Blue Mountains home to one of NSW’s first passive houses

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A passive house is a house built to be highly energy efficient. “Passive Houses offer an entirely new way of building a home. It moves beyond minimum building requirements and looks to the future. A future where we rise to the challenge of building smarter, longer lasting homes that are healthy, energy efficient and incredibly comfortable,” said Joe Mercieca, owner of Blue Eco Homes, “we are excited to be a part of a small but growing movement of Australian builders who are choosing to build with the health of homeowners and the environment in mind.”

Whilst popular in Europe, passive houses are not as prevalent in Australia, despite architectural interest in passive solar house design since the 1980s. The International Passive House Association numbers 17 other passive houses in Australia, and “The Sapphire” is one of only two in NSW. The other being Kirribilli House, where almost nothing gets done, particularly from the standpoint of promoting renewable energies and carbon emissions reduction.

“The Sapphire” is the flagship passive display home for Blue Eco Homes. A four-bedroom weatherboard home, “The Sapphire” achieves its carbon zero efficiency through the utilisation of a 5.2 kW SMA solar + storage system, with triple glazing on the windows and good insulation making for a hermetic structure. A ventilation system completes the setup, ensuring “The Sapphire” requires little assistance from either heating or cooling, always keeping itself comfortably between 20-25 degrees.

SMA, a German PV technology company and inverter maker, launched its Sunny Boy Storage systems last year. The Sunny Boy Storage system allows up to three batteries to connect to the battery inverter, meaning homeowners with solar PV systems have even more options for using self-generated power.

SMA Energy System

Image: SMA APAC

“We are excited to contribute to the eco-friendly and healthy trend of sustainable living in Australia,” said Darren Hoffman, Sales Director at SMA Australia, “our SMA Energy System containing Sunny Boy solar inverter and Sunny Boy Storage battery inverter enables home owners to rely on clean solar energy for the electrical devices in passive houses. These homes demonstrate that healthy, comfortable and energy-efficient living is achievable and solar power is the most cost-efficient source of energy.”

“The Sapphire” is the first passive house built to Bushfire Attack Level Flame Zone (BAL-FZ) regulations, the highest bushfire risk rating in Australia.

“The Sapphire” will be open to the general public via booking on September 15 for “Sustainable House Day”, see here.