An All-Electrical Dream Residence That Feels Like A Hidden Bushland Retreat

For Oanh and Justin Harding, there was by no means any query that their dream household house in Blackburn was going to be sustainable.

As a sustainable vitality skilled, Justin has at all times been enthusiastic about utilizing know-how to scale back environmental impression, and Oanh knew {that a} greener house would value much less to run, whereas the next diploma of consolation and longevity. It was nearly a no brainer.

Including to their resolve, was the couple’s expertise dwelling collectively of their first house – a ‘typical, uninsulated and draughty Fifties weatherboard,’ which that they had tried to chip away at to enhance. So, once they lastly discovered the proper website proper on the fringe of the bushland park operating alongside Gardiner’s Creek, they have been excited to ‘do issues proper’ from the start.

With award-winning follow Clare Cousins Architects driving the venture, this all-electric house was constructed from scratch in simply 9 months. Passive design rules and pure supplies have made the residence one thing that’s simply as comfy as it’s particular — like a ‘hidden bushland retreat inside the suburbs’.

What was the very first thing you tackled within the construct?

Discovering the correct architect was the primary crucial step, and after assembly with just a few, we have been fortunate sufficient to seek out Clare Cousins. It was clear that we shared widespread floor for the rules of how a house ought to work. CCA creates lovely, purposeful designs and have been additionally totally on board with our intent for the house to have a excessive sustainability efficiency, with a design that was value environment friendly.

What challenges did you face? Had been there any surprising surprises? 

Constructing with easy sustainable rules was considerably of a problem, with most builders and subcontractors not overly excited about breaking from conventional strategies. Scoping something barely exterior the norm appeared like an enormous ask.

What supplies have you ever used for the construct and why?

We have been eager for a timber-based development to slot in with the pure environment and scale back reliance on manufactured merchandise. Exterior timber cladding of Australian hardwood was left unfinished to allow a pure weathering and keep away from the necessity for normal re-finishing and upkeep. Internally we used lots of hardwood timber for flooring and ceiling cladding and pure stone for benchtops, splashback and vanities.

How tough was it to create an all-electric house?

There was a gasoline provide to the house initially, however we had this decommissioned which was surprisingly satisfying. We additionally had the ability provide upgraded from single-phase to three-phase to ensure we had sufficient capability for the all-electric house, giant 12kW energy system and charging for 2 electrical vehicles.

Did the inclusion of sustainable parts impression the funds for the construct in any respect? 

As a lot as potential we tried to make use of available supplies and approaches to minimise value impression. We weren’t making an attempt to showcase novel new applied sciences, however depend on considerate design from each the architect, sustainability recommendation and principally ourselves to attain passive photo voltaic and  sustainability efficiency inside established development strategies. Sustainable applied sciences typically value extra upfront however generate financial savings over time via decrease operating prices. In our case this included options just like the high-performance insulation, electrical heat-pump hydronic heating system, heat-pump scorching water system, warmth restoration air flow, plumbed rainwater tanks and photo voltaic PV.

Had been there sustainable parts you needed to incorporate, however couldn’t? 

Ideally we’d have elevated the air-tightness of the house to fulfill or close to Passive Haus requirements, nonetheless this was nonetheless a really new idea on the time and would have pushed up prices considerably. A battery storage system was additionally on the wishlist however didn’t match the funds initially. We hope to put in one within the subsequent few years.

What do you’re keen on most about your house?

It’s onerous to select one factor, however the mixture of lovely aesthetic, purposeful design, consolation ranges and low operating prices is tough to beat. Transferring round the home is a straightforward pleasure, simply because it’s so lovely, comfy and so linked to the outside. Even strolling the lengthy hall from one finish of the home to the opposite is a surprisingly beautiful expertise.

How do you discover dwelling with passive photo voltaic heating? 

The photo voltaic passive parts of the design make an ideal distinction to the texture of the house. On cool days, any sunshine brings loads of heat into all dwelling areas through the array of north going through home windows. In summer season, it’s nice to open up the entire home for cross-ventilation on the finish of the day. Good passive photo voltaic design undoubtedly implies that your heating and cooling doesn’t have to run as onerous or as typically. Even on the coldest nights in winter when its zero levels exterior, to take care of your complete home at 20deg takes solely 2kW. That’s lower than a single fan heater.

One fascinating distinction in comparison with our earlier house is that we regularly get shocked once we step exterior, because the temperature is so even and comfy indoors, that we don’t realise when the climate has actually cooled off or heated up exterior. The 2 most important tangible variations of dwelling in a sustainable house are the elevated consolation and lowered utility payments. An intangible however nonetheless actual profit is understanding that we’re having much less impression on the planet’s sources.

What has been an necessary lesson you’ve learnt throughout this course of?

Despite the fact that sustainability is changing into extra widespread as an goal for brand spanking new houses, the development trade continues to be lagging behind. Many instances we discovered ourselves pushing again in opposition to issues, and it was clear that this may take a number of extra years to resolve. For others which might be planning on a sustainable house, be ready to stay to your weapons, will probably be value it!

Story in partnership with Momentum Power. Momentum Power are owned by Australia’s largest renewable vitality generator and provide accredited GreenPower. Signal as much as one in every of Australia’s greenest energy corporations.