of between 3.3 and 9.1 and maximums of 18.4 to 22.3) Jenny's house remained very comfortable with the main living areas and bedrooms (shown in green, blue and orange on the graph belows) fluctuating between 21 and 26 degrees. The southern bathroom (shown in black), unsurprisingly, is the coolest room in Jenny's house but it is still far from cold (so far). In the early hours of Tuesday April 4 when Bureau of Meteorology data shows the minimum temp got down to 5.7 degrees, Jenny left the bathroom window open and the temperature in the room only dropped to 18.5 degrees (you can see that point highlighted with a text box on the graphs below).
On that chilly morning she switched on the infrared heater panel for 20 min and it caused the temperature to quickly climb to 19.6 (see the peak after the 5:30am low). The subsequent, smaller peak that morning corresponds to a quick shower. The larger peaks, on other mornings, corresponds to slightly longer showers or two consecutive showers. Jenny says: "You should see the temperature peaks my teenagers can create in the other bathroom when I'm not knocking on the door reminding them to get out!"