10/09/2008 - 22:00

High efficiency rating for new development

10/09/2008 - 22:00

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Property developer Cedar Woods and sustainable housing consulting firm Evoke Design Group have announced a joint venture to develop an affordable grouped housing site in Canning Vale which will achieve eight stars out of ten for thermal efficiency.

Property developer Cedar Woods and sustainable housing consulting firm Evoke Design Group have announced a joint venture to develop an affordable grouped housing site in Canning Vale which will achieve eight stars out of ten for thermal efficiency.

The $2.5 million project goes far beyond the Building Code of Australia's requirement for residential developments, which were upgraded from three stars to 5.5 stars last year.

"It is probably not the first time it [eight stars] is achieved for a residential building, but for a project of this size it might be the first time," Evoke Design Group director Jeff Thiefelder said.

While the project focuses on affordable initial development costs, with the price of each house varying depending on the size from $260,000 to $429,000, the eight stars rating dramatically cuts the heating and cooling costs of the property.

"The average rating of a Western Australian house these days would be at about 3.5 stars, because the BCA five stars requirement was only introduced recently," Mr Thiefelder said.

"For a 150 square metre, two-storey house, the cost for heating and cooling for a year would be at about $637. With an eight stars thermal efficiency rating, the cost drops to $154.

"The thermal efficiency achieved by eight stars-rated building cuts the heating and cooling cost by 75 per cent."

The project includes two-storey terrace homes, side courtyard homes with the second level built in the roof space, and single storey cottages.

Cedar Woods appointed Evoke to design 10 dwellings on the 2,150sqm group housing site in the new Cambridge Waters Estate in Canning Vale because the lots, which range from 143sqm to 270sqm, were too small to be sold separately.

Evoke Design Group applied passive solar design principles where the designs make the most of the natural environment, including correct placement of windows, good cross ventilation and orienting the house on the block.

The construction materials and methods selected by the designers also helped to achieve thermal efficiency. Insulating the cavity wall, upgrading the insulation, and using shading devices all played a part in achieving the high thermal performance.

Mr Thiefelder said there were a lot of technologies around the world which could potentially be used in WA.

"In Switzerland, for instance, you have a technology that uses glass to generate electricity like a solar panel, except that you have it on your windows," he said.

Evoke is currently working with Greenedge Project on a $5 million eco-retirement village in Chidlow, which will involve buildings that capture all the drinking water that residents will need with a butterfly roof technology.

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