Turning a trend into meaningful change

To aspire to build a ‘green’ or sustainable house is a current trend.  But what really does sustainable housing design involve?  We need to avoid doing the impressive and glamorous things whilst overlooking the real substance.

Being truly sustainable is a bigger challenge, with greater rewards.

The cost of being sustainable

How much does a sustainable house cost to build, compared with a standard house?  With good design the sustainability priorities are balanced with the function requirements.  In that way, the overall cost (including savings in the longer term) can be comparable.

Sustainable Design Checklist

Here is a check-list of items to consider:-

  • Lifespan of building materials versus energy required to create them,
  • Environmental impact of harvesting or mining the material inputs,
  • Typical amount of energy required in the use of the house for heating, cooling, lighting,
  • Sustainable for the health of occupants – low or zero toxicity in materials during curing and long-term,
  • Design to work with the environment and climate,
  • Use technology – harvest and use rainwater, solar power generation, solar hot water, LED lighting,
  • Size – billions of people worldwide live in smaller homes than the typical Australian, and no matter how sustainable ‘in principle’ a house may be – if it is BIG it could still be ‘un-sustainable’.  With good design, more can be achieved with less and bigger is not better.
  • Maintenance – reduce maintenance requirements, by using durable sustainable materials,
  • Design that promotes flexibility in planning will increase building lifespan, reducing the need to demolish and re-build.

Getting a sustainable house design

All this leads to a complex task of putting together an appropriate design, and this is what architects do – but not just any architect.  James Stephenson has over 15 years experience designing residential projects which resolve complex issues cost-effectively.  Looking forward to helping you with your upcoming project.