The Fern

Australia’s first apartment building certified to Passivhaus standards

Located in the inner city suburb of Redfern in Sydney, NSW, The Fern is the first group of Passivhaus Apartments in the Southern Hemisphere. Utilising the ‘Passivhaus’ concept; a revolutionary way of building that creates an airtight, super-insulated envelope with 24/7 filtered fresh air, forming a healthy, clean, quiet sanctuary in the city, The Fern sets a new standard for sustainable 21st century city living. 

Created by architect, builder and developer Oliver Steele, the property has tripled glazed doors and windows, structural thermal breaks to prevent unwanted heat transfer and solar power with smart metering. Comprising of 11 one-bedroom, ‘next-gen’ serviced apartments, the building features triple glazed doors and windows which are six times more energy efficient than code compliant equivalents plus airtight construction, said to be 40 times better than average homes, keeping out dust, noise and insects – boasts 9.3-10 star NatHERS energy ratings – the highest achieved by apartments in Australia.

The project has been awarded two National Greensmart awards from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and shortlisted for several more awards by both the HIA and The Urban Developer. Most recently, The Fern Passivhaus Apartments by Steele Associates Architects received a Commendation for Sustainable Architecture from Australian Institute of Architects’ 2021 NSW Architecture Awards.

Certified 2019 
Heating Demand 14 kWh/(m²a)
Heating Load 14 W/m²
Cooling and Dehumidification Demand 16 kWh /(m2a ) 
Cooling Load 16 W/m²
Treated Floor Area 325 m²
Air Leakage @ 50Pa 0.3 ACH
Primary Energy Requirement 139 kWh/(m²a)
Generation of Renewable Energy 170 kWh/(m²a)

Architect/Designer: Steele Associates Architects
Passivhaus Designer / Consultant: Grun Consulting
Builder: Steele Associates Construction
Passivhaus Certifier: Luc Plowman

Read more about The Fern in an interview with Oliver here. There was also a video of a tour available here and an article on the launch of the apartments here.

Images supplied by Steele Associates.