Sustainability

Diamond-creek-118We have a strong focus on sustainability that we carry through the whole project, for us it isn’t just about ticking a box.¬†Keeping a building thermally comfortable is just as important, and fundamental, as keeping the rain out. We do our own ratings in-house and use them to inform the design process.

The most sustainable building is one that is enjoyable,¬†functional, flexible, spatially efficient and well built, it’s about more than rainwater tanks and insulation. A building needs to be functional and flexible enough to accommodate the potentially changing requirements of it’s inhabitants over many years. It also needs to be enjoyable, a building can only be sustainable if you actually want to spend time in it. At this point it becomes even more important that it is as thermally comfortable as possible, using as little mechanical heating and cooling as possible, because a well designed and constructed building will be around for much longer in its current state and needs to have the lowest energy and water requirements possible.

Over the lifespan of a building, the energy required to heat and cool it is usually much higher than the embodied energy that goes into making the materials and components it is made of. However, as buildings become more thermally efficient, the embodied energy becomes more significant.

A study done a few years ago here in Melbourne actually found that the most cost effective outcome, when construction cost was assessed with operation cost, was to build housing to 7.2 stars. This doesn’t take into account the higher eventual sale value of a more efficient house, as will become apparent with the eventual introduction of mandatory disclosure of the rating at sale.

Of course, there are considerations that need to be taken into account with regard to initial cost, which is why we always look to the most basic and cost effective principles first:

  • correct orientation
  • spatial efficiency
  • strategic use of glazing and openings
  • insulation and draught sealing

We are of course more than happy to explore additional sustainability measures and have experience integrating various design and technical solutions into our projects.