Will and Jennie Croxford have taken a more minimal approach to heating in their tiny 30 m² home in Wanaka on New Zealand's South Island. Even though the area is known for its sub-zero temperatures overnight and winter maximums of 10 °C, they decided that good design and a small footprint should mean that most of their heating needs would be covered by the passive solar features of the house.
They were originally going to install a Daikin Nexura at a cost of around NZ$3500 plus installation. Instead, they decided to use a portable three-bar radiant heater to see if that would provide enough heat without costing them too much to run.
Coming into their first winter in the house, they've been very pleased with their decision. Their house has been perfectly warm and the cost to heat it has been minimal.
The heater is a Goldair 2400W GIR300 with three 800W bars. They turn on all three bars for an hour during their 'free hour of power' (an hour each day during off-peak periods when their energy retailer provides them with free power.
In addition, they typically use it on one bar for 30 minutes in the early morning and two or three hours in the evening. Their average daily electricity use for heating in autumn/winter has come to around 4.5 to 5.5kWh-2.4kWh of 'free power' and 2 to 3kWh paid-which costs them less than a dollar a day.
On very cold cloudy days, they use the heating more, but on sunny winter days they use less. With that amount of heating, combined with the house's passive solar features, temperatures inside remain comfortable even when the outside temperature goes down to -5°C overnight and when daytime temperatures range from 1°C to 10 °C.
The heater cost just $50 to buy so they're very happy with that alongside the $1 per day running costs. They like the type of heat as well. It's radiant heat, "which is nice to sit near in winter," says Will.