We’ve all heard of passive houses, but passive apartments? Is that a thing? The first Passive House Certified apartment building in Australia, The Fern, has marked its grand opening in the Sydney suburb of Redfern.

Just 300m from Redfern Station, the building features 11 one-bedroom ‘next-generation’ serviced apartments.

These apartments will feature triple glazed doors and windows that are actually six times more energy efficient than code-compliant equivalents; an airtight construction asset much better than that found in a typical residence, keeping noise, dust and insects on the other side of the door; a consistent supply of fresh, hypoallergenic filtered air delivered sans dust, pollen and pollution through Heat Recovery Ventilation; structured thermal assets that stop undesired heat transfer; 21kW of solar power with smart metering; and an amazing 10 star NatHERS energy rating, the finest attained in an Australian apartment.

Architect and builder Oliver Steele asserts that the overall concept of Passive House takes sustainable building to the next level, employing proven building physics to cultivate healthy living spaces that maintain their coolness in summer and warmth in winter via ultra-low energy use. He mentions the fact that these designs manage to keep out dust and insects, pollen and pollution—resulting in a virtual ‘health cocoon’ for living year-round.

The Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) unit is the secret of this year-round temperature control. An inbuilt heat exchanger blocks the heat in the summer and filters it inward in the winter, refreshing homes with fresh air.

Steele points out that the Australian Passive House Association commissioned Computational Fluid Dynamics Modelling, which uncovered the fact that HRV is an effective green building solution, now being enacted at The Fern. He hopes that the HRV trend will spread across the nation.

The inside of each Fern unit has been finished with eye-catching polished concrete walls that contrast with lovely timber and marble finishes.

According to Steele, the interiors define the space.