New Zealand’s RTA Studio was honored this weekend at the World Architecture Festival with the Future Projects – House prize for their carbon-neutral C3 House in Wanaka, New Zealand. This sustainable, rural single-family home impressed the judges and makes RTA Studio the first New Zealand firm to be honored at the festival since it began 5 years ago. This home is a prototype for a carbon-neutral house set on a very remote and complicated site, and RTA Studio pushed the project to meet stringent environmental regulations.
The C3 House is designed to be visually unobtrusive and environmentally sensitive. Designed to be a permanent single family residence for a family of four, the home will include a two-car garage, gym, 2 guest bedrooms, and two living areas. The home is integrated right into the landscape and outdoor living spaces help to allow the family to interact with the dynamic natural surroundings of this region of New Zealand.
The Longview Environmental Trust, the developer of the Emerald Bluffs subdivision where the C3 House is located, has developed a comprehensive tool to rate the sustainability of each home based on the specifics of the site in this Southern Lakes region of New Zealand. Not only did the project strive to meet the maximum score per the regulations of the Trust, but the house also is trying to achieve triple carbon-neutral status. This triple status includes zero carbon emissions for the operational energy use, the total material manufactured, and the waste at the end of its lifecycle.
The construction of the house is to include local stones in Gabion Baskets, local renewable timber, and rammed earth construction in order to limit the use of steel, cement and glass. These techniques help to keep the carbon used to make materials for the construction of the building to a zero. Construction techniques like rammed earth construction also helps to keep the energy consumption of the home to a minimum because of rammed earth’s highly efficient thermally insulated properties. The home will also use low energy lighting and appliances and electricity will be generated by photovoltaic cells. The hope is that at the end of the house’s life, the entire building can be recycled!