BPN National Sustainability Awards: Multi-Density Residential
Lane Cove, Sydney, NSW
A small residential development on Sydney’s Lower North Shore has been made the winner of the 2010 Multi-Density Residential award from the BPN National Sustainability Awards.
The project owned by residential property development company Evergreen Living Pty Limited was designed by Sanctum Design architects and Carty Property Group builders.
From the tiniest detail to the most important factors of sustainable design these houses have been designed to encourage greater control from the residents over energy consumption.
However, whilst the sustainable features of these houses was of high value during the project, as was the economic impact of building sustainably; a way of achieving both for the developers was to build with lightweight structures.
A starting point for the sustainable capabilities of these houses was their orientation. The inside placement of the rooms was a key element in maximising heat loading and solar energy. The main living areas of all the houses all face north whilst the bedrooms and garages all face south.
Technology has been optimised to ensure that these houses benefit greatly from their surrounding environment.
Skillion roofs on the top of the houses have been placed specifically to benefit from solar loading. During the winter, the roofs are able to pick up the majority of the sun facing the ground floor, whilst during the summer the inside of the house is shaded. Two kilowatt solar panels have been incorporated into the roofs and are grid connected.
The onus is on the building resident to maintain their use of these panels, with an agreement that if more energy has been consumed than has been produced by the panels; the resident will have to pay the difference, whereas if less energy has been used than what is produced, the resident will be paid that number in difference.
An operable louver roof system has been installed which gives the residents an extra indoor or outdoor room. This system has rain sensors incorporated into it which enables the room to be kept dry automatically and enables the residents to draw in more natural sunlight.
The use of sunlight to support the homes is furthered through the double glazing used throughout the buildings. On the northern side, the windows capture the sunlight from the winter but keep it to a minimum during the summer. Glazing is kept minimal on the south, east and west sides but their main premise is to retain the warmth from the sunshine during the winter and reduce it during the summer.
The insulation of the homes holds an important part in reducing the resident’s energy consumption. The roofs are insulated with colourbond roofing, which includes a builders blanket, a layer of air then a foil board on top. The ceilings, external walls, garage walls, internal walls and floors are insulated with bulk insulation bats.
The acoustics of the houses have been designed in combination in insulation, to ensure wanted noise travelling through the house is reduced. Thermal Mass, through the houses concrete slabs and brick cavity walls, has been integrated, which works to produce a heat bank during the winter and a cool bank during the summer.
Water management is achieved through the implementation of a 10,000 litre underground rainwater storage system. This storage system is connected directly to the houses amenities such as washing machines, toilets and outdoor taps.
Lighting is controlled through the refusal to use halogen lights as they use an unnecessary amount of energy; instead a mixture of Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) and fluorescent lighting has been used in its place.
Energy monitors have been installed in every house which gives the residents the ability to see how much energy is being produced in their house through their appliance; it can also help them to cut down certain areas of consumption. A unique feature of this project is the mechanism for residents to turn off all appliances which have a standby switch. Relying on leaving standby switches on, with televisions, microwaves, VCR’s for example, can contribute to a 10% level of energy consumption.
A healthier Indoor and Outdoor Environment
Recycling was achieved through the timber from the previously demolished houses being reused for the formwork of new slabs and building waste being reused; the landscape paving was created with recycled bricks, and Gyprock used during the construction was collected then recycled and the concrete was also recycled.
Finally, a healthy indoor environment was upheld with the use of 100% wool carpets which are contain low Volatile Organic Compounds, along with paints, glues and timber finishes being chosen for their low VOC content.
This multi-density development has achieved what the BPN Sustainability Awards set out to acknowledge and bring into the mainstream spotlight; a project which has been developed as a means and example in producing a more sustainably livable future for housing developments within Australia.
Furthermore, this development has proven that even the smaller property development companies can achieve this high level of sustainable consciousness; creating viable solutions and engaging the building users beyond simply relying on technology.