Rural Retreat

Country · Wiradjuri

New House

Project Completion · 2019

Builder · millthorpe constructions

Engineer · Barnson


Located in the Central Tablelands of NSW near the town of Orange, this thermally efficient design overcomes the challenges of a cooler climate. Using a combination of passive solar design principles and sustainable initiatives, this house achieves over 7 stars in its thermal performance rating. Perched at the high point of the site, three pavilions traverse the natural contours of the land. The pavilions are connected by a continuous gallery loggia with a floating skillion roof above. All living spaces maximise sunlight from the generous northern aspect whereas bedrooms receive softer light through windows and highlights above. Thermal mass and high levels of insulation work in combination with this solar access to maintain warmth throughout the year.

Key Features

  • Thermal mass concrete floor with hydronic heating and cooling
  • 7 star Bers Pro thermal rating
  • Double glazed thermally broken aluminium windows
  • Habitech SIPs panel wall and roof system
  • Exposed thermal mass brick walls

We moved in in January and has been wonderful seeing how well it is performing thermally. Summer was rather hot and uncomfortable at times, however we didn't have any blinds installed and the hydronics weren't set up for slab cooling so hopefully next summer will be better. This winter however has been amazing. The solar passive function is fantastic, if there is any sun visible in the sky the house seems to catch it very effectively. On a sunny day our living/kitchen area can get up to 27 degrees, even when the outside temp is around 7 - 10 C! Generally the house can maintain a 20 degree difference between inside/outside for about 24 hours. This means we use our underfloor heating very rarely, and we've only lit the fire 8 times this winter.