WINNER True Net Zero Carbon Challenge Design Matters Envirotecture Talina Edwards Detail Green

‘Little Pot of Gold’: a WINNER of True Zero Carbon Challenge 2022

We’re honoured to be announced as a WINNER of the DMN “True Zero Carbon Challenge 2022” competition for our “Little Pot of Gold” home!
(Our entry was a massive collaborative effort with my practice TEA with the good folk at Envirotecture and Detail Green)

Our entry was called

“LITTLE POT OF GOLD: should we be reaching for the stars, or are we chasing rainbows”


As we are curious folk who want to see better buildings across the country that are healthy for people and planet – we decided to test this design in EVERY state-capital, and also tested options for low, medium, and high embodied-carbon and how that would affect carbon-emissions, payback periods, cost, carbon-positive status, healthy indoor air quality, and as-built performance versus as-designed performance…
…so we submitted 24 entries instead on just 1…

Our entry for QLD won the state-award – and we know we have a version of this design works across all of the locations we tested across the country… that is suited to each location and climate…
We’re pretty chuffed that we’ve found the treasure at the end of the rainbow…and invite you to come and find it too…


Three versions designed to the international Passivhaus standard and one optimised for the local NatHERS (National Home Energy Rating System); with the Passivhaus options deliberately modelled with varying levels of upfront/embodied/‘here and now’ carbon.

The full designs, details and data can be found on its own website here along with a lovely story explaining its origins.


The key takeaways are:

• Any carbon reduction trajectory based upon our current regulatory system is at serious risk of underdelivering.

• The current NatHERS systems favours high upfront carbon buildings with longer carbon payback periods

• We’re stuffed if we don’t change very soon!

• Passivhaus is an accurate and reliable global standard

• NatHERS is no guarantee of a comfortable, healthy home

• Poorer performance can be offset more photovoltaic panels however this increases upfront carbon

• Offsetting is not the answer. #efficiencyfirst is key – with proven performance of a home that is lower in operational-energy and lower in embodied-energy



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