Energy Efficient Home Tour by Anderson Architecture |
‘Suntrap’ Heritage Home Delivers Sustainability Sunny Side Up

‘Suntrap’ Heritage Home Delivers Sustainability Sunny Side Up

An energy efficient home by Anderson Architecture

Written by –
Jess Ng
on December 12th 2018
Born and raised in the UK, Jess is NONAGON’s resident historian turned marketer turned writer, drawn to Hong Kong by the lure of dim sum breakfasts and bustling city life. A foodie who loves to cook, food occupies 70% of her brain 90% of the time. When not eating, Jess can typically be found buried in a book or obsessing over making NONAGON’s Instagram #feedgoals.



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.

Exterior facade of an energy efficient home by Anderson Architecture |


“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.

Exterior facade and landscaped courtyard of an energy efficient home designed by Anderson Architecture |

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.

Open plan living and kitchen space of an energy efficient home with courtyard access and wood details |

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.

Floating staircase and wood textures in a bright energy efficient home by Anderson Architecture |

“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.”

Contemporary energy efficient home with courtyard access, and wood panel wall and ceiling accents |

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.

Structural floating wood staircase with black accents in an energy efficient home by Anderson Architecture |

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.

Open plan living and dining space of an energy efficient home with outdoor access and lots of wood details |

Touch Wood

Aesthetics-wise, the owners of the home went to Anderson with a photo of a timber and metal-accented cafe they liked. This ultimately served as the basis for the interior design of the living spaces.

Open plan dining space of an energy efficient home with outdoor access and modern art details |

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.

Wood panel kitchen of a contemporary energy efficient home with vintage brick wall detail |

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.

Gray tiled shower and bathroom of an energy efficient home by Anderson Architecture |

Final Thoughts

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.


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