Sustainable display home proposed for Buderim is to be a modest and affordable renovation of an existing low set brick veneer house, and it is intended to be environmentally friendly. The refurbishment will be contemporary and appealing to the mass market, but also affordable and achievable. Last year on the Sunshine Coast owners of the large pool of existing housing spent almost $100 million on renovation.
Houses are environmentally unfriendly for 3 broad reasons :
- Collectively destroying habitat or fracturing ecosystems on housing lots, or with service routes accessing the site such as main roads,
- Using materials which have caused environmental harm elsewhere such as timbers that have been chopped out of protected rainforest, or materials that require an enormous amount of energy in their production,
- Ongoing inefficient consumption of energy and resources for maintaining comfort levels, such as with air conditioning. The project is part of the Year of the Built Environment (YBE) Sustainable Display Homes Program, for which there are over 25 projects proposed throughout Queensland. These projects are critically reviewed, documented and then advertised on the YBE Web site. The project is being designed by Adrian Just from Archicology Architects, and funded by the Downes Survey Group, with product support from a wide range of major suppliers. The Sunshine Coast Environment Council will be manning the house over a six month period to assist in community education through open houses and workshops.
This project involves the refurbishment and extension of an existing low set brick veneer house and detached single skin brick garage. It is being privately funded as :
- a demonstration home open to the public for 6 months, and
- the refurbishment of a dwelling that will be sold on the open market and is expected to give an economic return, and
- part of a water balance study to encompass the small subdivision under its environmental covenant. The exercise is remaking the house to be credibly sustainable for its second life over the next 30 or so years. The main design strategies, which support social, environmental and economic criteria, are :
- To make the strategic decision to recycle the building as a whole,
- To incorporate passive design principles,
- To make use of ‘off the shelf’ environmentally friendly building products.
This project has the potential for a very high repeat value of environmental education because it is relevant to the large amount of existing housing stock, and because it is achievable to the average householder. The house is also designed to meet the Smart Housing guidelines of the
Queensland Government, which address not only environmental issues but considerations that ensure housing is safer, long lasting, user friendly and accessible.
Features of short term or immediate Environmental Sustainability incorporated into the house include a response to site conditions, maximising any redeeming features of the existing house, passive design, planning and layout, energy consumption, waste management, recycling, water management, and indoor air quality.
The passive design reconfigures some of the internal rooms and adds a second layer around the N and E sides of the building. This creates outdoor covered spaces and links them with indoor living spaces. Altering some of the roof profile to suit the clerestory roof of the extension, adds volume to the spaces giving better air circulation, space for the heated air to rise and escape, opportunity to catch the cooling sea breezes and draw them through the house, and to let in some winter sun.
The shape of openings and the type of construction cg mass or light weight have been varied to maximise orientation in both warmer summer months and colder winter months.
Environmental Sustainability includes recycling the building as a whole, embodied energy flexible design and durability.
Giving the building a second life was the first strategic decision. In our consumerist society whole buildings are often demolished, only to be replaced with another building.
This particular house has already consumed an enormous amount of energy in the making of concrete and bricks. One of the principal benefits of these mass materials are their longevity, so while these are still stable and Si I in place it is prudent to reuse these basic building materials as they sit. Further substantial energy would be wasted if 11 these materials had to be demolished, transported, recycled and reused.
The construction budget for the exercise is meant to be realistically within the expectations of a modern refurbishment for a family. This project demonstrates that normal public infrastructure such as sewerage and water supply can be dealt with on site, reducing continued running costs and the drain on the public purse.