Beautiful, Sustainable Building Design

PassivBarn Site Tour

Posted by admin on 03/08/2023 at 10:02 am


2nd September 2023  –  11:00 AM (Location: Stoud, NSW)


Envirotecture have been the Passivhaus Consultants on this interesting project.

This may be the first passivhaus with steel framed windows!

This passion project for the builder, Dave O’Hare of Pique Construction is a tale of determination. With the design already done before passivhaus was on the table, the journey to resolve the technical challenges has been long but fruitful.

The home encompasses the thermally broken steel framed windows, 24m2 of skylights, a centrally located fireplace and an externally vented rangehood; all of these elements are not ‘ideal’.

The site tour will see the building with the thermal envelope mostly complete with some windows installed. The windows are being made on site from imported extrusions, the workshop will be open as will the spray booth.

This is great opportunity to see a very interesting project as that Goldilocks moment when everything is still visible. Both passivhaus consultants, Envirotecture, and the builder will be on site for the tour.



This project is one of our ‘consulting jobs’ i.e. we did not design the building. We love collaborating with others to improve outcomes, so in addition to more traditional Architectural Design services, we have always offered a range of Sustainability Consultancy services too.  This is often in the form of Sustainable Design Reviews/Reports and Passivhaus Consultations, but are also tailored to the unique needs of each client – whether that’s a homeowner, a builder, or another designer/architect in the industry where we can help with the Building-Science side of things.

At Envirotecture, we take the attitude that if our involvement in a project will make it better than if we were not involved, then we do it.

The Passivbarn is an especially interesting one. The owner, who is a builder, approached us a few years back with the design, it included steel framed windows. We reviewed everything, wrote a lovely report that, among other things, said that steel framed windows were a really bad idea as they are thermally terrible and that he should use something else and also consider building to the passivhaus standard.

He went away.

About six months he returned having done the Passivhaus Tradesperson course and sourced thermally broken steel framed windows.

He is now making those windows on site and the project is targeting the Passivhaus standard.

As an aside he has also milled lots of his own timber from the site and is replanting more than he takes.
He is an interesting guy, he loves doing something new/different and the whole project is basically a retirement plan (he’s only 40’s so getting well ahead!) to be self-sufficient in all senses; food, energy.

We love being able to share these stories of people doing good things. To mitigate the effects of the climate-emergency we are in, we all need to pause and ask the question; can this be done better? How can this do less harm to people and the planet, and is it possible to do more good? (This is the regenerative ethos that we believe in). The answer will not be the same for every person and for every situation. But we are so grateful for anyone who pauses to consider these questions, and then takes action.


The site is located approximately 3 hours north of central Sydney. The event is hosted with the Australian Passivhaus Association, tickets can be booked (free of charge) via their website here; you will need to register on their site if not a member, again, no charge.

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