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    Can you compete with a carbon positive prefab home?

    Nathan Johnson

    Building designers will soon have to compete with a prefab modular home market that is growing in variety, cost effectiveness and environmental merit.

    One Victorian architect and builder duo named ArchiBlox even offers clients a 77sqm carbon-positive one bedroom home that comes equipped and ready for living, and can be built in 12 weeks.

    A Carbon Positive House (CPH) will cost the buyer $260,000, and in an Australian first for prefab, will rely on a combination of cost-effective and high performing materials and passive design elements to provide a home that produces more energy than it uses.

    Following a Life Cycle Assessment of the house which took into consideration the carbon emissions of the materials’ manufacture and transport, building material, building maintenance and building operations, the project achieved a Platinum Certification by eTool.

    ArchiBlox says that CPH will emit 1,016 tCO2e less than  standard buildings providing the same functionality which is equivalent to:

    • 6095 native trees planted
    • 267 cars taken off the road
    • 135 zero energy Australian homes for one year
    • 31,000.000 balloons of CO2 gas removed from the atmosphere

    Materials:

    Click to enlarge sectional drawing.

    The house is planned to be built into an earth berm that runs up the back of the house and over the top of the building, forming a green roof for added thermal insulation. It is oriented to the north and segmented into two areas: an interior living space, and an outdoor “Green Room” that serves as a thermal buffer for the interiors.

    Insulation plays a large role in the building’s performance and is complimented by a tightly sealed envelope. R6 Earthwool Insulated Batts are used in the suspended floor and ceiling which are lined by FSC EO Hoop Pine ply and 16mm UBIQ panel flooring.

    Double glazed timber framed windows and doors in the northern fa├žade provide the space for sunlight penetration and come from Glassworks and Elite Windows and Doors.  An edible garden wall is also oriented to allow sunlight to pass through the windows in winter while blocking it in summer. 

    The all-important energy for CPH comes from the 5kW Solar PV Power system which is nestled among the plants in the green roof. A solar evacuated hot water system is also situated on the roof and provides for the home’s bathroom and kitchen.

    Another inclusion is the underground cool tubes which take air from the outside, through the earth for cooling and into the home’s interiors. 

    Images: ArchiBlox

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