Designer: Ashley Beaumont, Beaumont Concepts
Project: Eco Balanced 1
Location: Wonthaggi, VIC
A weekender in Wonthaggi raising the bar for sustainable design is in the running for a prestigious Victorian award, thanks to its significant eco-credentials.
The project, which has been entered in the ‘Best Environmentally Sustainability Design – Residential’ and the ‘Residential Design – Under $300,000 Construction Cost’ categories in the 2014 BDAV Building Design Awards, is a concept building that is aimed at demonstrating the possibility of using practical construction materials to build a highly efficient and sustainable home.
Designer Ashley Beaumont, of Wonthaggi building design firm Beaumont Concepts, said the building used the principles of passive solar design to maximise the site’s sustainability and minimise the need for occupants to draw on external energy sources.
The compact design is based on a type of plantation timber which is more sustainable off-the-mark than common construction materials like steel or concrete that uses a high amount of energy to produce. The exterior is formed from zero carbon Weatherflex cladding.
These lightweight materials combined with Earthwool insulation and double-glazed windows for easy temperature control, as well as a 2kw photo voltaic solar power system and a 3000 litre water tank, mean the home can run with near full self sufficiency.
The building, dubbed ‘Eco Balanced 1’, has an 8-Star efficiency rating, meaning it has a high level of in- built sustainability. According to Mr Beaumont, an 8-Star rated building is rare in the area, but shows what can be achieved in terms of building cost-effective and environmentally-friendly homes.
“The main thing is the 8-Star rating, which is two above the 6-Star minimum. We have got double glazing, insulation through the walls floors and ceilings, water tanks, grey water, solar-powered hot water and solar panels, so it’s basically self-sufficient,” Mr Beaumont said.
“We addressed the orientation to ensure rooms maximised winter sun and minimised winter sun. For example, ensuring a bedroom faced north with a large roof overhang to protect from the summer sun as well as other key spaces in the west side of the house needing protection from the summer sun.
“With the interior, we tried to get as many chemicals out of the house as possible so there’s low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, low chemical flooring, LED lights, ceiling fans, cross flow ventilation, highly rated plumbing fixtures, a compost bin and no MDF in the construction.”
Mr Beaumont, who was awarded by BDAV in 2010 for his work in sustainable building design, specialises in eco homes, but says all good projects should revolve around the client’s sense of style.
“We get a detailed design brief from our clients before we start their home design,” he said.
“We get all their ideas and then we harness those ideas and make suggestions around the sustainability we can incorporate.
“Occasionally you get a client open to all your ideas but a lot of the time they have their minds set on some type of style, so it’s about delivering what they are asking for and adding sustainability in the mix.”
This project has also been nominated for the BDAV’s People Choice Award in the 2014 BDAV Building Design Awards. Voting is now open at bdav.org.au and closes 10am on Monday 14 July 2014. The award will be presented at the BDAV Annual Dinner on Saturday 26 July 2014.