• 2015

  • Product
    Hardware and Building

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Superpod Pty Ltd

Designed In:


Inventive thermally efficient building design calculated using building physics program in International Passive House Standard, with new supply chain and methodology for achieving that Standard in a very fast build, using prefab and long life components, no plaster, with low building waste and very low energy use during occupation. The design can be adapted for virtually any climate or country, size or shape of building. PHS is the best energy standard to combat climate change with optimum indoor comfort. It can be challenging. Superpod brings to PHS a new look and building concept which is architecturally innovative, beautiful, easy to build, live with and understand.

To see the inside of a podhouse, and how passive house design works: Access our free 5 keys video @

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  • The intended market is occupiable buildings with quality residential, holiday homes and weekenders, for baby boomers and Gen Y. Also multilevel mixed use buildings with commercial and residential including low income housing. Visually the Superpod is based on the modernist style and evokes a 50s beachhouse thereby reflecting holidays of one's youth at the same time as being cutting edge and futuristic with steel interior, new materials and savvy technology. At the same time the design allows for internal or external cladding to customise the look. Steel is an iconic Australian building material; Superpod gives a culturally relevant aesthetic to the PHS which is typically European in appearance.

  • The function of an energy efficient house to the PHS has been achieved. It is also a low maintenance easy-to-live-in house. The design is easy to navigate. For non-Europeans the tilt and turn window feature is new, and the automatic air ventilation system with heat recovery function (turned on automatically) is a revelation. Choosing to sensibly close external blinds on hot days is a known function of many houses in any event. In the Melbourne climate no active heating or cooling is required for stable temperatures, so the user has less work to do to remain comfortable.

  • The design protects users from harm typically caused by airconditioners or heating systems which may impact on or cause asthma, lung or breathing problems, colds and flus. Humidity is controlled as well increasing human health. The design exceeds all building standards and can obtain an energy rating of 8.7. Use of steel frame and panels can allow Superpod to thrive in remote and harsh environments where traditional construction fails (including termite ridden and cyclonic environments). Even the wiring is better protected behind steel than in a plaster wall which can deterioriate in some Australian contexts.

  • Sustainability best practice must start with an energy efficient building envelope. Much building design seeking sustainability outcomes ignores the building envelope and focusses on poorly estimated passive solar principles and add-ons like solar power. The PHS is the ultimate goal where the building actually uses very little power and automatically stays comfortable inside regardless of outdoor weather. Building materials used are recyclable (steel is cradle to cradle), long life, and the typical building waste and constant site trips is avoided. Little ongoing maintenance. PHS can slow down climate change: 1/3 of the world's carbon emissions are from buildings' energy use. Superpod makes PHS accessible.

    High quality prefabricated components include pre-painted steel panels with a welcoming finish and steel frame, German UPVC window frames, and triple glazed glass. Beautifully burnished concrete slab flooring with a natural oil finish is continued throughout the building with no requirement for tiles, timber or carpet. Aust Hoop pine ply panels (opt) and flat pack steel kitchen units are used. The building is airtight and tested. Materials and construction techniques were new but as required for the PHS, relying on existing available components and trades and minimising build complexity.

    The project represents good value for money as a high quality, robust product with optimum performance in energy efficiency and low maintenance. It creates an easy and low-energy lifestyle rather than a high maintenance and power-hungry building. Value for quality residential, off-the-grid living, tourism. The brand embraces modernism with the functions of energy efficiency and combating climate change, with ultimate comfort, combined with a beautiful semi-industrial aesthetic in a somehow lightweight and delicate form. Superpod wishes to spread the idea that good building design should have a thermally efficient purpose, together with good architectural design and an easy and accessible building concept.

    The building design is new and original, patent pending. It appears to be the first time in the world that a steel intensive panel system with an exposed steel frame has been used to achieve the PHS. The idea of using non-structural sandwich panels as a complete finished wall with no stud walls, plaster, or painting on site; and also with the electrical wiring running through the steel hollow frame; to produce a fast-build passive house building has not been done before to our knowledge. Thermal bridge and airtightness solutions were invented. The system is completely scaleable into commercial construction, high rise, and in virtually any climate. A completely radical approach to the passive house standard.