Nestled in the Victorian suburb of Coburg is a compact home on a small, oddly-shaped block of land that was originally deemed non-suitable for residential development. “Rather than see that land go to waste in an area where there’s already a shortage of residential land, we thought we should try to make something work on a small scale,” says Felicity Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer at Melbourne Design Studio and co-founder of Hütt. “And so we came up with a very compact design that is designed to the German standard of Passive House.”

By their very nature, passive houses are among the most sustainable structures in modern architecture. The ethos of passive house centres on efficiency, by creating a structure that is well insulated from the prevailing climatic conditions outside in order to provide pleasant living conditions inside. The standard may have been forged in the harshness of German winters, but more sustainability-minded architects and homeowners are beginning to adopt the standard locally.

The secret to passive house is heat transfer - ensuring that any heat energy within the house is utilised to its full extent, and that any cold air coming in from outside is warmed up as much as possible prior to entering the living areas of the space. “The heat recovery unit works by having the stale air duct and the fresh air duct cross paths to transfer the energy, so 90% of the energy that's in the house stays in the house.”

For this build, Felicity wanted to take the philosophy of passive house, and push it further. “The idea of passive house is that it's comfortable and healthy for you, but also healthy for the planet.” This led her to consider how all aspects of the house - including drainage and heat transfer through water - could be included. “Strictly speaking, it’s not a necessity for passive house, but for us, being passionate about passive house, we look at the building holistically, which makes us more mindful with water energy, and everything that comes with it.”

Felicity was looking for a way to decrease the energy required to heat water within the house, without compromising on comfort. Through Stormtech, she discovered an innovative new system.

“We discovered the Zypho system through Stormtech,” says Felicity. “It’s incredibly smart technology. Basically the unit sits under the shower, so the wastewater from the shower crosses over with the freshwater. That means you need less heating to get to your ambient temperature when you shower, which obviously saves you quite a bit of energy in return, which is a great thing to have.”

Distributed exclusively in Australia by Stormtech, Zypho can reduce energy requirements by up to 30%, and works by transferring heat from the shower’s waste water into the incoming cold mains supply. This heated incoming mains water is then directed to either the shower mixer, the water heater, or both. Zypho is ideally suited to contemporary linear drainage installations and is compatible with the complete range of Stormtech drainage products and can be installed with all shower and bath equipment, including traditional bathtubs.

So whether - like Felicity - it’s the top-tier efficiency of standards of passive house you’re aiming for, or just looking to do your part for the environment - and your bank balance, Zypho is a sustainable and economic choice for your next build.

Find out more about Stormtech here.