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This is a demonstration building converted from a metal shed to meet the passive house standard for a retrofitted building. We wanted to show that any existing structure can be transformed to a thermally comfortable, clean, sunny, and healthy building, where virtually no heating or cooling is required, without needing to build a new house. It provides a public location to view how to build a passive house and to provide the sensory experience of inhabiting a passive house space.
There are none of the typical problems of a normal house. There are no air leaks, it is super insulated to prevent heat losses and gains, has 100% fresh air using heat recovery to help maintain a comfortable temperature, with no mould or condensation on any surface, and is dust and insect free. Any emissions from materials, food, or humans are continually exhausted. A tiny backup reverse cycle air conditioner (1.5kW consumption) is sufficient to deal with any extreme conditions such as a heat wave or large numbers of visitors.
As much as possible, materials have been reused from other buildings, such as 80-year-old roofing sheets used for an external wall, the kitchen cabinets, timber decking used as a wall cladding, and some double-glazed windows from a demolition site. We have built some items ourselves such as the concrete benchtop decorated using found objects.
The second function of the Low Energy Super Shed is to be the tea-room, workshop space and meeting room for Canberra City Farm. Woden SEE Change will later use the building for training interested groups on low energy housing practices and training in passive house building techniques.
LESS was initiated by Woden SEE-Change and with support from the ACT Government, private businesses, community groups and private donors.
Come and see the result.