This seemingly small, shingle-covered home in Melbourne, Australia may not look like a sustainable powerhouse, but in reality it is generating 100kwh of energy per day with a 26kwh Tesla battery. This number stands out compared to the 19kwh of energy the average Australian house uses per day.
Known as the Garden House, the modern abode has an impressive set of sustainability features. In addition to its 17kW solar panels that face north, east and west to maximize solar output throughout the day, it also boasts a 15,000-liter rainwater tank stored under the garage for use in the toilets and to irrigate the garden.
The goal was to create a self-sustaining, modern home that didn’t feel big yet could accommodate a family of five. According to the clients, the architects were able to make this dream a reality. “Our home doesn’t feel too huge, it feels homely and cosy,” said the owners. “It’s like a little eco system, the more people the more sense it makes. It’s a multitasking house, doing four things at the same time. There’s logical space for it and it all works.”
This was achieved by breaking up the bulk of the house into four smaller zones: an office, a kitchen/living room, a dining area and a kids’ area, each connected through mirrored glass links or bridges. Since the glass reflects its lush surroundings, the result is a cozy space that maintains a cohesive style. According to the designers, the clients wanted to keep as much of the plot’s existing greenery as possible, so they could enjoy the garden feel right when they moved in.
The home also includes underfloor insulation, hydronic heating and double glazed windows with thermally broken aluminum frames. Such features allow the house to operate without gas or fossil fuels. For materials, the designers opted for recycled brick and 50% fly-ash content cement to lower emissions. The home has since won accolades from the Victorian Institute of Architects Awards. Austin Maynard Architects also dubbed the project its “most sustainable house so far.”
Images via Austin Maynard Architects