The Russell Vale Reno House will be open for viewing this year on Sustainable House Day.

A renovated cottage located in Russell Vale NSW, the Russell Vale Reno House is one of 250 homes across Australia that will open their doors to anyone looking for inspiration and ideas for sustainable living.

Every year, the Sustainable House Day takes participants into some of Australia’s most environmentally progressive homes, and gives them a chance to study houses that have been designed, built or renovated with sustainability in mind.

This year, the Sustainable House Day is being organised on Sunday 15 September.

The Russell Vale Reno House

A renovation project designed by Envirotecture and built by BKB Constructions, the comfortable 160m² family home was transformed from the original weatherboard cottage to meet the specific needs of the client.

The client sought to address several problem areas including the lightweight structure, minimal insulation, small original rooms and a poorly designed asbestos addition to the rear while wanting to take advantage of the level block and great solar access. Sustainability was the core theme of the design brief with the family looking for a home that would require minimal mechanical heating and cooling.

While retaining the original veranda to connect the old with the new, the architects removed the unsympathetic aluminium windows, repaired the decking and added new cladding, high-performance insulation and appropriate membranes to the existing walls.

Internally, the linear dining, kitchen and living space draws winter sun and year-round daylight through a well-shaded, double-glazed stacking sliding door system. These doors also provide the indoor-outdoor connection so important to a family focused on outdoor living and food production.

The covered outdoor living space can be enjoyed in summer as well as winter, thanks to custom-designed summer shades fixed between the rafters.

Project highlights included phase change materials (PCM) incorporated into the building fabric to provide thermal storage with a lower embodied-carbon impact; and best-practice thermal and moisture control with breathable membranes and high-performance insulation on the walls and the floor as well as continuous insulation in the ceiling.

The plywood kitchen design by Paiano Kitchens features ply-lined seating as well as a recycled hardwood benchtop by Architectural Hardwood Joinery, which reinforces the linear nature of the space.

Photos by Petri Kurkaa