Transforming a run-down, dark and poorly insulated Californian Bungalow into a comfortable and sustainable home...
"The owners are a professional couple who believe in sustainable living. They wanted to achieve an affordable but highly functional home that significantly increased comfort and energy efficiency, connected them to the garden, and expressed their love of design. The brief included the addition of a third bedroom and second bathroom along with a covered entertaining area without compromising the garden area." - Green Sheep Collective
All admirable and achievable goals, but with the poor orientation of the existing building, car-parking requirements from town planning, a small lot size and the need to protect the neighbour's close north-facing windows to maintain their access to sunlight, Green Sheep Collective would need to come up with a design to tackle a number of challenges.
The solution was to consider the whole home as one, rather than simply add an addition to contain the new spaces. The addition would need to cohesively connect to the original house and all spaces function as part of a whole. "A whole-home approach was taken to the energy rating, opting to lift the environmental performance and energy efficiency of the entire home, not merely the extension component", explains the architect.
The design reconfigures the south-facing spaces into the main bedroom and bathroom so the living areas can enjoy north light. The new lounge has a roofline that soars up towards the north to grab as much light as possible but is angled to minimise overshadowing the neighbour. In all, only 18 square metres were added to the home, creating a space, budget and energy-efficient addition, by reworking existing spaces. Keeping the size of the addition compact has the added benefit of maximising outdoor space, which is almost 50% of the site area.
Fitting so much into a compact footprint meant working hard to maximise all available space. Living spaces are flexible allowing multiple configurations (or reconfigurations) of furniture and uses. Integrated storage allows everything to be packed away neatly so the home feels spacious and uncluttered without compromising on all the bits and pieces a typical family wants and needs. The result is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home within a compact 117 square metres, roughly half the size of the average Australian home.
"The exceptionally efficient layout has just 7% circulation area. A European laundry and window seat incorporating storage ensure the circulation area is more than just a path from A to A. The carport, with storage, doubles as undercover outdoor dining. Flexible bedrooms include a retained fireplace and added double doors to the garden, allowing for the change in usage."
With a series of energy-efficiently upgrades, the new, slightly larger house achieves "a massive 77% reduction in heating and cooling demand from the original conditions, and significant improvements in thermal performance and occupant comfort... A pre-construction vs. post-occupancy analysis of household energy bills shows that the design measures of this exemplar of sustainable design enabled a whopping 3.54t CO2 emissions reduction per year!"
"Building materials were carefully selected to minimise negative impacts on non-renewable resources, the natural environment and human health," explains the architect, "and that creates an energy and water efficient, comfortable home." Care was taken to specify accredited products such as FSC Plywood, GECA certified paints, and Eco-Specifier approved Livos oils. Similarly, low-waste materials such as e-crete concrete and radially-sawn timbers were selected to reduce the home's environmental impact. Demolished materials were carefully sorted for re-use or recycling rather than being simply dumped in a skip for landfill.
To put all this in perspective, "compared to the average new Australian home, The Snug will save the equivalent of 753,000km worth of car exhaust emissions, 848 years worth of drinking water for 4 persons, and $226,000 in construction and energy bills over its lifetime", explains the architect.
"The Snug showcases sustainable materials and exquisite craftsmanship. It is naturally lit, spacious, and storage is plentiful. Custom design is meticulously executed, from angled ceiling junctions to intricate cabinetry. This reinvigorated building will provide for its owners well into the future." - Green Sheep Collective