We employ basic principles of passive micro-climate moderation, where every element of the building and surrounding landscape is complementary and co-operative in creating a comfortable habitat for all seasons. Time proven techniques from global vernacular tradition have taught us that solar gain and thermal storage within a well insulated envelope are vital for winter warmth, as is sun shading and cross-ventilation for summer cooling.
The Ecological Footprint
When a building is constructed, occupied and maintained, the effect on the environment can be gauged in terms of an 'ecological footprint' which indicates the demand on the Earth's resources as compared with our planets productive capacity.
The productive area of the Earth's surface available to supply all our food, energy, and infrastructure requirements corresponds to 1.9 hectares for each person on the planet.
In 1999, Australian's alone consumed 7.58 hectares each. This is clearly unsustainable. Through our design and building practices we hope to achieve an ecological footprint which is significantly lower than that of conventional volume building in Australia, as a positive contribution towards reducing greenhouse gas emission levels which unfortunately tarnish our country's international reputation at present.
We use computer simulation software to gauge thermal performance and determine optimal areas of glass, sun shading, insulation values and building orientation. There should be no need for air-conditioning, and heating should only need to be used minimally.
For us, environmentally sustainable design encompasses and is a balance of technology, renewable materials of low-embodied energy, renewable energy sources to operate the building, economical building design which minimizes waste and reduces cost, and passive micro-climate moderation to reduce the reliance on auxiliary heating and cooling.
However, environmentally sustainable design is not just about the responsibility to reduce energy and resource consumption, but it is also about creating an aesthetically considered typology appropriate for its place and time, and which is befitting of the landscape, of the climate, and of its occupants.