Tropical climate home
Open Sunday September 7 & 14 for Sustainable House Day
Andrew Spiers had to accommodate Darwin’s tricky tropical climate when building his home; cyclones, heavy monsoonal downpours and flooding in the wet season, fires in the dry, and warm weather all year round. He wanted a home that was passively cooled and had minimal environmental impact, for the same cost as building a conventional, suburban air-conditioned home. In the end, his modest, two-bedroom home received an impressive 8.2 Star House Energy Rating.
Andrew says the small split system air-conditioner in the guest bedroom is rarely used, relying instead on nature’s cooling wind to keep the home at a comfortable temperature. A high-pitched roof minimises sun exposure and maximises air circulation, and the low thermal mass of the steel construction helps the house stay cool during the hot humid wet season.
The house is not connected to mains electricity, gas or water, and all electricity needs, including the hot water system, are supplied by solar panels.
Andrew kept VOCs to a minimum by avoiding plastics, fibreboards, paints and chemically treated surfaces. The internal walls and ceilings are unpainted, benchtops are made from commercial grade stainless steel, and floors are cement sheet on steel bearers, surfaced with slate from Kununurra.
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