Award-winning Owl Woods one of only 20 Passivhaus homes in Australia
Australian architect Talina Edwards is the first female in Australia to complete a certified Passivhaus. Dubbed Owl Woods Passive House, the 200 sq m (2,153 sq ft) home is located in Trentham, approximately one hour's drive north of Melbourne. The family home is only one of 20 certified Passivhaus projects in Australia and boasts a design that is sustainable, functional and flexible.
“The Owl Woods Passive House is a unique blend of Biophilic Design and Passivhaus Standards of Construction,” says Talina Edwards Architecture. “[It's] a balance of creative design outcomes which focus on how the occupants will feel in their home, along with the integration of building science which delivers a high-performance home. In this aspect, it really is a pioneer project for Passivhaus homes in Australia.”
The Owl Woods' structure resembles a cluster of birdhouses and draws inspiration from its natural bushland surroundings. The home is built with locally sourced radial-sawn native timber and gray corrugated steel cladding; coupled with a lightweight timber-framed construction. Reclaimed timber is used for the home's decking and terraces; and recyclable steel sheeting for the roofing.
The modest dwelling achieves its Passivhaus status with an airtight building envelope; excellent insulation; strategically positioned thermally-insulated windows with high-performance double/triple glazing for natural light and good airflow; controlled ventilation; elimination of structural thermal bridges; and solar gain in winter with enough shading for the summer months.
Overall, the home is climate-responsive, comfortable, sustainable and energy-efficient. The gabled roofs incorporate north-facing "birds-beak" eaves to provide shade from the sun. In addition, the rooflines extend downwards on the western sides of the home, providing shelter from the hot Australian afternoon sun. The inclusion of external adjustable shutters and landscaping also helps keep the home cool throughout the day.
“To respond to the climate-crisis, we need to be designing buildings with a lower carbon-footprint, and Passivhaus projects can deliver on net-zero buildings due to their high-performance 'fabric-first' approach which ensures very low operational energy over the building’s lifetime,” says Talina Edwards Architecture. “The Passivhaus standards allow for stable indoor temperatures and a healthy indoor environment with low running costs.”
The Owl Woods' interior design has been kept modest and features a modern kitchen, open living and dining area, two bedrooms, a home office, a guest bedroom and a series of outdoor courtyard spaces. The floor-plan is designed to provide passive heating during the cooler months, which is achieved by positioning the living areas, bedrooms and bathroom zones towards the center of the home.
The home is solar ready, with the possibility to install rooftop photo-voltaic panels on the garage roof. Additional eco-features include Sanden Eco hot water heat pump; low flow shower heads; hot water re-circulation; drip irrigation; heat exchange ventilation system coupled with a split system air conditioner for active heating and cooling; and 37,000 liters (9,774 gallons) of above ground rainwater storage tanks.
The Owl Woods Passive House recently won the 2019 Architeam Sustainability Medal for its sustainability credentials.
“[The Owl Woods Passive House] raises the bar for what is achievable in Sustainable Architecture and home building,” said the judges. “This project is in line to be only the 5th (certified) Passivhaus single-detached home in Victoria. It is a project that demonstrates that the stringent requirements to achieve this certification can work in harmony with good design. The Owl Woods Passive House pavilions reach into the landscape and contain beautiful spaces that achieve a level of energy efficiency that all architects should aspire to in their work.”
Source: Talina Edwards Architecture