The House of Dyer that Lynda and John built
For many years, we lived in a house that was hot in summer and cold in
In winter, the sources of heating used at different times were heating oil,
electricity and natural gas. The house was draughty and poorly insulat-
ed, and so the energy that went into keeping the house warm all too
easily escaped from the house. This was not only expensive, but not
particularly nice to the environment, because of direct emissions when
burning heating oil and gas in the house and indirect emissions when
using electricity sourced from coal-fired power stations.
In summer, we just sweltered on the hottest days, using fans and a
small portable evaporative air conditioner to try to make things just a lit-
tle bit more comfortable.
We felt that something could be done, not only to make living in the
house more tolerable, with varying seasonal conditions, but also to re-
duce our carbon footprint in living in the house. Choices included reno-
vating the existing structure or rebuilding on the same site. We decided
against other options like moving elsewhere because we liked the loca-
tion, including proximity to public transport, local shops and other ser-
After weighing up some of the advantages and disadvantages of reno-
vating versus rebuilding, we decided to rebuild. We engaged the ser-
vices of architect Alan Morschel, who designed Ross Walker Lodge.
Features of the new house
The house has wide doors, minimal steps, and some grab rails,
with provision for installation of more as required.
• Modest size
The term “modest” is subjective, but, the smaller the space, the
less energy is required to maintain a comfortable environment in
There is insulation in the ceiling and walls, and underneath/around
the slab floor.
• Air tightness
The house is constructed to minimise gaps that could allow unin-
tended airflow into or out of the house.
Carbon Action Project
1 March 2020