Summer's just getting started in Australia and if you haven't already sorted out a robust cooling solution, now might be the time to, er, build an entirely new house. Alright, alright... that's kind of unrealistic. Unless you're the retired couple that commissioned this slick number, which uses a "passive solar envelope" to deliver electricity-free cooling.
The brainchild of Victorian architect Adrian Bonomi and built from "natural materials", the summer beach house is located in Somers, Mornington Peninsula. The "passive-solar" design means only limited use of active cooling and heating systems is required to stay comfortable:
The large verandah maximises outdoor living in colder months while ample shade during the hottest months keeps one comfortable in the heat. Reverse brick veneer construction and a carefully crafted passive solar envelope provides a very comfortable and stable internal living environment.
The house itself is made from timber, plywood and recycled brick.
What the heck does "passive solar" mean? Good question.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it does not involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.
Understandably, it's simple to start from scratch when constructing a passive solar dwelling, though "existing buildings can be adapted or 'retrofitted'".
So, yeah, if you were looking to whip something up for this summer, you might be a bit late.