Hampton House

Architecture Residential Melbourne , Australia

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This family house was designed to maximise garden connections and northern sun on an east/west orientated site in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Hampton.

The house presents as a simple composition of three forms to the street. The garage is clad in weathered recycled hardwood to conceal the garage doors and contrast with the vertically grooved cladding delivered by Habitech’s wall panels for the rest of the house. Its curved wall leads to a front door in the void between garage and front bedroom forms.

Above these forms, the asymmetrical gable roof to the upper level creates a large north facing roof area for 6.5kW of battery ready solar panels to be mounted without the need for unsightly steel frames. The first floor overhangs the ground floor to provide effective northern summer shading and cover to the front door.

The house is planned to potentially accommodate three different generations. In the centre of the house are the main living rooms which are oriented to the north to maximise passive solar performance and open the house to the garden. Branching off this are three separate bedroom zones. The parents retreat is at the rear, at the front is a spare room with fold down bed for the owner’s parents to stay, while the upper level is the domain of the children with their bedrooms, bathroom and a separate sitting room.

This is an all-electric house with intelligent technology used to minimise energy consumption. Systems include heat recovery ventilation, heat pump based hot water and hydronic heating. The house achieved a NatHERS rating of 7.6 Stars.

The house won Best Ecologically Sustainable Design at the City of Bayside’s 2018 Built Environment Awards.

Questions and Answers

What was the brief?

Our clients wanted a thermal stable and energy efficient five bedroom house in Hampton that would provide enough room and separation for them to live comfortably with their three teenage children and other family members coming to visit.

What were the key challenges?

The key challenges were working within setback constraints to maximise garden space and being able to cost effectively deliver a high-performance building fabric able to provide stable and healthy indoor temperatures and minimise heating and cooling requirements.

What were the solutions?

The form of the house was designed to maximise north facing gardens, with the upper level form being cantilevered to the north of ground floor glazing to provide shading and weather cover performance. This form also created a north facing roof for the mounting of solar PV panels. The use of Habitech’s modular, flat-packed building system delivered a high-performance building fabric and was built in 4 weeks from the ground floor slab being completed.

What are the sustainability features?

As with all Habitech projects, sustainability was a core driver in responding to the brief, with our modular construction system delivering a super insulated and air-tight building fabric minimising the amount of heating and cooling required to keep the house comfortable. Habitech Systems modular Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) system was used to construct the walls and roof of the house. Custom cut to size, these fast to install panels deliver solid R4.3 wall insulation and R5.0 roof insulation without thermal bridging elements and guaranteed performance. This innovative panelised system provides the structure, insulation and cladding of the house.

Other sustainability features include:
• The house is orientated to the north to maximise passive solar gains in winter, with window awnings and first floor overhangs calculated to shade the summer sun.
• Solar passive heating is captured onto a waffle pod slab in winter.
• Carefully designed window shading excludes the summer sun, with the thermal mass of the waffle pod moderating internal temperatures.
• Thermal transfer through the concrete floor slab has been minimised by the use of a waffle pod slab with full slab-edge Insulation.
• The house achieved a NatHERS rating of 7.6 Stars, with monitoring by the University of Melbourne showing houses built with Habitech Systems modular panel system outperform their predicted Star ratings.
• The house is tightly sealed to keep cold and hot external air entering the house. A door blower test is yet to be undertaken, but Habitech building fabrics have achieved under 2 air changes per hour at 50Kpa.
• A Heat Recovery Ventilation unit has been used to save energy while providing filtered fresh air to the house in a controlled way. This system passes exhaust air from bathrooms and kitchen past incoming fresh air and is able to exchange 90% of its heat or coolth across to the incoming air. This system not only improves internal air quality by distributing fresh air throughout the house but does it without the energy penalty of opening windows when external air temperatures are cold or hot.
• Double glazed timber window and doors are used throughout the house.
• The house has all electric services, with the hot water and hydronic slab heating being provided by high efficiency electric heat pumps.
• The active energy systems in the house are zoned and programmed to minimise energy use.
• A 6.5kW solar array generates the vast majority of the house’s energy demands from on-site renewable energy. By not connecting to gas network, the house is future-proofed to able to be fully run from renewable energy.
• The combustion stove in the living room has been surrounded with a masonry thermal heat sink. The flue of the unit provides further heating by passing through and heating the upper level bathroom.
• Provision was made in the design to allow for the future installation of further solar panels on the large north facing roof area.
• An outdoor clothesline at the rear of the lot is accessed directly from the laundry.
• 15,000 litre rainwater tanks supply the garden, toilet cisterns and washing machine.
• The landscaping has been designed using native species that require little watering and are drought tolerant once established. The front garden has been landscaped around the Narrow-leaf Peppermint (Eucalyptus radiata) tree on the front boundary fence, and the back garden is heavily influenced by the beautiful Desert Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl subsp. angustifolia) that sits in the rear NE corner of the lot providing not only a focus for the garden, but also effective shading from morning sun angles in the summer. The existing and newly planted trees on the lot will create a range of habitats that will increase the biodiversity of the lot and surrounding area.
• The back garden also features a raised vegetable garden and two large vegetable and herb boxes - one on the paved courtyard and one on the northern side of the clothesline.


Project size

247 m2

Completion date


Building levels


Project team

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Habitech Systems