Mahalath Halperin Architects

This project is the Architect’s own new residence as a response to downsizing but also the chance to showcase an example of best practice in passive solar, energy efficient and sustainable house design. It is very much about the holistic approach to the integration of the building systems rather than just individual ‘sustainable’ items and components. But it’s not just about the house – it’s also about the occupants, and our decision to take responsibility for our actions in choosing how we live and what impact we personally have on the planet.

After many years designing other people’s houses, this was the opportunity to design and incorporate all those ‘green’ issues that clients so often forgo in favour of other priorities and/or are not brave enough to try. So it provided an opportunity to bring together years of ongoing research and experience, while being conscious that not everything can go together and some things must be left out. But also, given changing weather patterns, a response to the shorter, sharper winters and hotter summers, with the decision that it was no longer necessary in this climate (Armidale, NSW) to include major heating/cooling infrastructure if the building is designed right.

As new products or solutions came to mind, we researched further into detail to determine what we could and couldn’t include, balancing each eco-initiative against a set of criteria –
• Practical – would it be possible, would it work and would it last
• Sensible – was it worth the effort, did it balance with other inclusions, would it negate other benefits
• Aesthetic – does it look good, does it fit in with and/or compliment the rest of the house
• Financial – could we afford it, was it cost effective, what’s it’s pay back and would it’s benefits last