The Eco House in Leura demonstrates sustainable architecture principles in a bushfire prone environment. It showcases techniques for sustainable living.
The design of this house relates to the sensitive ecology of the Blue Mountains from the ground up. Located in remnant bushland, the foundations use an innovative system installed in a single day with minimal soil disturbance. The primary living spaces incorporate eco design principles, maximising sun penetration in winter, resulting in interior spaces 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature. Spaces are shaded in summer to provide a comfortable interior temperature of 22-24C.
The choice of materials includes extensive use of timber and metal, and showcases the best of NSW, rooting the house into its context and environment. Prefabricated and modular components were selectively used to speed up construction and minimise waste. Material selection and construction techniques also considered bushfire risk. The eco house incorporates a sprinkler system to aid fire prevention which doubles as a cooling system during summer heatwaves. Therefore the multipurpose design addresses two climate change events which are becoming more frequent.
The interiors incorporate flexibility and adaptability. For instance spaces can be combined to create larger rooms or they can be separated to control internal microclimates, with smaller cosy spaces in winter and larger airy spaces in summer. Several rooms are multifunctional and can be configured as working, lounging or sleeping areas. The eco house is in tune with the environment and adapts through movable elements therefore facilitating seasonal living with minimal energy use.
Both affordable to build and to live in, the eco house provides maximum impact in space and amenity yet minimising its footprint, energy and resource consumption. Rainwater collection feeds the bushfire/cooling system while solar panels generate a net surplus of energy. Neighbours and visitors remark how well the house fits into the environment, proof the eco house fulfils both its technical and aesthetic ambitions – providing comfort and delight in harmony with nature.