With an estimated energy cost of only $2.35 per year and an anticipated savings of 507 pounds of carbon emissions per occupant, Australian architectural firms The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousins Architects have created a luxurious, cost-effective, yet modern 10-star sustainable home. This is Australia’s first 10-star carbon positive home and judging from the ending list of features, it’s rather impressive. iReviews has covered the recent uptick in smart homes extensively (Bert’s Box, The Coodo modular home, the solar-powered Koda micro home, and The Kasita Home) but none have been branded with a 10-Star rating.
“The 10-Star home is Victoria’s first home to have a 10-Star energy rating,” Nat Woods from the Sociable Weaver told New Atlas. “We believe it also to be the first home in Australia that is 10-Star, carbon positive and built to zero-waste and building biology philosophies – we like to call it the full sustainable package deal.”
The Fully Sustainable Package Deal
The fully sustainable package deal includes a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) hardwood clad exterior, industrial concrete flooring with under slab insulation, passive solar design features, a butterfly-shaped roof equipped with 5 kW of solar panels, and super high interior ceilings – all to maximize solar penetration. The 1,722-sq ft home was built using conventional construction methods but all subcontractors were required to limit waste during the building process. The end result: only three bags of landfill trash from the project. Unprecedented.
“The home follows standard construction processes,” says Woods. “We deliberately opted for processes and technology that are readily available in the market and affordable. We didn’t want to design a home that requires expensive technology or complex processes that not all builders are familiar with. All efforts were taken to ensure as little waste to landfill was generated during construction.”
10-Star Home Features
Both The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousins Architects had a clear-cut mission: design a home that will exceed its carbon footprint over its lifetime and make it aesthetically pleasing. Proving, once again, that eco-friendly does not mean compromising on the integration of beautiful, yet functional design elements. This is especially true when you consider the built-in 10,000 liters (2,642 gallons) rainwater tank, the double-glazed windows, LED lighting throughout, and the strategically placed non-toxic furnishings. The home is the perfect balance between rustic and modern without going too overboard with eco-friendly everything.
“Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modeling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Social Weaver. This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9,553 trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”
What would a carbon-positive home be without solar power? “The passive solar design maximizes solar penetration through the long north-facing window and thermal mass to trap heat during the day and then release it at night,” says Woods. “We have used a new insulation technology called Bio-phase Change Material (bioPCM) which is installed in the walls and ceilings to trap and release heat. Even on a cold Victorian’s winter’s day, the home is still noticeably warm inside without the need for any mechanical heating.”
The Mission: To Revolutionize Green Design
The interior of the 10-Star home features a large open kitchen/living room/dining layout which brings the outdoors inside the home. There is plenty of room for hosting guests, especially when you consider the floor to ceiling glass windows which always add a more open feel to interior spaces. From timber furniture made with reclaimed/sustainable-sourced wood to organic cotton mattresses/bedding, occupants get to experience eco-friendly amenities in each room of the house. With the goal of keeping indoor pollutants at bay, the 10-Star home comes with air-purifying indoor plants and is finished with non-toxic paints.
“We love the warm and welcoming feel the home has,” says Woods. “As soon as you step inside you feel relaxed and at peace – which is fantastic seeing as we use the home as our office.”
Future Green Design Plan of Attack
Australia’s first 10-Star carbon-positive home is priced at $386,400 (AUD 490,000). Next up on the docket for Sociable Weaver: building a home in the Mullum Creek eco-village development “sometime in 2018”. In the meantime, the goal is to revolutionize green design. “We want to continue to push the boundaries of sustainable building in Australia, encouraging all builders and designers to think about simple ways that they can build homes that are kinder to the planet,” says Woods.
About The Sociable Weaver
The Sociable Weaver is a design and building company that creates healthy, sustainable, community-minded, functional homes. Our thoughtfully designed houses encourage connection to nature, to community, to family, to friends and to ourselves.