Light House Architecture & Science
Designing and building, cost-effective, high-performance homes: lessons learned
A reflection on 10 years and 100+ projects in the sustainable housing space in Canberra. Two approaches dominate in high-performance housing: solar passive design and Passivhaus. The benefits of Passivhaus can be substantial but the upfront costs outweigh the reductions in energy use. A traditional solar passive approach is not as costly to implement, but on its own is insufficient to guarantee a high-performance home. Using climate-specific scientific modelling at the design stage and scientific testing at the construction stage, we create affordable high-performance homes. Important factors include design for climate, glazing, insulation, airtightness, ventilation, moisture control and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Edwards is the sole owner and director of Light House Architecture and Science, a multi-award-winning practice that integrates science into the design process to deliver highly efficient and sustainable homes in the Canberra region. She is not an architect. Jenny has a Masters degree in science and is an ACT licensed Building Energy Efficiency Assessor. She has been doing theoretical energy efficiency testing of designs using thermal performance simulation software, and physical building-envelope testing of built projects, since 2009 (and is very proud of her thermal camera and blower door).
With over 100 projects in Canberra, Light House has demonstrated that there is growing demand for smaller, smarter, sustainable housing. Edwards and her team are also passionate about communicating the science and architecture of sustainable housing to a broad audience, and they regularly participate in educational and public awareness-raising events. In June 2019, Edwards was awarded the Clem Cummings Medal by the ACT branch of the Institute of Architects in recognition of her contributions to architecture and the built environment. In 2015, she won the 'Outstanding in Industry' award from the ACT branch of the National Association of Women in Construction. Last year her personal home won the national HIA GreenSmart Sustainable Home of the Year award. Edwards is very big on walking the talk.