The Illawarra Flame House

Illawarra Flame House, original fibro home image

The University of Wollongong (UOW) Australia have taken up the significant challenge of demonstrating how to retrofit a ‘fibro’ home. With the aim to inspire and demonstrate to the local and national building industry and the general community at large that it is possible to transform the vast majority of Australian homes into stylish, affordable, and sustainable homes of the future. They have successfully transformed the dream home of the 1960s into a sustainable 21st century net-zero energy home.

Refitted Illawarra Flame House

Refitted Illawarra Flame House

You may not think this is a desirable outcome. You may think these homes an eyesore and riddled with asbestos and would sooner see them demolished than reinvigorated. But with the cost of building too excessive for some and the cost of relocation punitive, it makes a great deal of sense to give this a chance and take a look at what a retrofit entails. With the aim of appealing to an older clientele who wish to downsize but still have the benefits of a garden and a detached home, UOW have come up with the Illawarra Flame Australia project.

“The paramount concern of the design and construction of our house is obviously protecting and preserving the environment through measures such as decreased energy and water consumption. At the same time, we wanted to create an architecturally beautiful house that embodies the history and location of the infamous ‘Aussie fibro’ house and is affordable and accessible to Australians at large. Additionally, we are concerned with the liveability of the house and so have focussed on improving its thermal and acoustic comfort, its functionality and in turn, occupant well-being”.

More videos are available through the website.

The house exhibits an abundance of environmentally-friendly features. It is solar-powered, naturally ventilated and well insulated due to the use of materials such as DOW Thermax and Knauff EarthWool. The house boasts impressive controls such as the monitoring of energy and water consumption and HVAC (air conditioning) system. As far as water is concerned, a grey water treatment system, slow sand filter and rain water capture system ensure a constant supply of fresh water. The landscape of the house provides composting facilities, a reed bed, vertical green walls and promotes food production. The house also exhibits various innovative techniques such as state of the art photovoltaics and a photovoltaic-thermal solar system.

More information can be found here.