sustainable design

sustainable homes
25 Lanark Street
East Brunswick
Victoria 3057
tel: 03 9386 3700

sustainable design


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Sustainable family home in Elwood

Sustainable House

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Our clients gave us the brief to design a sustainable energy efficient inner city home on a north facing block in Elwood. The existing 70’s home was demolished as it was an energy nightmare, cold in winter and dramatically overheating in summer. Comfort was a motivating factor for incorporating as many energy efficiency principles as possible.

The entry to the home is via a bridge over a reflection pond with water feature into an airlock. The pond helps to cool the summer breezes entering the house. The home incorporates a large living room, dining, kitchen space with connected reading room, study conveniently located at the front of the home for visiting clients and a children’s playroom study. Upstairs are 3 bedrooms, master bedroom, walk in robe and ensuite. The ground floor has an on ground slab, large double glazed north windows and an expansive double glazed roof window to allow winter sun to penetrate the building which is obstructed by the neighbour’s large A frame roof. The roof glazing is shaded by a remote controlled external blind in summer. The north face also has removable sail shades which can be taken down in winter to allow maximum sun penetration into the building.

Sustainable features include a greywater recycling treatment, which takes the waste water from the showers, bath, washing machine and vanity basins, stores it indefinitely and treats it to allow its reuse for flushing toilets. The greywater system is buried underground in the rear garden. A 15,000 litre underground concrete tank also provides water to the house for all household uses. The kitchen drinking tap is connected to town supply. A gas boosted solar hot water service is provided with connection to a Greenheat hydronic heating system which utilizes the hot water in the solar hot water service to provide radiant heat to the entire home. The home is also fitted with a grid interactive photovoltaic power system which provides much of the homes electricity requirements.

The construction material is predominantly Hebel AAC blockwork which is rendered externally. It was chosen for its low embodied energy and its inherent insulation and acoustic properties. The unique nature of AAC contributes also to some thermal mass. All timbers, structural and finishes are plantation pine or recycled hardwoods.All sense of clutter has been avoided by enclosing service spaces with robes and the use of colourback glass to all wet areas and splashbacks. The colour scheme is very neutral whites and charcoal, with wenge stained timber.

Sustainable materials:
New Age Veneer in Charco has been used on the cabinets which is sourced from plantations in Europe and figured to resemble old growth timber species..
The polyester insulation has 60% recycled PET content.
The kitchen also has a Kitchen King recycling system for compost and general garbage.

Thermal Mass & Insulation:
Thermal mass is provided by the concrete slab and the AAC blockwork.
Polyester batts were installed in the walls and ceiling to provide R2.0 to walls and R4 to ceiling. Air Cell was used as a roof blanket and due to its excellent reflective properties, has increased the R rating by up to R1.0.

All windows and glazed doors are double glazed with 6-10mm argon gas space between panels and weather stripped to prevent draughts. The south facing sunspace has been glazed with Low E double glazed panels.

Sail shades have been provided to the north facing deck. They are removed in winter to allow maximum solar gain. The west and east windows have pull down blinds as well as a remotely controlled external blind on the sunspace roof windows.

Maximum usage of cross flow ventilation has been allowed through strategic window placement and by most windows utilizing casement mechanisms which increase the size of the openable window for maximum summer ventilation. Doors and windows are heavily draft proofed for winter comfort.

Appliances and Services
All lights fittings have been designed to accommodate compact fluorescent globes to reduce energy usage. Low voltage halogen lights have been minimized because of their high energy usage and the gaps they create in the insulation.

Rainwater Collection
The house has a roof area of 250m2 and rainwater is channeled into 15,000 litres storage for most of the domestic use.

Solar Hot Water
An Edwards LX 400 solar hot water unit with 3 panels and 14 risers boosted by a Rinnai instantaneous gas unit.

First Rate Evaluation
The home achieves a First Rate Rating of 37 points.
A Five Star rating is achieved by 7 points - this building way exceeds this figure to give approximately 6.5 star performance.

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Sustainable home design