Renovate or Rebuild Episode 3 Recap: Enphase Microinverters and IQ Battery 5P

Would you renovate or rebuild an old, weathered beach shack? This is the question facing homeowners Greg and Suzanne in Episode 3 of Renovate or Rebuild.
Renovate or Rebuild Episode 3 Greg and Suzanne's beach shack

Episode 3 of Renovate or Rebuild began with James Treble transporting us to Flinders, VIC. On a large, narrow block near the coast was ‘The Shack’; Greg and Suzanne’s retirement home. This coastal home was the subject of the series’ ultimate question – should the homeowners renovate or rebuild? The Block favourites, Jesse and Mel, were on the case and presented incredible plans for rebuilding and renovating and gave Greg and Suzanne a tour of their own home. Jesse and Mel’s home featured Enphase technology: microinverters and the brand-new IQ Battery 5P.

Coastal living in Flinders, Victoria

Greg and Suzanne don’t actually live in their Flinders shack. Instead, their large caravan is where they sleep and The Shack serves as their living quarters. The small home was built decades earlier by a local and features asbestos walls, cladding, and roof. With one bedroom, the coastal property is far from ideal for housing the homeowners or any guests they wish to invite over. A victim of the elements, The Shack has shown lots of weathering that is typical of older coastal homes.

Looking for a solution, they had a budget of $700k – $800k to either renovate or rebuild. Greg wanted to retain the charm of the coastal shack, whilst Suzanne had her eyes set on something energy-efficient and sustainable. They both want to retain a sentimental slab of marble that was salvaged from a local pizza store. 

Greg and Suzanne’s wishlist

Greg and Suzanne compiled a list of must-haves for their home:

  • A new coastal home
  • Efficient, comfortable, and healthy home
  • Room for the caravan
  • Open-plan living with 3 bedrooms

Modular construction saving time and reducing the impact of the elements

Ashley Beaumont from Ecoliv was engaged as the architect to design the renovation or rebuild. Ecoliv is a modular construction company that manufactures homes in its large warehouses and transports them completed to their final location. 

Among modular home construction’s many benefits is that they are built away from the elements. This drastically reduces construction time as work continues rain, hail, or shine.

Enphase solution for smaller home footprint

Jesse contacted Roshan, the CEO of Energy Matters, to seek his advice for incorporating solar in a small home. Roshan ascertained that Greg and Suzanne are retirees with two dogs, therefore not requiring as much power as a larger family. He suggested that Jesse showcase his own home due to its similarity in size as well as the solar solution chosen.

Greg and Suzanne headed to Windsor, Victoria, to check out Jesse and Mel’s home. Renovated by Jesse and Mel, the small two-bedroom home exudes modern charm. Greg and Suzanne pointed out the herringbone wooden flooring and the modern look and feel. Greg was smitten with the built-in bar! But, above all, they were blown away by Jesse and Mel’s solar solution. The Windsor home could not have been less ideal as it is south-facing and with minimal roof space. The east and west-facing roof faces had 4kW of solar panels added and Enphase microinverters were utilised to maximise the sunlight available. Shading from nearby trees would render a traditional solar system mostly inert. Enphase microinverters ensure that each panel works independently, which means that shading on one panel will only impact that panel and not the whole system.

In addition, Jesse and Mel added the new Enphase IQ Battery 5P. The scalable battery features 5kWh of usable energy. With no moving parts or fans, the battery is whisper-quiet. As it was installed near bedrooms, the low noise was essential for Jesse and Mel’s family.

With Victoria’s famous blackouts, battery backup is quickly becoming an indispensable addition to homes. The Enphase IQ Battery 5P provides seamless blackout protection.

Energy-efficient homes with energy-efficient products

Looking for design and product inspiration, James Treble took a tour of an incredible home in Warragul, VIC, built by Allchin Builders. This home is located in the hot and dry region of Gippsland and relies heavily on passive cooling and heating. Bondor Luxewall was chosen for the exterior cladding. This lightweight pre-finished cladding is easy to install and provides fantastic insulation and fire protection. The home achieved a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of 12.5, which is incredibly important in the bushfire-prone region.

Jesse and Mel took a trip to a coastal home constructed by Michael Limb Builders. This home was built with the coastal elements in mind. Everything from the paint to timber choices was carefully considered to ensure that the home would stand up to the relentless conditions. Ultimate Windows’ Deceuninck uPVC windows and sliding doors were chosen for their insulation properties. The sliding doors feature a handle that engages the rollers for the doors to slide open and then seals the door airtight when closed.

Fanco exhausts were discussed to draw out humidity that builds up in the home. Available in modern designs and colours, the exhaust fans emit minimal noise and help to remove dampness and thoroughly ventilate the home. 

Sustainability expert, Jeffrey Robinson, suggested that an ATTMA pressure test be conducted on the home, once constructed, to locate drafts and ensure that the correct pressure and airflow are achieved in the home. 

Renovate or rebuild?

Big Plans Melbourne was the location of the reveal of the renovation and rebuild plans. The first cab off the rank was Mel, with her plans for a rebuild. Her plans consisted of a modular home by Ecoliv. The home would be split into sleeping and living quarters, with an internal courtyard connecting the two. Meeting the brief was the inclusion of a large undercover carport for the caravan.

The home would be finished with a small solar system and zoning for heating and cooling. With an expected 16 to 18-week build time, the home would be delivered quickly and with a 7 star energy rating. The expected cost to rebuild would be $850,000.

Finally, Jesse revealed his plans for a renovation. The shack would be converted into a grand master suite and their beloved deck restored. Two modules would be added to the home, vastly increasing the footprint on the block of land. Where a larger solar system would be added, a carport was left out of the plans due to reduced space.

The home would achieve a slightly lower energy rating of 6.9 stars and come in at a whopping $1,050,000.

What did Greg and Suzanne choose?

After much consideration, and factoring in their budget and needs, Greg and Suzanne chose to rebuild! This was much to the pleasure of Mel, who had won a month of dinners thanks to an agreement with Jesse. Would you have chosen to renovate or rebuild?

Tune in next Saturday, the 23rd of March, at 3:30pm to see the big rebuild reveal! You can catch Renovate or Rebuild on Channel 9, or reruns on Channel 9Life.

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