Tag Archives: Sustainable architecture

Sustainable House Day 2016 in Ballarat

 

Renovations New Building Home Green Eco Energy-Efficient Passive Solar Design Daylesford Trentham Woodend Buninyong Clunes Creswick Kyneton Castlemaine Solar Power Rammed Earth Strawbale Recycled Timber Pre Fab SIPSSustainable House Day 2016 comes to Ballarat! (And it’s just a few weeks away!)

This year it is on Sunday 11th September, with a large list of houses all over the country available for you to visit and be inspired. The full list of houses is still being updated, so keep an eye on the Sustainable House Day website, and register there to attend. It is admiral that so many people are willing to open their doors to their private homes, share their insights and proudly display how they’ve embraced sustainability.

In previous years, there has been a wide variety of homes, each of which vary with their approach to what ‘sustainability’ means to them. I’ve written before about what a truly sustainable house is, and how there are always areas of compromise and prioritising what are the most important aspects for you. You might see a traditional period home in town that have been retro-fitted with insulation, double-glazing and solar hot water to improve energy-efficiency. Or a very ‘normal’ looking family home on a block out of town that is completely off-grid with their energy and water. Or perhaps a home that focuses more on natural materials such as mud brick or straw bale construction. Some homes have completely embraced passive solar design principles…while others haven’t. It is a broad spectrum and I think you can find something new to learn with each example, and hopefully be inspired by different approaches!

There are a number of homes in the Ballarat region which you can also find on the local BREAZE (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions) website. BREAZE and the ‘Smart Living Ballarat’ crew have also arranged to start the day with some Sustainable House Presentations by local professionals (Dale Boucher, Mick Moloney and me!) – kicking off at 9am at the Ballarat Library.

I’ll be there to present a ‘virtual tour’ of some of my current projects, so you can gain an insight into the architectural design process, and how sustainability is approached holistically. Sustainable homes are a lot more than just adding solar panels, and this presentation will provide some helpful professional advice about the key areas to focus on to get maximum benefits and savings (for you, your wallet, and the planet!).

If you know anyone who might be interested in learning more about sustainable homes, please let them know about this free event – thanks – I’d love to see a some friendly faces there! See you on Sunday 11th September 9am – 10:30am at the Ballarat Library. Don’t forget to register here to attend.

 

Are you planning on attending Sustainable House Day this year? Or have you been in the past? Don’t be shy – let me know in the comments below!

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder


Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. Click here to ensure you won’t miss out on our news!

 

Your Home Designed Globally, Created and Aligned Locally

I often get asked to explain what I do – even when I say I’m an architect, or that I run my own architectural practice, I still get blank looks, or people want me to explain more. I’ve met some very inspiring women entrepreneurs over the past few years, and many of them have great business advice – including how important it is to try and communicate what it is I do (for you) in one short sentence. I previously thought my ‘elemental design‘ tagline and philosophy had it covered, but it seems that this might have been a bit obscure.

I’m very aware of the ‘eco-fatigue’ that exists now that there is so much green-wash out there, so I was keen to avoid words such as sustainable, eco, green, environmental, ethical, natural, organic, healthy, earthy, and so on, yet of course I still want to evoke that this is my ethos! (Which is why I like the term ‘elemental‘ design instead to cover these). However avoiding these words does make things a bit difficult, doesn’t it?!

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations

“Your home designed globally, created and aligned locally.” – Talina Edwards Architecture

Continue reading

It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

I recently wrote this review for the ArchiTeam newsletter ‘Datum’ – the original article appeared here and if you’re wondering ‘What is Passive House?’, you can read more about this in my previous post.


 

It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations

 

 

Comfort, you say?

  • Not too hot, not to cold – just right, always.
  • Healthy indoor air quality.
  • Calm, peaceful spaces.
  • A place for well-being.

Hands up who wants a home with these qualities?!

Heading along to the Passive House Conference in Melbourne recently, organized by the Australian Passive House Association, I was expecting a lot of technical information over the two jam-packed days. There were 24 presentations, plus workshops and a tradeshow. However, the biggest message from the local and international experts was to remind us that Passive House is all about occupant comfort, and this is achieved with well-designed (& well-built) passive buildings envelopes. This might sound obvious, but so often with discussion of the Passive House standard, the focus shifts to discussions of energy-efficiency and also the mechanical-ventilation system (which is really only a small component). Continue reading

So what is ‘Passive House’?

Passivhaus Sustainable Eco Green Architect Building Renovation Ballarat Buninyong Daylesford Castlemaine Woodend Blackwood GeelongIf you are at all interested in sustainable building, it is highly likely you have heard of ‘Passive House’.

Passive House (also known as Passivhaus where it originated in Germany) is an international method or technical standard of designing and construction a building to achieve a very high level of energy-efficiency, with little or no heating or cooling required. It is not to be confused with Solar Passive Design Principles (which includes orientation/natural ventilation/insulation/shading/thermal mass etc.) although most of these principles can still play a part in the overall design.

It is not an architectural style, but more concerned with the building science of how the building is put together and how it performs.

Here’s a super simple 90 second explanation for you:  Continue reading

Grand Designs Live Melbourne 2014

Grand Designs Live Melbourne 2014

I have a confession to make…

… I do rather like attending a home-show! Whether they’re industry-specific and more of a trade-show for construction-professionals, or a show aimed at DIYers and the average-joe, I’m all for it! There is always plenty to learn – not only from exhibits showcasing new products, but perhaps more so from the presentations by leaders in their fields. Earlier this year I wrote about my day at DesignBuild Expo, focusing on “Sustainability Day”.

Last week I attended Grand Designs Live in Melbourne. It was rather a last-minute decision, but I’m so glad I went. It is basically the Grand Designs Empire (both UK and Australian versions) branching out to include this event, with the big drawcard(s) being that Kevin McCloud and Peter Maddison present live. There were three stages with presenters on all day over the three days “Grand Theatre”, “Design Stage” and the “Sustainability Stage”.  The exhibits were mainly grouped in four categories: ‘Kitchens and Bathrooms’, ‘Building’, ‘Outdoors’ and ‘Interiors’ which gave a great overview, and there was also “Ask An Expert” kiosks, an Interior Design Competition showcase of some emerging designers, and Book Signing too of course. Plenty to see and do!

Ballarat Architect Home Building Blog

Grand Designs Live 2014


 

I spent most of my time at the “Sustainability Stage”, naturally, as there were some great speakers and topics.

I was really keen on seeing Dick Clarke (Envirotecture and Alternative Technology Association) speak about the book he edited How To Rethink Building Materials. I’d recently purchased this book, and haven’t digested the whole lot yet, but was so excited (yes I’m a nerd!) when I heard of its release. It was the book I was waiting for – over 40 of Australia’s (and the world’s) experts with up to date knowledge about how we can make more sustainable choices when it comes to the materials we select. Dick Clarke is very passionate about what he does, and he gave a great overview of the book, and then showed a couple of examples of different houses he’d designed where the material choices were very different – dependent on the specific site location, owners and particular requirements.

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Dick Clarke on the Sustainability Stage

 

Regional Victoria Building Home Architecture Blog

Rethinking Building Materials

I also enjoyed the presentation by Chris Philpot (Planet Ark) & Sven Maxa (Maxa Design) about Building and Designing with Responsibly Sourced Wood. Planet Ark are currently running a “Make It Wood – Do Your World Some Good” campaign to promote awareness about consumers buying timber products ethically. Look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label as certification that the wood was responsibly sourced. Sven Maxa showed a house he’d designed where most of the timber sourced from the project was either recycled/reclaimed timber, or from plantation sources.

My other favourite presentation was Peter Maddison (Maddison Architects and Grand Designs Australia Host) who presented Sustainability: Case Studies and Principles. He showed us a number of interesting examples of homes from around Australia, which had all featured on Grand Designs Australia, each with their own sustainability agendas. I asked Peter if after four or five seasons of filming so many inspirational homes around Australia, if (as an Architect) he had learned anything that he wished he’s known before? He answered that he is always learning, that we are all always learning, and perhaps some of what he has seen has informed his own architectural practice (as it all becomes part of our subconscious).   I realised I hadn’t yet seen any of the Australian series, so promptly headed off to the Merchandise stall to get myself a box-set of inspiration!

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Peter Maddison

I hadn’t paid the big bucks to see Kevin on the big stage, but happened to catch part of his presentation from the back, along with a growing crowd of gawkers. I loved that he emphasised that “Grand” Designs are about grand ideas, not necessarily grand budgets, nor a grand scale. He showed one of his personal favourite “grand designs” which was a community housing project for single-mothers, that whilst not a grand architectural endeavour, over the years had done so much for the social-sustainability for improving the lives of these women and children that it had a special place in his heart…and that is one of the things that people love about Kevin.

 So what else is it that we all love about Grand Designs? I recently asked on social media, and got some great responses –  there is a lot of love for Kevin out there! It seems we like Kevin for telling it like it is, for engaging the viewer in the journey, and being able to change his opinion. He is obviously intelligent and passionate about telling these stores about people and their homes, and personally I love that he is an Architectural-ambassador of sorts…helping to promote the value of good design and smart decisions. He is also a Sustainability Ambassador – although he doesn’t like the word “sustainability” as it is over-used these days. But his gem of a book that I only recently discovered (and now highly recommend!) is “Kevin McCloud’s Principles of Home: Making a Place to Live” which is essentially a manifesto for a better (more sustainable) way to live; both inspiring and practical! If grand designs is your “architectural porn”, then this might just be your new ” architectural bible”!?! 

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

My new architectural ‘bible’ – Kevin’s manifesto for a better world

Ultimately we all love the stories behind these grand designs – the before and after, the journey, the dream, the things that went wrong, the innovative ideas, the blown-out budgets and timeframes – but without the dramatics that tends to be compulsory on other “reality” shows. We love this, because architecture IS about people and how they live!

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Early Christmas Present to self… also tax-deductible!

Thanks Kevin. (And Peter). Now I’m off to catch-up on a gazillion hours of old series…it is “research” of course :o)

And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “Grand Design”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

 

 

Are you a Grand Designs and Kevin McCloud fan too? Tell me, what is it that you LOVE the most about the show? (Please reply in the comments box below).

Grand Designs Live 2014 Talina Edwards Architecture

Some well-thumbed and well-loved Grand Designs handbooks… no I’m not getting paid to promote all these!

 


 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our posts!