Construction Underway for our Edwardian Extension in Yarraville

Construction recently got underway on our Yarraville Edwardian Extension. The team at Build Trend Homes have done an excellent job so far demolishing the old dilapidated house whilst carefully retaining the heritage listed front walls, and installing the first Habitech wall panels.

This was another challenging site. A title misalignment created a problem for the original entrance location and site access through a spider’s web of power lines created a delivery challenge.

Find out how these challenges were overcome in our new project page: https://www.habitechsystems.com.au/yarraville-edwardian-extension

Easement House Nears Completion

The Easement House is taking shape. With the scaffold taken down and the carport installed we can now see the house's form.

The large carport was designed specifically to span across the storm-water easement that runs through the middle of the site. The position of the easement makes it a difficult site to develop on due to the restrictions in place in the unlikely event the easement needs excavating. As our flat-pack system allows for design flexibility, our project architect Jon Pye was able to maximise the site area within the limitations to design a beautiful home for the family.

Find out more about the project here: https://www.habitechsystems.com.au/easement-house

Are You Confused by ‘Passive’ Housing Language?

If you’re building a new home and interested in sustainability, you’ve likely come across the term ‘passive’.

Commonly used to describe both passive solar design and Passive Houses it has led to a little confusion about the meaning of both these sustainable design applications.

The ‘passive’ reference in both passive solar design and Passive House design refers to designing in ways that will keep you comfortable without you needing to think about it or perform any kind of action.

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Exciting Progress from McCrae

The roof was installed at our McCrae job last week, all in a days work thanks to Craig and his team at Individual Builders who are doing an excellent job and making it look very easy.

The images below show the before and after shots of the roof and the guys working on the interior after the roof install.

Things are moving quickly here now and it’s great watching it progress thanks to Craig and his regular photo updates.

Read more about the project here.

Photos courtesy of Individual Builders.

Official Finalist for the Sustainability Awards 2019!

We are proud to announce Mullum Creek House is an official finalist in the Prefab & Modular category for the Sustainability Awards this year.

Mullum Creek House is a project we are very proud of. The clients approached us based on our proven thermal performance and high quality homes. We designed and built their dream home using our flat-pack wall panel system, producing a highly insulated and sealed home approaching Passivhaus standards.

Well done to everyone involved and our amazing clients.

Find out more about the awards here: https://www.sustainablebuildingawards.com.au/

Great Turnout for Canberra Sustainable House Day!

Canberra Passive House was a huge success at Sustainable House Day last week with nearly 350 people in attendance.

Jon from our office was pleased with the turnout and enjoyed speaking to a range of well informed visitors.

Our clients have been monitoring the internal temperature since moving in 4 months ago and to date it has not dropped below 21 degrees, even through the coldest months of the year, and WITHOUT ANY ACTIVE HEATING SYSTEM in use.

Find out more about the project here.

Flat-pack your house? Why modular and prefabricated construction is the future of housing

The housing sector, along with coal fired electricity generation, remains one of the last bastions where 200 year old technologies are regularly used in the 21st Century.

Not much difference between old and modern framing methods.

By comparison, and driven by manufacturing technologies, the way we get around has changed a lot more over a similar timescale.

What sort of homes should we be investing in?

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Strike for Climate This Friday!

This Friday will mark a significant day of global solidarity for the climate crisis. We’ll be showing our support and taking to the streets to join school students across the world for the global climate strike.

We have pledged our support with the Not Business as Usual campaign who support employees who want to join the climate strike. Almost 1,000 other Australian businesses have already signed up, join us and pledge your support at notbusinessasusual.co.

Join us in Melbourne 2pm Friday 20 September in Treasury Gardens.

We Scientists Must Rise Up To Prevent The Climate Crisis. Words Aren’t Enough

We thought this article in The Guardian on the weekend puts forward an interesting and valid case for scientists to get more involved in activism. The authors, who are scientists themselves, argue our governments can no longer be relied upon to develop policies in a rational way based on scientific facts and give a good summary of recent developments in global climate activism, including the Extinction Rebellion.

Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/06/scientists-climate-crisis-activism-extinction-rebellion

Update from The Modern Victorian

We were delighted to see the roof was on and the windows being fitted at The Modern Victorian.

The enclosed balcony was also taking shape. This north facing balcony will provide good solar gains to the first floor, as well as the ground floor through a void between the two levels linking the open plan kitchen and living area with the upstairs second living mezzanine.

The curvilinear forms, which are seen throughout the project, will make this an eye-catching house.

More info on the project can be found here.

A Beautiful Day in McCrae

The sun made a welcome appearance during our site visit at The Lookout in McCrae. The ground floor panels have all been installed and the first floor framing is in progress.

The clients were able to appreciate for the first time the internal spaces within their new home and to see how those spaces were designed to optimise the panoramic views over the bay. The client’s were also very happy with their large cantilevered effect balcony, which required extensive steel framing that we usually avoid for our projects, but the resulting views will be well worth it.

Find out more about the project here.

Looking Good at Thornbury Courtyard House

Despite the poor weather Thornbury Courtyard House was looking good for the final walk-through with the clients, who are very excited to move in. Tony Dwyer and the team at Dwyer Constructions did an outstanding job on this house, we are very pleased with the result.

With a 7.5 star energy rating and Passive House low energy performance we are really interested to see how low the running costs will be, especially with their 14kW PV system and a high efficiency hot water heat pump.

More info regarding the project can be found here.

A Step in the Right Direction for Energy Efficient Housing

The State and Territory Building Ministers met recently at the Building Ministers forum and agreed to the development of enhanced energy efficient provisions for new residential buildings in the National Construction Code. This is an important step in the right direction for an industry that is still building way below the minimum energy standards set for most developed countries, accounting for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Building new homes that are less reliant on energy to maintain a safe and comfortable temperature will ultimately lower energy bills for consumers, improve resilience to extreme weather conditions and deliver low-cost emission reductions.

Hopefully we will hear more soon from the Australian Building Codes Board on their recommendations.

Another Update from our Brunswick East Job

The walls have all been installed and half the roof is already on for our collaborative project with Ben Callery Architects in Brunswick East. The steel portal frame in the last photo is the only bit of steel in the project and will support a wall of glazing to maximise passive solar gains from the north.

More photos to come.

Construction Has Started At The Modern Victorian

We were very pleased to stand on the first floor of our project in Port Melbourne this morning.

David and Mat and their crew at Straightline Carpentry are doing a great job and their hard work on our Habitech system is ensuring rapid progress on site.

In contrast with conventional framing methods, our client is pleased with how quickly the panels have afforded an accurate sense of the space, light, enclosure and views that will be enjoyed in the finished home. Here are some photos from our visit with the pre-painted upper storey panels and fire rated boundary wall about to be installed with roof to follow next week.

Click here to find out more about the project.

It's about Consumption not Cost

There’s no denying that the price of electricity in Australia has increased but when compared to other countries it isn’t that high, according to an article published by The Fifth Estate recently. There are many countries, such as Denmark and Germany, that are paying a lot more.

The article finds that it’s not the cost of energy that is disproportionate in Australia it’s actually the consumption. With an average household in Australia using 6839 kWh compared to 3079 kWh in Germany, 3944 kWh in Spain, and 2432 kWh in Italy.

Low electricity cost stimulates more consumption as there is less incentive to conserve. In other parts of the world there’s a lot of investment in energy saving, houses are increasingly well-insulated, and double or even triple glazing is standard. But in Australia, house insulation is still relatively rare, double-glazing is avoided and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems run at full speed summer and winter.

This means the total price Australian households pay for electricity is indeed high; but not because of a high per kilowatt price, but because of inappropriately high overall consumption of energy, which is only stimulated by not so high prices.

Read the full article here: https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/energy-lead/energy/the-real-price-of-energy-and-its-cost-to-us/

Thornbury Courtyard House Nearing Completion

We are very pleased to see our Thornbury Courtyard house progressing towards completion.

The tilers and painters are busy and soon we will see the house without all the dust covers and floor protection.

In particular we are looking forward to seeing plywood window reveals and plywood linings to bedroom headboard walls, as well as stylish black concrete to complement the colour palette of the home.

We look froward to sharing photos of the completed home at the end of July.

Brunswick East Making Fast Progress

The wall panels at our collaborative project with Ben Callery Architects in Brunswick East have been installed smoothly, with two days work getting up the majority of the external walls.

The remaining panels will be fitted to a steel portal frame that will be erected around the north facing living room windows. A raised roof form over the living areas will then be completed prior to the roof panels being installed.

More photo updates to come soon.