Many sites have limited solar access and are often written-off as unsuitable for a low-energy high-comfort house. This should not be the case. This site in Neutral Bay, like many urban sites, had significant shading to the north, but we took advantage of one ‘window’ of north sun at ground level and then ‘borrowed’ the rest from solar collectors on the roof.
This house replaced a burnt-out bungalow, but we wanted the new house to reference the old one. The clients wanted a house that was self-sufficient in its water and electricity use, and one that was beautifully detailed. It has a 5kW PV system providing power to all electrical systems.
The old bungalow was deconstructed, not demolished. The face bricks were recycled from the original bungalow, and most of the common bricks were saved and reused in the ground-floor structure, then rendered. All brick cavity walls were insulated. The first floor is lightweight, using a rendered foam cladding system, which also provides part of the insulation. Some of the passive solar heating is captured in the concrete slab that is made accessible to the sun through the deep north-facing courtyard. The remainder of the northern aspect is shaded by a neighbouring building, and so solar hydronic heating is embedded in the slab. The double-glazed windows keep the heat in winter and, combined with effective shading, also keep it out in summer.
The Ritek roof, with an additional layer of Aircell insulation beneath (concealed above the raked ceilings), provides highly effective insulation (approx R6.5) whilst allowing large, unobstructed spans, opening up the living and dining space significantly and making the most of the sweeping city views. A cast concrete tank beneath the rear terrace captures all roof rainwater, providing use for all but drinking water.
Custom-designed guttering and fascia profiles, insulated concrete slab floor, post-less corner sliding doors and cleverly designed bulkhead LED lighting are just some of the finer details that enable the owners to enjoy this extremely comfortable, functional and beautiful home throughout all seasons.
Designed by Envirotecture and built by Allworks.