Shay Brazier and Jo Woods looked at many properties before finding the site for the Zero Energy House. If they wanted to have a shot at achieving their Zero Energy goal they had to find a site with good solar access, one that had little-to-no shading from large trees or surrounding buildings. This was key for the placement of the energy generation system, but also meant they could make full use of the sun to heat the building in the winter, helping them achieve another one of their main goals, avoiding the need for space heating.
After finding the right site for the project - a fairly flat, rectangular plot of land in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier - one of the first steps of the design process was to work with A Studio Architects to define the ideal building footprint on the site with the following criteria in mind:
The design team, together with Jo and Shay, considered a number of different configurations, three of which are shown below.
The layout they decided on is a simple L shape with the main living area facing north-west and the workshop/carpark wing parallel to the boundary with the neighbour to the left.
This configuration has the following benefits:
Having decided on a footprint for the house, the design team moved on to the distribution of internal spaces. These were arranged based on use, but also on the solar access considerations below:
The way the Zero Energy House sits on its site and the location of its interior spaces is not accidental. It is the result of a dialogue between its owners and the design team, in which the latter explored a number of alternatives based on Shay and Jo’s requirements in order to understand the pros and cons of each option. The outcome of this process is a house that responds to the needs of its owners while making the most of the sun’s valuable energy, and of its light and warmth.
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