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Teear House, Christchurch

02 Sep 2010

Nestled in the hills overlooking Christchurch, Teear House embodies the principles of self-sustaining houses - the ability to maintain comfortable and healthy internal climates.  Designed to take full advantage of solar gain for passive space and water heating, the house achieves an affordable balance between thermal mass, glazing and insulation.

Teear House is an all concrete structure, with the interior arranged to maximise surface areas exposed to solar effects and penetration. The concrete has a solid plaster finish internally and externally, and extruded polystyrene insulation. Other features include a Butynol membrane roof covering, predominantly tiled floors, and double glazing in thermally-efficient (PVC) frames.

Monitoring of similar houses has demonstrated that regardless of external conditions internal temperatures only fluctuate within the range of +/-1ºC daily in terms of base levels. It is anticipated that Teear House will have a minimum unheated (winter) base temperature of no lower than 17ºC in any room.

The strong commitment to passive solar design exhibited by Teear House accompanies an overall approach to sustainable building practices. This is evident in the durable products selected, which provide minimal maintenance requirements over a long life. The high levels of mass also ensure enhanced fire resistance and acoustic insulation. With the addition of a relatively modest net-metered photovoltaic system, Teear House could potentially be a net energy exporter.

From an aesthetic perspective Teear House is stylish and contemporary, integrating effortlessly with the surrounding natural environment. The home demonstrates achievable connections between thermal mass, glazing, and insulation, and the benefits of long-life, low maintenance homes – offering a valuable template for housing in New Zealand.

 Ralf Kessel, on behalf of Buck + Associates - Architects, accepts the joint Excellence in Residential Concrete Construction Award from CCANZ CEO Rob Gaimster