Almost as soon as we had signed that dotted line for the land we bought in Emerald, we started talking to designers to begin the drawings.
Devin had met Clare Parry from Grun Consulting, through the Australian Passive House conference. Clare is Chairperson and Treasurer on the Australian Passive House Association, a certified Passive House Designer, an engineer and pretty much the bees knees of the Passive House industry in Australia.
Anthony Burns from Virtual Home Design came highly recommended to us. He has an extensive background in energy rating, competed in the BDAV 10 star sustainable design challenge and although not Passive House trained was very enthusiastic about being involved in designing a Passive House.
We couldn't be happier with the combination of Anthony and Clare, and feel very fortunate to have them on our team.
Once the designers were sorted, the next question is which way is North?
If I'm honest, when buying a house or land, orientation is often not on the top of my priority list. Amongst affordability, location, size, distance to shops/schools/work, the slope and possible views, where the sun rises isn't thought of until later when you start designing the house. But don't let this be a deterrent, although there are more preferable orientations for a Passive House, ultimately you can have a Passive House anywhere. This is why countries such as Belgium can make mandatory that all new and renovated buildings from 2015 are to be to the Passive House standard. Amazing to think how advanced they are in their commitment to energy efficient buildings compared to Australia! Therefore, it is important that you keep an open mind about the layout of the house on your land, so that the design can be suited to the unique combinations of your property.
For a Passive House the ideal orientation in Australia is to have your living spaces (living room, kitchen, lounge, study, bedrooms) facing North, to gain the warmth of the sun during the day, and the service rooms (laundry and bathrooms) to the South.
From our site analysis plan above you can see that our land is facing north-east as the house will be designed parallel to the boundary.
One of the biggest misconceptions we find when we tell people we are building a Passive House is that it has to look modern, Devin and I have always wanted to build a more traditional weatherboard style house for our family home. In fact, from the from the outside there will be nothing that will indicate that it is a Passive House
Courtesy of Pinterest, here are some the inspiration we used as a starting point for the design of our home.