Snowy Mountains


Architecture: Lance Workshop

Builder: Baillie Building

Stage: Completed 2017

Location: Snowy Mountains, New South Wales

Standard: Passivhaus Institute Low Energy Building Standard (non-certified)

Despite being located in one of the coldest regions in Australia, this house is designed to be independent of the electricity grid. Featuring a 2-storey curtain wall, the house demonstrates that low energy principles need not compromise architectural beauty.

The house blends into the landscape using a palette of stone, timber and steel.



Snowy mountains front




A central courtyard is the feature of this property.  It is visible through full height windows and provides an outdoor space free of the alpine winds.


A fireplace adds ambience to the living space but is seldom used in this comfortable well insulated house.






Exposed concrete and hardwood beams add to the raw feel of the interior.


The home features triple glazed thermally-insulated aluminium windows.






Ground temperatures can reach 11C in this part of Australia so the floor is made of a concrete sandwich with 75mm of XPS in between.

In total the floor provides R2.8 insulation value.


The walls are constructed of 140mm timber studs, filled with glasswool insulation and wrapped externally with a breathable membrane and internally with an airtight membrane.  There is also a 70mm service cavity.

The total insulation value is R4.2






The rafter roof is wrapped above with a windtight, breathable membrane and wrapped below with an airtight membrane.

200mm of glasswool insulation fills the void between and a 50mm blanket above gives a total insulation value of R6.2.

In the photo, a small flap of white airtight membrane has been strategically placed between the rafters and an internal wall in order to maintain a continuous airtight layer.


With the insulation layer located at roof level, the ceilings are free to locate electrical, plumbing and ventilation services

A mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery provides fresh air every minute of the day through semi-rigid ducting.