The Meridian First Light house channels the essence of the iconic “Kiwi bach” – a focus on recreation, socialisation, and outdoor living. As primarily a summer destination, life at the bach takes place as much outside, on large decks and patios, as it does inside. Our house brings these ideals of bach life into a contemporary setting, providing a permanent residence where recreation and social activities are united with environmentally sound technologies.
To allow for this enjoyment year-round, the distinctive outdoor space has been internalised, with what is essentially an indoor deck acting as a cooking and dining space. It also provides the main entry and meeting point for visitors to the house, and bridges the sleeping and study area with the living area.
The house utilises simple strategies to minimise energy consumption and maximise solar energy. The building envelope is highly insulated, but most importantly, it is flexible to climatic conditions, with sliding shutters to maximise or reduce solar gain as needed. The interior spaces are also thermally zoned, which further reduces the overall HVAC loads.
An external timber canopy housing the photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters provides an elegant solution to the typically cumbersome integration of solar panels. The canopy forms part of both the active and passive solar strategy, shading the glazing in summer months and aiding the passive cooling of the PV panels. The PV panels selected for the house are Mitsubishi Electric polycrystalline solar panels which stand up well to harsh coastal climates.
The house integrates appliances into the home which are highly energy efficient but also commercially available products. LED lighting is utilized both indoor and outdoor as an alternative to traditional incandescent or fluorescent lighting, and a reverse-cycle heat pump with a high coefficient of energy provides for all the HVAC needs of the house.
The users of the home will be able to both monitor and optimise their energy usage at their fingertips with an intuitive home monitoring system. The system is designed to clearly and easily communicate data such as peak energy usage, peak energy production, water usage and climate data, with the intention of educating people on better sustainable practices.
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