Harry Passive House 2023

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House Notes – Harry Passive House

We founded Altereco Design with a mission; to create some of the most resilient, healthy and liveable homes in Victoria. In 2019 we became Passive House certified and when the opportunity presented itself for us to design our own home, it was a no brainer to aim for this standard.

Our site had never been built on, and was home to numerous Messmate Stringybark trees, Golden Wattles and Giant Honey Myrtles. We were able to identify the ideal balance by maintaining some of the best trees on the block ensuring the building didn’t encroach into their structural root zones. Meaning we didn’t jeopardise the native context whilst also meeting stringent bushfire safety requirements.

It was also important for us to demonstrate how we can design a functional, flexible, liveable and uncompromising home with a modest footprint. Our house is 138m2.

Nino Sydney’s Beachcomber was our primary inspo, applying a conscious nod to the original beach house on stilts of the 1960’s. Of which there are still relics in Anglesea.

Whilst initially striving for Passive House classification, our PHPP calculations achieved Passive House Low Energy, as our heat load was predicted at 17kWh, (slightly above the 15kWh as required to meet PH standard). In the end, our priorities for demonstrating that a net-zero outcome can be achieved by utilising good carpentry techniques, local suppliers, and as such of greater importance than meeting PH classic. We are comforted in knowing that this house will perform in the top 1-2% of the houses in Australia.

We acted as Owner Builder for this project and did a lot of the labour ourselves, such as timber oiling, insulation and the internal airtight membrane. Our unique insights can talk to this experience from the designer, builder and also clients perspective.

We have only had the aircon on once this summer during a 34C degree day. The thermostat was set to 24C. Our solar panels produced 33.6kWh (of which 29.7kWh got exported to the grid). The total household consumption on that day was 4.8kWh.


Years Open
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Split system airconditioner
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 135
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 5000L x 3 tanks
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Deciduous tree/vegetation
      Honeycomb blinds

    • Window Protection:
    • No west facing glazing to exposed sun. High ratio of n facing glazing with calculated eave protection
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Shading battens
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Continuous wood fibre insulation around walls and roof. Continuous class 4 vapour permeable membrane to roof, walls and elevated floors. Airtight construction <0.6ACH
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Basins/sinks
      Light fixtures / fittings

    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Internal walls
      External walls
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Floor Type:
    • Pink Batts made from 80% recycled content. Studio Floor Assembly: 100mm XPS on the floor, Intello for the wall to our garage and solar gain through the Binq lift-slide doors, tilt & turn windows, with Quantum Aquaoil Clear (low tox, water based wood preservative for inside and out)
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Wood fibre insulation
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • A total 'true R value' of R8 (after factoring the conductive reduction from the solid timber
    • Internal Walls Insulation Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R4.0
    • External Walls Type:
    • Wall Assembly: 40mm Wood Fibre + 140mm batt
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Solar PV grid connect
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $820,000
    • Cost estimate of sustainable home/features:
    • $150,000
    • House Size
    • 138m2
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 29kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Colorbond)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)

    • Wall Materials
    • 140mm timber frame with 40mm continuous Woodfibre insulation
    • Window and Door Types
    • Double glazing
      Sliding windows/doors
      Tilt and turn
      Triple glazing
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
      Universal access
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Contrasting colours and material for vision impaired
      Flush thresholds (no lip) to all external doors
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Minimum 110cm wide hallways
      No stairs/steps
      No Corner cupboards
      Pull out shelving easily accessible in wheelchairs
      Slip resistant flooring
      Strong fittings like towel rails that can be used as hand rails
      Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
      Window openings easily accessible
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 3
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 2
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Composting
      Edible garden
      Local indigenous plants
      Native plants
      Wicking beds
      Worm farm
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
      Take own containers to the supermarket and for take away food
    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Automated ventilation system
      Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Cross flow ventilation
      Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes
      VOC free paints/sealer/varnish
Anglesea VIC 3230
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • James Goodlet
    • Designer
    • Altereco Design

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