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Pocket Passiv

Country · Gadigal

Project Completion · 2023

Builder · Mindful Building

Engineer · Partridge Engineers

Photography · Tom Ferguson

Client brief

From its very inception, Pocket Passiv’s inner city postcode defined a series of constrained and ambitious objectives stemming from the clients’ aspirations. Pocket Passiv was conceived within a wider brief that involved not only the construction of a secondary dwelling but the renovating and upgrading of the existing terrace house and corner shop that occupied its front portion. Originally proposed as a single inner-city house with the opportunity to become three separate dwellings, Pocket Passiv emerged as the standalone studio dwelling to the rear of the site, that's now certified to the Passivhaus Plus standard.

Response

Pocket Passiv is a small infill residential studio occupying the unused space of a spatially constrained inner-city terrace house corner block. The project achieves ambitious levels of amenity for its residents all whilst occupying the ‘pocket-sized’ footprint of 27sqm. Located in Glebe, a thriving inner-city suburb originally inhabited by the Gadigal people, Pocket Passiv sits within a relic of Sydney’s 19th century Victorian terrace house boom.
Pocket Passiv’s project aspirations were guided by an ethos of not only environmental sustainability but also social and economic. The dwelling has been certified to the esteemed Passivhaus Plus Standard for high performance and energy efficient buildings originating from Germany. Passivhaus Plus acknowledges the building’s ability to generate as much energy as it consumes – ultimately becoming a net zero energy building.

Key Features

  • The dwelling has been certified to the esteemed Passivhaus Plus Standard for high performance and energy efficient buildings originating from Germany. Passivhaus Plus acknowledges the building’s ability to generate as much energy as it consumes – ultimately becoming a net zero energy building.
  • Pocket Passiv successfully achieved an air tightness result of 0.52 air changes, and an annual heating and cooling load well below 15kWh/(m2a). The overall success of adopting such building construction methods means that theoretically a small hair dryer of 400 watts could heat the entire studio on Sydney’s coldest winter days.
  • A life cycle assessment determined the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of Pocket Passiv to be 4kg of CO2/m2/year over a 50 year lifespan, which easily surpasses the exemplar standards of Denmark that require all new buildings to achieve a GWP of no greater than 12kg of CO2/m2/year.
  • Kinzel Low-e, Argon Filled, Double Glazed Windows selected for durability, high insulation levels, reduced thermal bridging and airtightness.
  • Fakro Double Glazed Skylights with External Blinds selected for high insulation levels and reduced thermal bridging, and proprietary external operable shading.
  • Western Red Cedar Shingles selected for durability, high insulation levels, low maintenance, natural weathering texture and sympathetic to the heritage context.
  • High density Knauf Earth wool Insulation (Ceiling and Wall) selected for high thermal performance and environmental credentials (no formaldehyde and 80% recycled glass makeup)
  • Colorbond roofing was employed for its long-life durability.
  • Proclima Intello wrap to the ceiling frame and interior studwork providing airtight yet breathable layer.
  • Ecolour Paint has been used throughout selected for its Zero-Voc status making it better for the environment and indoor air quality.
  • Altair heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) that ensures a flow of filtered fresh air and exhaust of stale air
  • Tiger Mono-facial All Black 390-Watt Solar Panels that provide enough energy to offset demand and deem the house carbon neutral in accordance with Passivhaus Plus criteria.
  • Sanden Eco Plus Hot Water Heat Pump System