Melbourne-based architectural firms The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects have joined forces to create what is claimed to be Australia's first 10-star carbon-positive home. The stunning 10 Star Home was built with a zero-waste philosophy and was designed to positively exceed its carbon footprint over the lifespan of the home, anticipating savings of 203 kg (507 lb) of carbon emissions per occupant per year.
"The 10 Star Home is Victoria's first home to have a 10 star energy rating," Nat Woods from the Sociable Weaver tells New Atlas. "We believe it also to be the first home in Australia that is 10 star, carbon positive and built to zero-waste and building biology philosophies – we like to call it the full sustainability package deal."
The 10 Star Home was designed and created as an example of how a sustainable home can still be modern, functional and beautiful. The 160-sqm (1,722-sq ft) home was built using traditional construction techniques and producing as little waste as possible, with only three bags of trash ending up in landfill. The "zero-waste" goal was achieved by asking suppliers to reduce packaging for materials delivered on site, while the rest was recycled or re-purposed. For example, plasterboard off-cuts were added to the garden bed.
"The home follows standard construction processes," says Woods. "We deliberately opted for processes and technology that are readily available in the market and affordable. We didn't want to design a home that required expensive technology or complex processes that not all builders are familiar with. All efforts were [also] taken to ensure as little waste to landfill was generated during construction."
The home features a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) hardwood clad exterior, polished industrial concrete floors with under slab insulation, passive solar design and a butterfly-shaped roof that offers high ceilings inside the home, maximum solar penetration for passive solar heating and cross-flow ventilation to heat and cool the home. Furthermore, the home includes 5 kW of solar panels on the roof, Sanden Heat Pump hot water service, 10,000-liter (2,642 gal) rainwater tank, double-glazed windows, LED lighting and non-toxic furnishings throughout. According to The Sociable Weaver the energy bill of the home is anticipated to be as little as AUD$3 (US$2.35) per year.
"Passive solar design maximizes solar penetration through large north-facing windows and thermal mass to trap heat during the day and then release it at night," says Woods. "We have used a new insulation technology called bio-Phase Change Material (bioPCM) which is installed in the walls and ceilings to trap and release heat. Even on a cold Victorian winter's day the home is still noticeably warm inside without the need for any mechanical heating."
The interior of the home features a large contemporary kitchen that overlooks the open plan living and dining areas. Large floor-to-ceiling glass windows take advantage of the beautiful coastal location and soft neutral colors help the home blend into its natural landscape. The rest of the home is complete with a sleek bathroom and simple open bedroom designs.
The architects chose to furnish the home with local and sustainable Australian products, including timber furniture made from reclaimed or sustainably-sourced wood, organic cotton mattresses and bedding, non-toxic cleaning products, air-purifying indoor plants, and right down to bamboo toothbrushes in the bathrooms. Furthermore, the interior finishes of the home have all been completed with non-toxic paints and finishes.
"We love the warm and welcoming feel that the home has," says Woods. "As soon as you step inside you feel relaxed and at peace – which is fantastic seeing as we use the home as our office!"
The 10 Star Home is priced at AUD$490,000 (approx. US$386,400) and the home is currently open to the public as a display home. The architects hope other builders and architects can take inspiration from the home's green design and use the home as a model for future projects.
"We also want to continue to push the boundaries of
sustainable building in Australia, encouraging all builders and
designers to think about simple ways that they can build homes that
are kinder to the planet," says Woods.
Sociable Weaver is currently preparing to build its next home in the
Mullum Creek eco-village development, which is anticipated to be complete by
Source: The Sociable Weaver