Light is everything in design. Visually, most design connoisseurs will know that light immediately makes a space look bigger, bringing with it an open airiness which quite frankly defines interior goals. But did you know that lighting makes all the difference when it comes to thermal warmth too? Anderson Architecture sure did, and they used this pearl of wisdom to help them transform an old Queen Anne style home into a bright and warming contemporary family abode. Let’s take a closer look at this energy efficient home design.
“A home’s liveability begins and ends with its orientation,” explains Simon Anderson, Director of the Anderson Architecture firm. Unfortunately for this west Sydney heritage home, orientation wasn’t exactly its strong point. South-facing living quarters equated to cold, dimly-lit rooms. In other words, it was a far cry from the warm family home its owners craved.
The first step to transformation? An internal courtyard. “We opened the heart of the home to the sun,” shares Anderson. Now, previously dark corners of the ‘Suntrap’ property benefit from an abundance of light and sunshine.
In addition, strategic structural changes to the fabric of the building further helped this home see the light. Living spaces were shifted to the north of the home in order to better maximize their exposure to the sun. What’s more, Anderson Architecture demolished and replaced the property’s existing extension.
“For us, the fact [that] the new home uses much less energy to heat and cool, and stays comfortable by itself [is one of the most interesting parts of the project]. It uses green concrete for the walls and floor that greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the home. The most interesting element is the central stair that almost hovers for the first half, with seemingly no structure under it.”
An Energy Efficient Home
When it came to improving the thermal efficiency of the home, Anderson Architecture relied on a handful of strategic architectural features and technology. Eco-friendly concrete walls, hydronic heated flooring, and new awnings which capture the winter sun all introduce much-needed warmth into cold zones.
Meanwhile, heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels, and double-glazed windows assist the home in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures. All in all, the architects doubled the thermal efficiency in this part of the home from 3.2 to 6.4 stars.
Both physically and visually, the open plan kitchen, living and dining room exude warmth. The heavy use of wood brings a touch of tradition and character to the space. Overall, it’s a nice homage to the heritage origins of this home.
One of my favorite design features of this home is the use of re-purposed materials left over from the demolition of the old extension. In the kitchen area for instance, reclaimed spotted gum flooring was used for the cupboard surfaces and the timber-lined ceiling.
With a growing family, including a four-legged friend, more space and improved connection with the backyard was a must for the owners of this Sydney home. And with a new courtyard and indoor-outdoor access to the backyard, Anderson Architecture have delivered all that and more. But for me, what really makes ‘Suntrap’ stand out from the crowd is its eco-friendly nature. It proves once and for all that an energy efficient home can be equal parts sympathetic and stylish!
For more like this, head to our Home Tours category. Recent eco-friendly favorites include this contemporary beach house built to withstand climate change, and this Rwandan doctors’ dorm.