10. Ocean Grove – 7.9 star passive solar family home adjacent reserve

Jonathan WrightSHD2019-2

10. Ocean Grove

Type: 7.9 star passive solar family home adjacent reserve
Open: 1pm to 5pm


  • Architect designed, passive solar home
  • Double glazed with low e glass
  • Heat pump HWS, no gas connection
  • Solar power and electric car
  • Thermal mass, ESD (ecologically sustainable design)
  • Heat exchange ventilation system
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This passive solar house on the edge of Ocean Grove backs onto the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve so that you feel like you’re in the bush. The living spaces in the “Long House” faces due north to maximize solar gain in winter, while wide eaves block summer sun from entering the house. The polished concrete floors and brick fireplace absorb heat minimising the need for heating in winter and help keep the house cool in summer.

The house has a double-sided wood stove for heating, with an efficient reverse-cycle system for quick heating in winter and cooling in summer. Though, with high levels of insulation, blinds on all the windows, good cross-ventilation and the concrete floor, the house rarely needs to be cooled. The trees on the block provide more than enough wood to supply the wood stove for the few months each year that heating is desired.

There is a 3 KW grid-connected solar system on the roof, which is enough to power the house, given the efficient appliances, as well as the owners’ electric car. The house is not connected to gas, a fossil fuel, and cooking is on an induction cooktop and hot water by an electric heat pump (timed to heat only 12-2pm when the solar system is at its peak).

The 2 water tanks, with a capacity of 45,000 litres, supply the whole house and garden. They have mains back-up if the tanks should run dry during a very dry summer.

The 1.7 ha block borders the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve and contains large areas of native grassland under Manna Gums. This grassland has been allowed to regenerate naturally, and includes magnificent shows of native orchids and lilies in the spring. Parrots nest in tree hollows, dense bushes are home to fairy-wrens, and the occasional wallaby and echidna pay a visit.

The garden around the house was originally pasture grasses and has been landscaped: the back garden with locally indigenous species, a small lawn and raised vegetable beds, and front garden with Western Australian flowering shrubs, mostly grevilleas and banksias. There are 4 compost bins which are used to compost food waste from a local café, as well as the family food waste.

On site experts:
  • Dierijk Drent, Architect, Drent Design - sustainable building design
  • Luisia Drent, Architect, Drent Design - sustainable building design