Our client’s vision was very much the inclusion of exposed rammed earth with Trevor’s ambition being the performance of the building.
The client brief expressed that use of Rammed Earth should be evident in every facet of the home. It is not a great performer when it comes to heat loss and gain so this was a main challenge to overcome in the design. We combatted this in part by creating light weight framed components of the building that were highly insulated. This enables areas of the building to be self regulating in temperature control.
Rammed earth walls have an extremely high thermal mass and acoustic performance, allowing them to stay cool all day long and minimize sound transfer. Large north and east-facing windows bring light into the entry void, which doubles as the circulation core for the home. The living areas face onto the north courtyard which is a mix of native plants and a poured liquid limestone that matches the rammed earth walls and avoids heat retention.
Wanting to have a relaxing retirement, our clients wanted a home that was smaller and had lower maintenance needs than their previous property.
To do this, we reduced the number of rooms, designed a smaller yard and included an elevator to the second storey for ease of access as they age. Materials were chosen to suit the client’s preferences and encourage a sustainable way of living.
Sustainability initiatives were a key driver for our clients, which led them to install an array of systems to minimise their ongoing resource consumption. All roofs have a rainwater capture system that is plumbed back into the house via a 55,000 litre underground water tank in the driveway, with a mains connection switchover should it ever run dry. A 6.6kwh solar system is installed at the optimum angle on the north facing roof with a Tesla battery storage.
The option to resell their solar power to the grid means their power bill is less than a $1 a day, even throughout the height of summer or winter. A ducted a/c can be used on the hottest and coldest days during daylight hours without consumption of coal fire grid power.
The entryway holds two electric skylights at the highest point of the sloped ceiling which can be opened and closed on a schedule, drawing out the rising hot air and allowing the afternoon breeze to easily travel through the house.
This is further complimented by sashless windows throughout the home, that enable maximum airflow. Underfloor heating with a low power draw is installed in the core areas of the ground floor and the upstairs bathrooms. This will draw on solar power during cooler months to automatically maintain the core temperature of the home.
Using Bernoulli’s principle, the same air flow principle used in the design of sailing boats allowing them to sail at three times the wind speed. In this application the principle was utilised to accelerate air through the home when the skylights were opened – allowing for a flushing out of hot air.