Mt Lawley House Reaches Lock Up!

Major milestones have been reached in our Mt Lawley renovation project. To date the following works have been undertaken: demolition of certain sections of the house, a reroof, replacement of all windows and doors, removal of select internal walls, installation of a concrete floor, installation of skylights, plastering and painting of internal walls, new kitchen install and a completely new bathroom, in addition to updates to general finishes, fixtures, and fittings. Take a look at the beautiful curved cedar soffit over the front verandah entrance, the new kitchen, and beautiful bathroom tiles in the images above. The project still has a way to go (including an above ground pool!) but it has been great to see such quick progress to get the house to a habitable state! Keep your eyes peeled for more photos on the progress – our instagram page has been detailing the renovation closely so make sure you check it out: https://www.instagram.com/ecohabit_/

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Sustainable Design Seminar: December 7

No matter what your project, most people are interested in incorporating sustainable design in some aspect or another. Whether your motivation is for cost savings, creating the most comfortable home, or to be as environmentally conscious as possible. There are countless products, options and information on the internet about sustainable design however it can be difficult to distinguish between what really works, what is most appropriate for your circumstances and what will be the most cost effective in reality.

 

Come join our director, Adrian Fratelle, at Home Base on Saturday December 7th as he presents on just these ideas. His seminar will cover things to consider before you have even started your project, design principles that should drive your choices, and discussing particular products and systems and how they work. He will help you navigate your way through the web of information out there so you have a clear understanding of sustainable design. Whether you have a specific project in mind, you just want to be more informed or think there may be a project in the far off future. This is a great opportunity to learn from someone in the know.

Head to the Home Base website here to get tickets:

https://www.homebaseperth.com.au/shop/courses/sustainable-design-and-build/

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The Importance of a Well-Sealed Home

Sustainable homes are fast becoming commonplace and are often on the bucket list of those looking to build. The thing that can often be overlooked though is how important it is that any home is well-sealed. Many people do not realise that this is essential in order to have a sustainable home. You could have incorporated a large number of sustainable design principles, materials, technologies, and construction techniques, but if your building leaks heat or cold then the benefits of these features are diminished. High air tightness can reduce your carbon emissions and energy bills by up to 25%. Some of the main sources of air leakage are:

 

  • –  Inefficiently sealed windows and doors
  • –  Wall & roof penetrations for piping, ductwork, or electrics, not sealed properly & reduced insulation
  • –  Air flow systems such as vents and exhausts that do not control excessive air flow
  • –  Gaps in floorboards and floor joints including skirting boards
  • –  General areas of poor construction, in particular at joints, where there are gaps in materials

 

There are means of testing how air tight your building is, which include a blower door test and a thermal imaging investigation. The blower door test uses a pressure monitoring fan to blow air at a consistent pressure into the house and measure the returning air pressure to determine how much air has leaked. The thermal imaging test uses an infrared camera to determine where the leaks in the house are.

 

However, with air tight buildings there also comes the issue of managing the quality of the indoor air and controlling the moisture levels. Moisture needs to be controlled otherwise mould can occur – this requires the appropriate use of vapour barriers and vapour permeable membranes. Additionally, toxins and pollutants can build up over time and need to be expelled from the building. There are different strategies and innovative technologies that allow controlled air exchange between the indoors and outdoors to prevent moisture and toxin build up, one example of these is heat recovery exchange units. We used this system in our most recently completed project, the Kensington House, and it works flawlessly. The exchange system draws in fresh air from outside while extracting heat from the outgoing air with heat exchangers and uses this to heat the incoming air before it is released inside the house. It can also dehumidify the incoming air to reduce air moisture levels internally.

 

There are many different design decisions that you can make throughout your project to minimise air leakage. It is important that you identify the need to manage air tightness in your home as you begin your design process. This will impact different decisions throughout your project, including material choices and construction techniques. With the air tightness of your home consciously considered you can make the most out of your sustainable design.

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