The Look of Slate with the Power of SOLARtile

The owners of this impressive house, set on 1.6 lush hectares in Sydney's Oxford Falls knew exactly what they were after when it came to building their dream home. Driven by their keen sense of aesthetics and love of 'American lux' architecture this home exudes the smart, comfortable elegance and sophistication of the American east coast.

"We knew we wanted to do a sort of Hamptons-American-style' place. And we found an architect that had done a place near where we used to live. We always loved it. It had a beautiful Ralph Lauren kind of feel to it. That style of architecture was really singing to us. So when we moved here, we thought, let's commission the same guy and see what he could come up with".

The architect, Tom Potter, was commissioned and presented the plans, which the owners say he got pretty much spot on from the start.

"He got the light, orientation, and the spaces flowing beautifully. So there wasn't much that we needed to tweak, really. Then it was a matter of us choosing the colours and the roof and all that sort of stuff".

When it came to colours for the house, and choosing the roof, again they were very influenced by American design. The colours draw on the soft, earthy, natural colours of Connecticut. In terms of the roof, it had to be high pitched, sleek and streamlined across the different planes of the roofline. They wanted a dark, grey to black colour – the look of slate.

They chose the Monier Cambridge roof tile because it had the look, the fire rating (the house is situated in a bush fire prone area) and the colour they wanted, as well as the thermal mass advantages of roof tiles when comes to energy efficiency. And, it was considerably easier to lay and better value than natural slate.

The other major contributing factor was that Monier SOLARtile integrates seamlessly with a Cambridge roof tile. The owners were adamant that they wanted solar power. The house has a lot of roof area, faces north-east and with electricity prices continually on the rise, they wanted to be as independent as they could. They looked at solar panels, but really didn't like them look of them. They were just 'plain ugly' and they didn't want to ruin the lines and aesthetics of their roof and home.

"We had a look at solar cells, or panels, but I just think if you've got that on a roof it's not a good look. You look like a power station."

The beauty of Monier SOLARtiles is that they fully integrate with the roof line of the house and look like roof tiles. Monier SOLARtile is the first BIPV roofing product of its kind in Australia and is all about maintaining the look of the home by integrating seamlessly with the roofline to deliver high performance, clean, green energy without the look of unsightly bolt-on panels.

Unlike traditional bolt-on systems, the impact on natural wind flow around the roof and debris build up is minimised. There is also no need to cut, grind or drill through the existing roof during installation and, being a tile based modular system, Monier SOLARtiles can be installed in any configuration.

"Most people, when they look at that part of our roof, they don't even know they're solar cells, until you point it out to them. They just say 'Oh, they're a slightly different shade, those roof tiles', and you go, 'That's the solar cells', and they say, 'Really? No way.' If we had gone with slate or Colorbond, for example, we couldn't have had SOLARtiles, so that to me was just brilliant."

They came across this solar roofing solution just through searching online. They were at the point where they had to make a final decision about what type of roof they wanted and through their online research and looking at photographs they saw a photo that looked like a normal tiled roof, but was in fact SOLARtile. At first they though it might be an American import, but it turned out it was Australian and came from Monier.

They then looked at the roof tiles and offer from Monier and found the Cambridge, which was exactly the look and colour they were after - sleek and flat with little overlap. They looked clean and neat, and when they saw photos of Monier's A-line ridging, where the ridge capping lies flat and in a straight line, as opposed to sitting on top of one another in a lapped fashion, they had the look they were after.

When it came to installation Monier recommended a local Monier Roofing Specialist to install the roof. Monier Roofing Specialists are a trained, professional and experienced network of Roofing Specialists who advise and consult on all aspects of roofing, be it roof alterations, re-roofing, a new home, or roof maintenance in general.

"Monier put us onto a good contractor who looked after us, and came back and fixed up any little issues, and said, 'Call me any time'. So we've no complaints about that process. I thought that worked pretty well.

So, it is possible to achieve the beauty and traditional look of slate with its classic, sleek and sophisticated lines, as well as deliver high performance, clean, green solar power, without the look of unsightly bolt-on solar panels. Monier's Cambridge 'slate look' roof tile combined with the power of Monier SOLARtile has resulted in a home that is beautiful looking, energy efficient and sustainable into the future.