SIPs hyper-efficient passive home | Enduring Domain Architecture, Ballarat
portfolio_page-template-default,single,single-portfolio_page,postid-21102,bridge-core-2.4.5,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vertical_menu_enabled,qode-theme-ver-25.0,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.3.0,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-19510

Mill View

Welcome to Mill View Home, all-electric hyper-efficient passive solar SIPs (Structural Insulated Panel) home.

Quick stats

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 the owners 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 the photovoltaics are installed and are more than covering the energy demands of the appliances and lights.


All photos except last three by Kmistry RE Photo Services.

Plenty of rock was dug out of the site to form the terraces for the building work. It was put to good use for retaining site fill.


High performance on a budget

Like most of our clients, this home was built on a budget. With the money 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.

True sustainability, not fashion

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 east facade. The heat recovery ventilation system ducts can been on the gable-end.


The healthy home

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.

Joinery throughout the home is a combination of raw plywood and random coloured panels. The OSB face of the wall SIPs are exposed and whitewashed.

A compact, efficient floor plan without passage-ways or other wasted space. All in 117 square metres.
Open plan dining and living area. North facing windows are to the left, allowing sunlight to be cast onto the bare concrete floor.

Angled bay window captures the sunrise into the master bedroom. Blue hues are calming and a good option for bedroom colour schemes.

The dream bedroom! That is, if you like pink.

Although part of the open plan space, the kitchen tucks under a flat ceiling to visually seperate it. Glorious solar gain hits the floor and heats the space.

The Laundry/ Entry/ Mudroom. A multi-purpose highly functional space essential for every country home.

Finishes and fixtures in the wet areas were functional and simple, and inexpensive.

Morning mist snaking its way along the creek at the bottom of the valley. The home sits up high, capturing those precious first rays of sun.

The SIP panels are prefabricated in a factory in nearby Daylesford and quickly erected onsite. The truss roof frames bear directly on top plates embedded into the panels. Lock-up stage is achieved very quickly.


The SIPs are made in the factory and laid out on the floor to check for accuracy and sequencing of stacking onto the truck.

No Comments

Post A Comment