We are in the process of building an energy efficient house which is in the style of the traditional Australian farm house, veranda all around, taking the most advantage of the views. Initially the house will be used for holiday rental, and will appeal particularly to those who are interested in principles of energy efficiency and sustainability, environmental land management practices, located within a working cattle farm.
The design takes in the long term liveability and provides full access with walkways and ramps from the carport around and into the house. There will be a ‘wet’ bathroom, wider hallways and doorways with all light/power switches and windows heights suitable for persons in a wheelchair.
We started the concept and design of the house some time ago with an understanding the design will be a combination of compromises in relation to its position, the view, energy efficiency, usability and costs. With that in mind we started off with some basic ideas to work from:
- House to be in the style of the traditional Australian outback home, high roof, high ceilings and veranda all around.
- Lightweight construction.
- The house position and orientation to take benefit of the views.
- House will aim for high energy efficiency.
- Outside living areas to encourage outside use all year round.
- No services are currently available to the house site. House will be water and sewerage stand alone. Possibility of connecting to the grid.
- Internals and externals of the house are to be fully accessible
These ideas are somewhat different to many of the modern house designs we have visited of late which tend to have broad window banks with big views which allow access to the outside. This is more the ‘hat up’ concept where we always wear our ‘hat down’ to protect from the sun. With the ever-increasing longer periods of hot weather, we wanted to use shade to protect the house during these times. We feel in our climate it is easier to get and keep a house warm during the cold periods than it is to keep the house and oneself cool during the heat.
The veranda all around also allows for outside sitting and leisure no matter which way the sun, or the wind comes from during the year.
All the windows will be double glazed and to increase the overall efficiency the frames are made of western red cedar with an outside skin of aluminium to reduce weathering and maintenance. It is understood that this design leaves the western side of the house with quite a bit of exposed glass to the heat of the sun. To counter this, outside blinds will be attached to the posts of the veranda which will effectively reduce the summer western setting sun. The northern windows only allow the winter sun to touch the glass which is intended to increase the thermal gain during winter. We are also looking at having Low E coating on the glass with different coatings and surfaces depending on the direction of the window. The coating will assist in better efficiency for each window as to whether it is to let in winter sunlight or repel summer sun. We are also looking at the various coating types so that they provide the added efficiency but do not result in a milky/hazing affect when hit by direct sunlight.
The start of the build has been delayed due to a number of factors but as of early August 2019 the final design, approvals have been done and now for the builders costing before off to the bank, again. So all getting closer!
Updated 19 Aug 2019