Tips & Trends: Why Choose Eco Design
As a designer, making informed decisions to incorporate eco-friendly materials, finishes, appliances and passive design choices into our living environments should be our priority. Below are a collection of our Tips & Trends on how to create an optimal living environment that is at once eco friendly and beautiful.
Passive Energy Design -Whether you are designing a new build or working within existing conditions, ensuring that your openings are properly located to take advantage of natural light is vital to a sustainable home. Positioning glazed openings predominately on the northern facing facades accompanied by appropriate shading will allow maximum solar gain in winter and reduced heat and glare in summer. Placing active living zones along this orientation will ensure that these high traffic spaces are flooded with natural light, minimizing reliance on artificial lighting. Indispersing glazing with operable windows such as louvers will improve indoor air quality, minimize reliance on mechanical ventilation and allow you to personally monitor air flow through your home creating a breezy and healthy interior space.
Strategic exposure to sunlight accompanied by clever material selection (such as a concrete slab) will improve your buildings thermal mass and allows you to harness the sun’s warmth in order to further reduce mechanical heating and cooling.
Casa Buenos Aires is a wonderful example of a living space that incorporates extensive operable glazing for sunlight and ventilation accompanied by a concrete slab for thermal mass and durability.
Appliances – Choosing energy efficient appliances will improve the environmental performance of your home and dramatically reduce overall energy consumption.
By looking for products that receive high credentials in water performance (WELS) and energy performance (star rating) will ensure your purchases are environmentally conscious and meet stringent environmental standards.
Integrating rainwater storage solutions and recycling water systems into your house and design are a great way to save this precious resource and a must to research.
Here are a few examples of high performing appliances that Share Design have previously selected: BOSCH: Semi Integrated Dishwasher: 4 STAR Rating, CAROMA: Liano Basin Mixer: 6 STAR, VZUG: Adora SLQ Washing Machine: A+++ Energy Efficiency Rating Franke: Zambesi Spout Mixer
Materials – Incorporating materials that are recycled, recyclable, durable and have a low embodied energy are imperative to creating a sustainable interior.
Demonstrated in Norfolk Ochre Barn, recycled OSB board can create a dynamic and robust cladding to walls and partitions. This material is cost effective, environmentally friendly and aesthetically dramatic, bringing character to a room.
This residence and The New Zealand Hut on Sleds incorporate plywood into their finishes and furniture, which is also another material preferred for its environmental performance and warm appearance. Austral Ply is a local company who produce plywood which that is 100% FSC certified plantation growth pine.
Furniture – Another layer for consideration is your loose furnishing. Rather than disposing of tired or old furniture explore options for renewing old pieces through a fresh coat of paint, reinterpretation or re-upholstery.
If you do want to make new purchases explore furniture options that incorporate recycled or reclaimed materials for a unique and eco-friendly option.
Some beautiful examples of furniture crafted from recycled materials that we love here at Share Design are: Mark Tuckey: Recycled Hardwood Table, DesignByThem: ButterStool, Studiomama: Pallet Floor Lamp,
Paint – Choosing an internal paint finish is essential to the indoor air quality of your home. Most commercial paints available on the market are petroleum based and are high in VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). These compounds are known to have negative impacts on the health of users with a large amount of these ingredients being classified as potential carcinogens. Furthermore these paints contribute to environmental greenhouse gases and contamination of our soils and waterways.
Porters Paints offer an extensive range of ‘Natural’ based paints, low VOC and no VOC paints in a wonderful array of colours, ensuring that your internal environments look beautiful and are also a safe and eco-friendly habitat.
In today’s age integrating environmentally sustainable design decisions into any project is imperative. A building, which demonstrates such sensitivities, is Melbourne Architect John Wardle’s Shearers Quarters.
“Located on a sheep farm on Bruny Island Tasmania, this building is sensitively orientated to take advantage of solar exposure to the North and also wind breezes. The main living areas are lined with timber (Pinus Marcaropora) sourced from local windbreaks, whilst the sleeping quarters are clad in recycled apple crate timber.”
Integrating operable louvers to capture see breezes for cross ventilation, extensive glazing and embedded insulation create an optimal internal environment all year round. All water is solar heated and waste-water is treated on site and used to irrigate a small native plantation. This is truly environmentally sensitive and beautiful design at its best.