Welcome to Mill View Home at Smeaton Victoria, hyper-efficient passive solar SIPs (Structural Insulated Panel) home. So-named after the view to historic Anderson’s Mill located on the other side of Birch Creek.
This job is a very personal one, although one that we are more than happy to share as it is our own home, and one that we are very proud of.
Obviously we have just completed this home, things aren’t finished outside, we don’t have professional photos, but we couldn’t wait to share.
Accomodation: 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, laundry/ mudroom/ entry, kitchen/ living/ dining, outdoor room.
Floor area: 117msq including external wall thickness.
Structure: Raft slab on ground, 165mm SIP walls, truss roof, SIP external area roofs.
Insulation: R1.25 XPS slab edge extending into bottom of edge beams, R4.5 SIP walls, R6.0 ceiling batts, R4.0 closed cell spray foam to underside of roofing.
Windows: BINQ hardwood timber frames, double glazing U-1.7.
Materials: Weathertex Ecogroove 150, Silvertop Ash shiplap, Colorbond Monument roofing, Zincalume walling, exposed concrete slab grind and seal finish, Paperock compressed paper zero VOC benchtops.
Services: 100,000 litre rainwater tank, heat pump hot water service, reverse cycle air-conditioner, on-site waste treatment system, grid-connected electricity with future PV installation, Atlantic Heat recovery ventilation system.
It is late Atumn as I write this and so far we have not needed to use the heater at all. The inside temperature has been consistently 20 degrees and above during the day, getting down to 17 overnight when outside temperatures are 2 degrees. This is effectively a zero energy home, especially once we get the photovoltaics installed and we are more than covering the energy demands of our appliances and lights.
All photos except last three by Kmistry RE Photo Services.
Like most of our clients, we built this home on a budget. With the money we had to spend we prioitised what we were going to do well. Thermal efficiency, staying warm throughout the long cold winters and not having large ongoing running costs were those priorities. We designed a high performance building envelope that would be well-insulated, air tight, and have minimal thermal bridges. Put it this way, we didn’t cheap out on windows in order to be able to afford granite benchtops. Of course the role of an architect is also to make things look beautiful without adding anything which is not necessary to make the building function as intended. The result is an understated yet elegent pitched roof structure which does not look out of place on its perch on the edge of the escarpment.
Trends in architecture are like trends in fashion. They are popular and look good now, but two years later we are asking ourselves ‘what were we thinking?’ and we want to change everything. Part of the ethos of sustainable building is to spend the energy on the manufacture, transportation and assembly of materials once, and design them into a building which will be durable and aesthetically appealing enough that it will not need to be modified for its lifespan. It should function and serve its owners as well in 50 years as it does right now.
The method of construction using SIP walls and a spray-foamed roof has created a very airtight building. We knew that it would be and so designed a heat recovery ventilation system into the design to provide continuous fresh filtered air while extracting the stale and moist air. This is key to not only providing a healthy indoor environment, but also mitigates structural damage caused by condensation and mold build-up that happens so frequently even in new homes. We have filmed a blower door test and will publish the results and a Youtube video of this in the near future.