We are passionate about & actively work to encourage, participate in & support sustainable building & living. We believe well designed buildings with sustainable construction including aspects of community living, contribute towards healthy lifestyles for us & our environment.
Well Designed Buildings – are sustainably designed; energy & cost effective while being beautiful, comfortable & practical. They meet the needs of their occupants while being responsive to their natural surroundings. They incorporate many design considerations such as passive design elements of solar & cross ventilation, thermal mass & insulation, embodied energy, water management & energy use.
Community Living – ‘a single twig breaks but a bundle of twigs can support a home’ – We all need support, encouragement, a ‘shoulder to cry on’ or someone to share our day or a laugh with. When we come together in community we are generally more effective, happier & healthier. When we live in community we can find a sense of belonging & connection, security & interaction, friendship & cooperation, sharing of resources, competition & sometimes even employment. Community living gives us opportunities to think beyond ourselves and hold a perspective larger than our own, giving and receiving. It’s not always easy but it is necessary… Read more
Below are some links relating to community & sustainable living in Western Australia.
DecoHousing Ecovillage, Denmark WA
The Green Swing, Lathlain WA
Witchcliffe Ecovillage, Witchcliffe WA
Cohousing: an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, recreational spaces & gardens.
Embodied Energy: the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material, which would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the ‘upstream’ or ‘front-end’ component of the life cycle impact of a home.
Energy Use: According to the Department of the Environment and Energy website, Australian households are directly responsible for about one-fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The average household’s energy use generates over 7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from its premises, which could be significantly reduced.
Hempcrete: combining water, hemp aggregate & a lime-based binder to produce a natural building product with excellent thermal insulating & acoustic properties, that is also a carbon sink for it’s entire lifespan.
Insulation: acts as a barrier to heat flow and is essential for keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. A well-insulated and well-designed home provides year-round comfort, cutting cooling and heating bills by up to half. This, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Low E (emissivity) Glass: has either a vacuum-deposited thin film metal (soft) coating or a pyrolytic (hard) coating. Soft & hard coatings are available in products for use in both high & low transmission applications.
- High transmission/low-e glass has a coating that allows daylight from the sun to pass into the house but reduces the amount of the long wavelength infrared heat that can escape through the window.
- Low transmission/low-e glass has a coating that reduces the amount of solar heat gain while still maintaining good levels of visible light transmission.
Passive Design: is design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home. Passive design reduces or eliminates the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% (or much more in some climates) of energy use in the average Australian home.
Rockwool: is a cost effective insulation material that is especially suited to high temperature insulation systems. It is made form recycled materials & rocks spun at high temperature to create fibres which minimise heat transfer.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS): a high performance building system for residential & light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. More & more the foam core is being replace by more sustainable materials like hempcrete or straw.
Sustainable Building Materials: Similar materials can have vastly different environmental impacts depending on where and how they are sourced. The source of the materials and the way they are processed ultimately determines their environmental impact. Give careful consideration to your choice of construction system early in the project, as changing systems late in the design or construction process can be costly, particularly if it requires structural alterations.
Sustainable Building Waste Management: Approximately 20 million tonnes of building and demolition waste was generated in Australia in 2014-15 (Blue Environment and Randell Environmental Consulting, 2017). Of this, about 7 million tonnes (35%) went to landfill while about 12.8 million tonnes (64%) was recycled. Minimising and recycling this waste can have significant social, economic and environmental benefits.
Thermal Mass: is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like concrete, bricks and tiles. They are therefore said to have high thermal mass. Lightweight materials such as timber have low thermal mass. Appropriate use of thermal mass throughout your home can make a big difference to comfort and heating and cooling bills.
Waste Minimisation: Approximately 20 million tonnes of building and demolition waste was generated in Australia in 2014-15 (Blue Environment and Randell Environmental Consulting, 2017). Of this, about 7 million tonnes (35%) went to landfill while about 12.8 million tonnes (64%) was recycled. Minimising and recycling this waste can have significant social, economic and environmental benefits.
Water Management: Freshwater is essential to human existence, and to the functioning of the ecosystems that support us. Australia is the driest populated continent on earth and can yield only a limited amount of freshwater. The average annual rainfall in Australia of around 470mm a year is well below the global average. Despite this, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person each year. This figure increases tenfold if the water embodied in the food and products we consume is included