On a hill above the small town of Luggate rests an unassuming yet high performing home withholding more intricacies than initially meet the eye.
Wrapped in corrugate and with a footprint just under 110m2, this home has become a case study of what is possible when it comes to performance and scale.
Luggate Rise House is Chaney & Norman Principal/Architect Beth Chaney-Walker’s own home, designed as a case study for sustainable, small-scale living on a modest budget. The high performance, low energy home was designed to suit the changing needs of a young and expanding family, and is the first home in Wānaka to be awarded a Homestar 8 Design rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council.
The main challenge of the project was delivering a high performance home on a budget. Achieving this necessitated the priority of performance over space, and a creative planning solution was required to reduce the size of the home as much as possible.
The layout of the home was carefully designed with a focus on small spaces that are highly functional. The home is less than 110m2, yet includes three bedrooms and an office within its small footprint. Built-in furniture such as the window seat in the living area maximise the available floor space, and offer flexibility; the window seat can also function as guest bed, and a compact utility space combines both a bathroom and a laundry.
Circulation space within the home is kept to a minimum, with the small section of what would otherwise be hallway serving as the office nook. High raking ceilings to living and bedroom areas help the space to feel much larger than its small size.
The compact ‘L’ shaped layout creates an external courtyard that is sheltered from the prevailing Northwest wind, and provides shade from the very hot (and long) summer afternoon sun.
The courtyard acts as an extension of the interior living space, making this space feel much more generous than it is. There is no typical entrance door or lobby into the home. Instead there are two large sliding doors that open directly from the courtyard to the south and the deck to the north. The doors anchor the home in the landscape; framing the stunning views towards Lake Hāwea to the north and the Pisa range to the south
The thermal performance of the home was maximised through the use of super insulated slab, walls and ceilings. Placement of the high performance windows was refined to maximise solar gain while minimising overheating in summer. A balanced ventilation system provided fresh air into the home, and in winter recovers heat from cooking and showers to pre-heat the incoming fresh air.
Third party energy modelling showed the home to require one sixth of the energy of a standard New Zealand home to maintain a comfortable temperature year round. An airtight construction was critical to achieving this, and blower door testing during construction confirmed the home has 0.77 A/C per hour.
To allow the budget to stretch to maximise the thermal performance of the home, simple, cost effective and robust materials were required. Beth and her family enjoy exploring the great outdoors, and local back country huts provided inspiration for a suitable material palette.
Corrugate cladding was selected for the exterior, and construction grade plywood was used extensively on the interior of the home. The selected plywood also offered environmental credentials required for the Homestar accreditation by being sustainably sourced (FSC) NZ pine with a certified low VOC content.
Interested in sustainable architecture and energy efficient homes in New Zealand? Contact us today.
Photographer: Andrew Urquhart