As sustainability was at the core of this project, it was important to design the home without significantly increasing its overall original footprint and impacting on the existing Blackbutt trees on the site.

The house is home to a family who wanted a place that allowed them to remain connected to the bush environment they had been living in, while creating a new house that had a low environmental impact and allowed them to live in a sustainable way.

Your abode adopted an integrated approach of utilising sustainable systems and technologies with sound passive design strategies.

The design features two linked pavilions with the carbon footprint of the new house being assessed as having a 54 per cent saving as compared to an equivalent ‘standard’ house. Importantly, the existing house was de-constructed and substantially recycled.

Solar access and passive solar performance was a key factor required for the house, and proved challenging to achieve due to the ideal orientation being limited by the constraints of the site (wooded areas and sandstone outcrops).

Key initiatives:

  • 24,000 litres of rainwater harvesting stored in 4 x 6000 litre rainwater tanks makes the house self-sufficient for all water. All potable water comes from the 24,000 litres of harvested rainwater
  • 3kW photo voltaic system substantially meets the energy needs of the occupants
  • Hot water for the house is provided by a gas boosted evacuated tube solar hot water heating system
  • The house only relies on natural ventilation for cooling, no air conditioning system has been installed. Air movement is provided by ceiling fans
  • The stair way of the house functions as a thermal chimney, helping to cool the house in summer
  • Significant eave overhangs and operable external venetian blinds provide shading to windows during the hotter months
  • A gas hydronic heating system is used for supplementary heating requirements
  • Low E high performance glass used in all windows and glazed doors
  • Highly insulated building envelope, ie, walls, roof, ceiling and floor
  • The house makes extensive use of recycled timbers in the external cladding, internal flooring, stair treads and door frames and architraves
  • Low and Zero VOC paints and finishes have been used throughout the house
  • The previous house was deconstructed and approx. 80% recycled. This is a combination of recycling demolition materials and the retention of a large portion of the existing house
  • The landscaping works make use of low water usage, sustainable native plants including a vegetable garden and sandstone retaining walls from materials found on site
  • Low energy LED lighting used throughout the house as well as energy efficient appliances
  • Low water flow tapware and toilet suits used
  • Ecoverta water diversion devices were installed in the bathrooms to recycle the dead water from hot water pipework back to the rainwater storage tanks
  • The new house remained within the existing footprint of the existing house, so there was minimal site disturbance
  • Efficient construction site practices meant that waste was minimised throughout the construction phase

Photography by Thomas Kayser