Accomplished Suburb Living – 10 Star Sustainable Design Challenge

4th April 2019
ASL renders

Structerre Consulting entered the BDAV 2018 10-Star Sustainable Design Challenge and received a Commendation Award for carefully considering all aspects of sustainability for our 2 storey “Accomplished Suburb Living” design.

The challenge was to prepare a residential engineering design across any climate zone in Australia and achieve a NatHERS 10-Star energy rating.

The BDAV’s 10-Star Sustainable Design Challenge is for conceptual projects that combine admirable architecture with efficient planning solutions and materials utilisation.

The Accomplished Suburb Living (ASL) 10-Star design was an important design brief to Structerre as the majority of our clients opt for an affordable, modern 3×2 or 4×2 dream family home. Part of their brief involved the design to sit aesthetically amongst the multitude of other modern family homes found commonly in suburbs across the country.

The ASL design allows Structerre to showcase how a standard project home does not have to compromise on liveability or cost to be energy efficient. Perth has a temperate climate, which has hot to very hot summers and mild winters. Overshading is typical in many WA designs as a solution to control summer overheat and it works perfectly well keeping the dwelling comfortable during the hotter months. However, this can result in a very cold and uncomfortable house during the winter months. It was important for Structerre to demonstrate that you don’t have to permanently overshade to keep your house cool in the summer.

The key to our ASL design is good winter sun gains. Once the Study and Kit/Living/Dining zones received sufficient winter sun access with appropriate shading, achieving 10 stars was fairly straight forward based on specifying an adequate level of insulation, with improved glazing systems where required. Other low-cost elements included were ceiling fans, sealed exhaust fans, adjustable external shading and a floor covering which allowed the slab thermal mass to work effectively being either polished concrete, vinyl or ceramic tiles.

The design reaffirms that orientation is critical in delivering affordable passive solar designs. A lack of a good passive solar access will result in compromise on either the design or cost of build.

The project maintained a 10-Star rating based on the following shading options:

  1. Exclusion of the solar pergola and west elevation external awnings, allowing the homeowners to add these elements at a later date if cash flow is an issue.
  2. Replacing the solar pergola and 2 x Living/Dining west external shade awnings with deciduous shading.
  3. Locating a large 6mx4m alfresco area to the west elevation and a 600m shading device above the 25×4450 sliding doors device, allowing the homeowner complete flexibility with regards to how they can utilise their outside garden space.

This challenge offered Structerre the opportunity to design a 10-Star energy efficient home, and be recognised for our design abilities and expertise in sustainable design responses.  The challenge aims to raise awareness that good design reduces greenhouse emissions and household bills.

The BDAV acknowledges that although 10-Star houses are probably only appropriate for those in the community who are completely committed to ‘making a difference’, those designers who ‘know what it takes’ will design cost-effective 6, 7 and 8 star houses with ease.

If you would like assistance in improving the thermal performance of your designs, feel free to contact our Energy team today!

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