Looking Good at Thornbury Courtyard House

Despite the poor weather Thornbury Courtyard House was looking good for the final walk-through with the clients, who are very excited to move in. Tony Dwyer and the team at Dwyer Constructions did an outstanding job on this house, we are very pleased with the result.

With a 7.5 star energy rating and Passive House low energy performance we are really interested to see how low the running costs will be, especially with their 14kW PV system and a high efficiency hot water heat pump.

More info regarding the project can be found here.

A Step in the Right Direction for Energy Efficient Housing

The State and Territory Building Ministers met recently at the Building Ministers forum and agreed to the development of enhanced energy efficient provisions for new residential buildings in the National Construction Code. This is an important step in the right direction for an industry that is still building way below the minimum energy standards set for most developed countries, accounting for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Building new homes that are less reliant on energy to maintain a safe and comfortable temperature will ultimately lower energy bills for consumers, improve resilience to extreme weather conditions and deliver low-cost emission reductions.

Hopefully we will hear more soon from the Australian Building Codes Board on their recommendations.

Another Update from our Brunswick East Job

The walls have all been installed and half the roof is already on for our collaborative project with Ben Callery Architects in Brunswick East. The steel portal frame in the last photo is the only bit of steel in the project and will support a wall of glazing to maximise passive solar gains from the north.

More photos to come.

Construction Has Started At The Modern Victorian

We were very pleased to stand on the first floor of our project in Port Melbourne this morning.

David and Mat and their crew at Straightline Carpentry are doing a great job and their hard work on our Habitech system is ensuring rapid progress on site.

In contrast with conventional framing methods, our client is pleased with how quickly the panels have afforded an accurate sense of the space, light, enclosure and views that will be enjoyed in the finished home. Here are some photos from our visit with the pre-painted upper storey panels and fire rated boundary wall about to be installed with roof to follow next week.

Click here to find out more about the project.

It's about Consumption not Cost

There’s no denying that the price of electricity in Australia has increased but when compared to other countries it isn’t that high, according to an article published by The Fifth Estate recently. There are many countries, such as Denmark and Germany, that are paying a lot more.

The article finds that it’s not the cost of energy that is disproportionate in Australia it’s actually the consumption. With an average household in Australia using 6839 kWh compared to 3079 kWh in Germany, 3944 kWh in Spain, and 2432 kWh in Italy.

Low electricity cost stimulates more consumption as there is less incentive to conserve. In other parts of the world there’s a lot of investment in energy saving, houses are increasingly well-insulated, and double or even triple glazing is standard. But in Australia, house insulation is still relatively rare, double-glazing is avoided and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems run at full speed summer and winter.

This means the total price Australian households pay for electricity is indeed high; but not because of a high per kilowatt price, but because of inappropriately high overall consumption of energy, which is only stimulated by not so high prices.

Read the full article here: https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/energy-lead/energy/the-real-price-of-energy-and-its-cost-to-us/

Thornbury Courtyard House Nearing Completion

We are very pleased to see our Thornbury Courtyard house progressing towards completion.

The tilers and painters are busy and soon we will see the house without all the dust covers and floor protection.

In particular we are looking forward to seeing plywood window reveals and plywood linings to bedroom headboard walls, as well as stylish black concrete to complement the colour palette of the home.

We look froward to sharing photos of the completed home at the end of July.

Brunswick East Making Fast Progress

The wall panels at our collaborative project with Ben Callery Architects in Brunswick East have been installed smoothly, with two days work getting up the majority of the external walls.

The remaining panels will be fitted to a steel portal frame that will be erected around the north facing living room windows. A raised roof form over the living areas will then be completed prior to the roof panels being installed.

More photo updates to come soon.

Sustainable Homes Would Be A Win For Everyone

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and the CRC for Low Carbon Living has just released a new roadmap aimed at encouraging home builders, real estate agents and land developers to engage in the market for sustainable homes.

Growing the Market for Sustainable Homes: Industry Roadmap presents a win for builders, consumers, the economy and the environment. The report finds that accelerating Australia’s transition to sustainable housing would deliver more than half a billion dollars of extra investment in the construction industry by 2030. It would also create more than 7,000 new jobs and save Australians $600 million on their energy bills. However there are a number of significant barriers to overcome, as Suzanne Toumbourou, ASBEC’s Executive Director, explains “builders lack scale and face significant barriers. Consumers are unclear of their choices. Home builders are locked into business models and supply chains that limit innovation. And financiers don’t value sustainable homes.”

The report proposes a ‘Sustainable Homes Transition Roadmap’ with four clearly defined steps to address these barriers:

  1. Differentiate sustainable housing in the market

  2. Train and reward the construction industry

  3. Build awareness

  4. Broadcast the positive business case.

Read the report here: https://www.asbec.asn.au/research-items/growing-market-sustainable-homes-roadmap/

Habitech Panel Delivery For Our Brunswick East Project

Last week saw our Habitech wall panels arrive onsite at our project in Brunswick East, commencing the installation stage of our SIP system. This is a collaborative project designed by our good friends at Ben Callery Architects.

This single storey family home is in keeping with our design principles, maximising passive solar design performance with a north-facing open plan kitchen, living, dining room opening out on to a landscaped internal courtyard.

With the panels now onsite it won’t be long before the project starts taking shape.

Minimum Energy Standard Still Not Good Enough

A new study published in The Conversation finds that Australia is still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard, which is six stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) still way below the minimum set for most developed countries.

The average rating of 6.2 stars has not changed since 2016, making the transition to a low-energy and low-carbon economy more challenging and expensive with the rising cost of energy. Interestingly enough the only state that has improved is ACT, which is the only state with mandatory disclosure of the energy rating on sale or lease of property, informing consumers and empowering them to improve performance.

Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/australias-still-building-4-in-every-5-new-houses-to-no-more-than-the-minimum-energy-standard-118820

Construction has begun for The Lookout House in McCrae

Things are progressing at our site in McCrae despite the harsh Victorian winter with the guys at Individual Builders setting the foundation ready for panel installation. With our experience in modern and sustainable design, we are confident our strong and highly insulated panels will meet the physical and structural requirements of this challenging site. Once completed, these challenges will long be forgotten while our clients enjoy the panoramic views over Port Phillip Bay in the comfort of a Habitech Home.

Read more about the project here.

Photos courtesy of Individual Builders.

Catching the Sun

Our Brunswick West extension is a project we completed last year, a well designed rear addition to a north street facing heritage property.

The south facing extension was designed to capture as much natural light as possible by creating a central courtyard connected to the existing house and a pitched roof to capture the morning sun from the north, bringing natural light into the main living spaces at the rear.

Learn more about the extension on the project page here as well as photos of the property and the beautiful joinery.

Showcasing our Mullum Creek House

Mullum Creek House is one of our standout projects constructed in the Mullum Creek development, a new environmentally sensitive residential development in Donvale. Our Architectural photographer Nic Granleese went out at the crack of dawn to take these beautiful shots.

Take a look at the full set photos on the project page here or check out our BowerKit on Mullum Creek House here.

Renovate or Rebuild - A Reality TV Show with a Difference

This is a new kind of reality TV show that aims to influence the masses to think positively about incorporating more energy efficient and sustainable elements into their home.

The show is hosted by environmental scientist and Gardening Australia presenter Dr Josh Byrne and co-funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Two teams compete to convince a family they have the best solution to creating a healthier and more energy efficient home by either renovating or rebuilding.

This is an interesting approach that will hopefully attract a wider audience to positively influence change in the building industry that benefits them and the environment.

Watch the pilot episode here or via the YouTube link below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIQw0kkdfng

Warrandyte Outlook Progress Shots

Our Warrandyte House is progressing well, with the stone column at the centre of the design now being completed. The northern roof forms are starting to be expressed, with spaces with timber ceilings having their projecting eaves lined in Western Red Cedar. 

Landscaping works are also progressing, with the water system running through the garden being installed and initial major plantings undertaken.

Keep an eye out for more photos as the project advances. Further details of the project can be viewed here.

New Shots of our Hampton House Project

Our award winning project in Bayside was recently photographed by Architectural photographer Nic Granleese who captured these amazing shots for us.

To see the full set of photos, including Nic Granleese’s new shots, go to the project page here or check out our Hampton House page on BowerBird here.

Successful Open Day in Warrandyte

Thank you to all those who attended our Open Day in Warrandyte on Saturday. It was a successful day with a great turnout, thanks to everyone involved from the wonderful clients for letting us run this event, to the builder for making the site safe and clean, and the whole Habitech team including Jason and his son with their coffee caravan.

Open Days are a great way to experience the high performing homes that we create. If you couldn’t make it this time be sure to sign-up to our newsletter to hear when our next Open Day will be.

Roof Is On For Our Thornbury Courtyard House

Construction at our Thornbury Courtyard House is progressing fast. The team at Dwyer Constructions are doing an excellent job and the clients couldn’t be happier.

Now that the roof is on you can see the spaces that we have created and get better idea of the interior living environment.

Details of the project can be viewed here.