Blackheath Strawbale House 2020

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Location
Blackheath NSW 2785
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Owner-builder
    • Designer
    • MKC building design

About Blackheath Strawbale House

Winner of 2017 National Design Award for sustainable design.

My straw bale and cob home is warm, welcoming, light, a little quirky, contemporary – and unique!

Designing your own home is a great adventure – I designed it to be an easy, comfortable family home and I love living here. My brief included that it should be sensitive to its native bush setting, and economical to build and to live in – both financially and in environmental terms.

Parts of the house are more artwork than building. Textures, timbers and natural materials make it tactile and smooth. Shapes and angles of curved walls and deep, rounded windowsills give it warmth; while nooks and lofts give it a playful aspect. It was all made by hand – by family, friends and skilled craftsmen and women using materials from the site or as local as possible.

In the harsh mountains climate, we are warm in winter thanks to plentiful on-site firewood and the grid-connected PV system, heat pumps and underfloor hydronic heating. In summer the wide eaves, thick strawbale walls and thermal mass of the slab and cob walls keep the house cool and comfortable. The house is energy-neutral over the year.

Designed by MKC building design.

Winner of the BDAA 2017 – Chris Reardon Memorial Award for Residential Sustainable Buildings.

Article written by Verity Campbell and professional photos taken by A Shot Above, Blackheath – see more and read the full article from Sanctuary Issue S44.

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SUSTAINABLE FEATURES

Years Open
2018
2019
2020
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENT FEATURES
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Passive solar designed home
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Ceiling fans
      Heat pump
      Hydronic
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Low flow shower heads
      Low flow taps
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 75,000L
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Blinds
SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED MATERIALS
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Timber framing from trees felled, cut and milled on-site. Site soil for cob, site rock for landscaping. On-site concrete made with site soil.
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Aggregate
      Tyres
INSULATION SPECIFICATIONS
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      Internal walls
      External walls
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Spray foam
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R4.0
    • Internal Walls Insulation Type:
    • Bulk – polyester
    • External Walls Type:
    • Straw (stawbale walls)
RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIFICATIONS
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Solar PV grid connect
    • Size of PV system:
    • 4.7kW
COSTS AND COST SAVINGS
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $450,000
HOUSE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
    • House Size
    • 300m2
    • 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
    • Cob construction
      Earthwall
      Strawbale
      Tyres

    • Wall Materials
    • Recycled tyres rammed with earth
    • Window and Door Types
    • Clerestory windows
      Double glazing
      Tilt and turn
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 4
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 3
GARDEN AND WASTE REDUCTION
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Composting
      Edible garden
      Native plants
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
HEALTHY HOME FEATURES
    • Healthy home features
    • Cross flow ventilation
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Lime render/wash
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes

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