The German Passive House standard is the obvious choice for any homeowner seeking a home that delivers the best in thermal performance.

Passivhaus works on the basis that the home is highly insulated, airtight and efficiently ventilated.

Designed to act like a thermos, fresh filtered air is provided continuously to provide an optimum level of comfort without the need for additional heating or cooling and results in energy savings of around 90 per cent compared with Building Code standard homes.

A prime example of this standard sits on a tiny block, just 213sqm on a rear laneway in the coastal Perth suburb of Scarborough.

The small 15m x 14m block provided a design challenge for architect, Ben Caine.

The home is quite unusual in Perth where double brick construction dominates new home construction.

‘Timber framing was the obvious solution. It provides the best balance of sustainability, speed, and thermal performance,” Caine said.

In order to achieve fundamental solar passive performance the house was positioned on the south boundary to allow winter sun access to the interior for warmth.

“We developed a timber construction methodology that can achieve the Passive House standard of performance and airtightness for little more than the cost of a typical home,” Caine said.

“Designing a more compact building form also achieves some cost savings, which allow more of the budget to be allocated to the high performance glazing and ventilation system”

Whilst the home is timber framed, a venetian plaster brick wall fronts the laneway and lends the home some solidity and provides additional fortification from the public laneway adjacent.

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