Renovating Resources

Home owners Michael and Heather went to unprecedented lengths to integrate energy and water saving systems into their home. The result is an attractive house with a tiny environmental footprint.

The Armstrong-Mobbs Sustainable House

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

A celebrated case study of sustainable refurbishment of an inner-city terrace house

The owners, Michael Mobbs and Heather Armstrong, went to unprecedented lengths to integrate energy and water saving systems into their home. The result is a house with a tiny environmental footprint that looks attractive and doesn’t have to be operated by experts.

“The main value of the house, besides its sustainable features, is its ordinary appearance, which persuades many people to copy it. The lessons learnt, the successes and failures of the project make the house a useful reference point for householders wishing to go sustainable, as well as for builders, designers and policy makers.”

 The Sustainable House is situated in the heart of inner-suburban Sydney – its new addition is clearly visible in the bottom right corner of the photo

The Sustainable House is situated in the heart of inner-suburban Sydney – its new addition is clearly visible in the
bottom right corner of the photo

Download the detailed Armstrong-Mobbs Environment Design Guide

Project details

Address:58 Myrtle St Chippendale Sydney
Clients:Michael Mobbs and Heather Armstrong
Project architect:Peter John Cantrell and Alex Tzannes Associates
Structural/Civil:James Taylor and Associates
Landscaping:Sue Barnsley
Risk Analysis:Jim Irish, Insearch Pty Ltd
Cost-Benefit Analysis:Tony Abrahams, School of Accounting, UNSW
Project Cost:$165,000 (1996 dollars)
Cost of energy, water and waste systems:$48,000 (1996 dollars)
Year of Completion:1996 (The current version of this design guide was reviewed by Michael Mobbs in September 2011)
Building Area:150 square metres

Floor Plans

Floor plans of the Sustainable House. New work shown shaded.

Floor plans of the Sustainable House.
New work shown shaded.

Location and climate

A terrace situated in a relatively quiet back street of an inner suburb of Sydney with three of Sydney’s major roads, City Rd, Cleveland St and Broadway, less than 200m from the house. Of considerable advantage to the achievement of the project’s energy saving goals was the fact that the rear of the 5m-wide terrace faces almost directly north. Sydney experiences a moderate climate. The average daily maximum temperature in summer is 25.5°C, while the average daily minimum temperature in winter is 8.6°C. There is an average annual rainfall of 1315 mm and 142 rain days per year.

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

In addition to their expertise in residential real estate, The Centre for Liveability Real Estate also works collaboratively with the sustainable design, construction, manufacturing and assessment and industries in the development of information on this site.

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