Sustainable House: Southern Highlands

When complete, this home in the Southern Highlands of NSW for two environmental scientists will be one of the greenest and most sustainable homes in Australia.

Our Eco Prefab 1 project at Macarthur Gardens is being re-imagined as an off the grid house in the Southern Highlands. The precast concrete elements have been dismantled, the doors, windows and structural steel beams salvaged and moved to the new site ready for re-assembly. 

Originally designed as a commercial gallery space, the relationship between the two pavilions has been adjusted in response to site conditions whilst also creating a sheltered courtyard and large storage / wet area / circulation zone that spans between them. The internal organisation has been adjusted to convert gallery to home and to accommodate the needs of a young family.

A lightweight external skin of charred cedar (a Japanese technique called Shou-sugi-ban ) creates a cavity for insulation and means the exquisite off-form precast concrete can be enjoyed as the finished internal surfaces of floor, wall and ceiling throughout whilst utilising the comfort and sustainable benefits of high thermal mass where you need it - internally.

60,000 litre water storage, 4KW photovoltaic (PV), wind turbine and composting toilets allow the project to function off the grid.

Sustainable Design Features Include:
-85% salvaged and recycled floors, walls and roof elements (from Eco Prefab 1)
-85% salvaged and recycled steel sub-floor structure (from Eco Prefab 1)
-70% of doors and windows salvaged and recycled (from Eco Prefab 1).
-additional doors and windows Class 1 recycled Australian hardwood
-external light-weight charred cedar cladding with very high thermal mass internally
-4KW solar
-1KW wind turbine
-60,000L water storage for re-use internally and externally
-grey water treatment
-composting toilets
-solar hot water heating
-high thermal mass internally
-high thermal insulation
-intelligent solar design response expressed clearly in it’s north, south, east and west facades and cross ventilation
-energy efficient appliances and water saving devices
-on site food production

Images: Ian Tatton