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Gibbs House, Greymouth Go Back

The Gibbs house is now completed in Greymouth; new pictures show exterior locally grown Redwood weatherboard cladding. Interiors show Colorcrete coloured suspended concrete floor slab poured over a Potius structure, Adobe feature mass walls by Solid Earth Ltd and macrocarpa beams, trim and kitchen joinery. This passive solar home is performing well with temperatures being maintained above 17 degrees without backup heating.

Designed for a small sub divided ridge top building site next to the clients existing home, this project faced several challenges. The clients brief called for an affordable modest sized 3 bedroom home that took advantage of passive solar design to provide quality comfort for lower energy bills. The challenges; a small site constricted between (sun blocking) regenerating native forest to the north and a right of way access drive to the south running at an awkward angle, soft ground conditions and the requirement to address the coastal view to the south-west through a gap in the trees.

The solution is a stepped floor plan to address the awkward angle while maintaining a north aspect for good solar gain and set as far back as possible from the bush to avoid shading in winter. The only part of the structure at an angle to this layout is the flat transparent roofed drive through Porte Cochere which provides dry access to the house on those 'infrequent' wet West Coast days. A corner window set at the rear of the main lounge and restricted in size to minimise heat loss, provides views along the coast looking southwards.

A concrete slab set on ground beams and timber driven piles solves the soft ground issue while providing excellent thermal mass for the passive solar aspects. The exposed slab is surface coloured and sealed with Tung oil and is fully insulated of course. The log fire in the lounge provides backup radiant heat for those rainy days and is surrounded by adobe veneer feature walls which store heat from both the sunshine or log burner energy thus increasing the energy efficiency of the home and providing quality comfort on cold winter mornings for zero running cost.

High gable windows provide winter solar gain deep into the living spaces and these will have blinds for controlling excess. Most other north facing rooms have full height glazing for solar gain exposure of their thermal mass exposed slab floors.

All wall and roof framing is Douglas Fir, mostly untreated, Insulation is Latitude 100% wool to full levels and cladding/trim is locally grown Cedar weatherboard with a stain finish.

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