Josh Byrne, presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, and his wife Kellie Maher began construction of their remarkable 10-star rated house in Hilton, near Fremantle, in November 2012. Construction of two dwellings on a little over a ‘quarter-acre’ (1012 m2) block was completed in June 2013. Josh, Kellie and their children Oliver and Caitlin live in the rear house, while another family lives in the front house. Both houses achieved a ten star Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) rating, mainly due to their thermal performance, efficient power generation and use, and the largely self-sufficient water supply.
The minimum standard for all new houses built in WA, since May 2011, is six stars. Ratings are calculated considering the climate zone, location, dimensions of the dwelling and occupancy. A ten star rating is difficult to achieve. Besides maintaining a comfortable temperature all year round, without the need for air conditioning or additional heating, the construction is required to feature efficient insulation, as well as thermal mass, to hold heat and thus moderate variable temperatures often experienced in Australian houses. Window placement is another necessary consideration, to enable cooling breezes to enter when required, using windows that act like vents to extract warm air to surrounding areas.