The platforms for the building have been prepared. Surplus rich alluvial soil, unable to be used on-site for landscaping, has been sent the properties of several very keen gardeners in Brisbane and to a landscaping company. The headaches of coordinating the spaghetti of rainwater, mains water, greywater, treated greywater and black water have begun.
Welcome to the journey of sustainable construction. The Hill End Ecohouse will be a landmark sustainable home for inner Brisbane using design features, materials and products which have undergone rigorous assessment of their environmental, social and economic sustainability credentials.
The Site The 10m wide site runs north south (not ideal for passive solar design) with a total area of 638sqm. 200 sqm of the site is riparian zone to protect the river's edge with no construction allowed in this zone. Total floor areas are: 261 sqm - internal spaces 52 sqm - covered outdoor living 73 sqm - plant, storage and car/bike/kayak garage Water Appliances and tapware fittings minimise water waste. 71,000L of rainwater storage will supply parts of the house and garden. The main supply of water to the house is filtered rain water with mains water backup
Greywater will be treated and recirculated to toilets in the house (optional to washing machine) and to the front garden for irrigation and cleaning bicycles, gardening tools and if there must be one.. a car.
Energy Natural daylight is maximised through building and window design to reduce need for artificial lighting. Light-coloured finishes will maximise reflection of daylight. External and internal lights use LED and compact fluorescent lamps for optimum efficiency. Appliances are selected for their energy efficiency. Solar power will be captured to provide hot water and grid- connected electricity to supply the whole house's needs
Material selection Criteria for material selection are a balance of: - Recycled content - Embodied energy - Local supply - Durability - Low/no toxicity
Landscape Lush plantings will provide shade, cooling of breezes, food and privacy, irrigated by treated greywater and rainwater.
Subtropical Design Through the process of energy-efficient design which responds to the local climate and through selection of materials, infrastructure and garden plantings, the principles of subtropical design have been addressed.
Achieving 6 stars
In Queensland currently houses are only assessed on their energy-efficiency. In other states, the standard house ratings also takes into account energy use for the running of the building, water efficiency or waste. We may test the building against these systems along the way, despite them not being used in Queensland. Here is how the building achieves its energy rating:
ROOF INSULATION- R3.0 recycled polyester bulk insulation to roof cavities,and a sarking of sisalation bonded with closed cell foam. Ventilated roof cavity. Light-coloured roof finish
WALL INSULATION- R2.0recycled polyester bulk insulation with sisalation of reflective "bubble-wrap and ventilated wall cavity
FLOOR INSULATION- R2.0 recycled polyester bulk insulation with mini orb below, beneath elevated timber floors.
GLAZING- Timber frames reduce heat transfer (compared to aluminium) and large expanses of glass to the Living, Dining and Best Bedroom use solar control, low-E glass. Where heat gain/loss is an issue to lower ventilation louvres, these were changed to insulating timber.
SUNSHADING- Eaves and awnings are generous to provide sun and rain protection. A drop down blind to the River Terrace provides shaded summer morning outdoor living and prevents indoor spaces from overheating. A trellis with deciduous creepers shades the north(street)-facing balcony.
NATURAL VENTILATION Cross ventilation is provided wherever possible - low-level louvres for cooling breezes over beds and sitting areas - high level louvres to release hot air - fanlights/louvres over doors for additional airflow - battened vestibule to front door captures breezes securely - floor vents under the fridge and to the main living level, draw cool air from below
MECHANICAL VENTILATION- ceiling fans to bedrooms and living areas
THERMAL MASS- concrete floor slabs and internal block walls to act as heat sinks
RIDDEL ARCHITECTURE - Emma Scragg, David Gole, Simon Boundy
PEAGRAM BUILDERS - Rob Peagram, Oliver Bergel, Miki Hall
BLIGH TANNER Engineers
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Arno King - Deicke Richards Architects