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Home > Example Homes > Modern Design & Passive Solar Mudbrick House in Nelson

Modern Design & Passive Solar Mudbrick House in Nelson

Home Details

Land Area
2 Ha m2
Building area
140 m2 m2
Year built
3 bedroom(s), 1 bathroom(s)

Wakapuaka, Nelson

3 bedroom house with load-bearing adobe walls
and timber framed top storey.
Contemporary simple eco-design incorporating
passive solar principles, Solar Water Heating,
Composting Toilet and Rainwater Collection.

Special Feature:
Extensive earthen plasters on most gibbed walls.

Design for simple and modest form. Reduction of what we think we need is an effective way to be eco-friendly.

One of the most important ways in which a building can reduce its ecological impact is by being "energy wise". This has implications for climate change, scarcity of resources, health, comfort and living expenses.

Three main areas that have been addressed:

- The embodied energy of used building materials
Unstabilized earthbuilding products in different forms (adobe bricks, plasters, cob) have got close to no embodied energy
Timber is a renewable resource and has got low embodied energy, it is important to keep treatment to an absolute minimum.
Locally produced and natural materials have been given priority, i.e. wool insulation.
Materials with high embodied energy, such as the aluminium joinery and colorsteel roof have been chosen because of their long life span and low maintenance requirements.

- The building structure as a whole, i.e. orientation, use of massive materials, level of insulation.
The orientation of the building is towards the North to allow passive solar gains. Openings on the south side have been kept minimal and the earth walls to the south have been additionally insulated, because they cannot absorb heat from the sun.
The level of insulation is above minimum requirements and the windows have got double glazing.
The adobe walls and concrete slab are heat sinks which can store heat and release it slowly when outside temperatures drop.

- The appliances within, i.e. use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, natural resources.
Water conservation is an important aspect. The composting toilet does not use any water at all, urine gets diverted into the greywater system. The greywater gets processed on the land via soakage trench, no septic tank is needed. Rain water gets collected and used in the laundry and gardens. Water efficient devices will be used in kitchen and bathroom.
A solar hot water system combined with a wet-back on the fireplace will provide hot water for the household as well as for underfloor heating in certain areas.
Composting and recycling as form of resource recovery.

Designed by Verena Maeder
Engineered by Richard Walker
Adobe Bricks supplied by SolidEarth Ltd
Built by owners with assistance of
Michael Hamilton Builders Ltd
Solar Heating System supplied by Solartec
Wool Insulation supplied by Latitude (ex Woolbloc)
Composting toilet supplied by Kiwibog

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