This modest four-bedroom home in the bush is the only one of its kind in Australia.
The house in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney has no holes on the outside and is clad in fiber cement, giving it the highest bushfire score in Australia.
Builder Joe Mercieca and his wife Merylese, a former registered nurse, experienced firsthand the destruction of losing their possessions in a summer hell.
That experience in 2013 inspired them to develop a house in Winmalee that can withstand the flames for up to 20 minutes – often enough time for the fire brigade to arrive.
This modest four-bedroom house on the edge of the Blue Mountains is unique in Australia
The house in Winmalee has no holes on the outside and is lined with fiber cement, giving it the highest bushfire score in Australia
& # 39; It is the first certified passive house in Australia built to flame standards & # 39 ;, Mrs. Mercieca told Daily Mail Australia.
& # 39; Normally the intensity of the fire is around 20 minutes – the houses in the flame zone are designed to withstand those 20 minutes. & # 39;
& # 39; They give you a better chance if you are caught in a fire than a standard home, more than outside or in a car. & # 39;
Every summer millions of Australians living among the trees are confronted with the threat of forest fires, as temperatures rise around 30 degrees Celsius and dry eucalyptus leaves become flammable.
To cope with that danger, the Merciecas developed the display house, also known as the Sapphire, through their company Blue Eco Homes.
It is built according to Bushfire Attack Level regulations for homes in a fire zone, a standard also known as BAL-FZ, which gives it the highest bushfire score in Australia.
& # 39; There are certain requirements for materials. They need to be flame resistant for a certain time frame, & said Mrs. Mercieca, the company manager of the company.
To achieve the highest fire class, bricks are allowed if there are no openings.
Blue Eco Homes manager Merylese Mercieca said that unlike a conventional brick or wooden house, the Winmalee display house could stand hell for up to 20 minutes.
However, the Merciecas have opted for cement cover – still a boutique product in Australia.
& # 39; Without holes, so embers cannot reach the house. The external material is like a concrete slab, & Mrs. Mercieca said.
& # 39; Any material used must be non-flammable for a certain time. & # 39;
This means that there is no wood on the outside or uncovered aluminum windows that melt faster than steel.
& # 39; If you are going to use aluminum windows, you must have steel shutters on it & # 39 ;, she said.
In 2013, the Merciecas bushfire experienced devastation when part of their Winmalee property was destroyed by flames.
& # 39; It was our office and workshop area that burned. The house was actually right next door and it was okay, & Mrs. Mercieca said. & # 39; It was damaged but it did not burn. & # 39;
The couple, from the west of Sydney, have been living and working in the Blue Mountains for 27 years and raised three children there.
In 2013, they experienced first-hand destruction when a flame destroyed part of their property in the Blue Mountains (the photo shows a burned Volkswagen Amarok ute that was destroyed in the bushfire)
As parents they saw the need for an energy-efficient house and they designed a house with solar panels that are expected to supply more than 75,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the coming 10 years.
Extra glazing, thicker insulation and airtight construction means that the inside temperature of the house is kept between 20 and 25 degrees, so that less artificial heating or cooling is required.
The Passive House Institute in Germany, which favors energy-efficient building designs, has approved the house, which does not contain bricks – a building material that is avoided by experts in energy efficiency.
The national fire department in New South Wales has chosen to have a high fire class.
& # 39; It is the first in Australia. We have taken it to the level where we can actually offer a house that is essentially as sustainable as you can be, while still having the highest bushfire score, & Mrs. Mercieca said.
Every summer millions of Australians who live in the forest are threatened by fires, while temperatures rise around 30 degrees Celsius and dry eucalyptus leaves become flammable (depicted are flames in Winmalee in the Blue Mountains in 2013)
Experts from the Australian Passive House Association were skeptical about the possibility of achieving the highest bushfire score when the Merciecas started developing their concept five years ago.
& # 39; They said many people tried it, but no one has ever been able to do it before, so this is the first time we've made it work & # 39 ;, said Ms. Mercieca.
Building an energy-efficient house from scratch with a higher bushfire resistance is not cheap and is estimated to add an additional 15 to 20 percent to the building bill.
With Australia's highest fire class, residents have more time to protect themselves inside.
The house can withstand a forest fire for 20 minutes, which is about four times longer than a conventional house.
& # 39; We use the word & # 39; refractory & actually not, but nothing is refractory – everything will burn, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; Certainly, if the fire department says: & # 39; There is fire, come and go out & # 39 ;, then you better get out. & # 39;
Experts from the Australian Passive House Association were skeptical about the possibility of achieving the highest bushfire score when the Merciecas started developing their concept five years ago shortly after experiencing the destructive powers of a summer inferno in 2013 (photo)
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