Beautiful, Sustainable Building Design

McMahons Point

The design brief called for a renovation to a 70s vintage apartment which had been bequeathed to the Australian Conservation Foundation, but had some serious problems.

The ACF is Australia’s peak environmental body, and saw both the need to lead by example, and the opportunity to set new standards in this often overlooked field of work. Envirotecture was approached to design the renovation using best available sustainable principles, methods, and materials. Steele Associates was selected as a partner builder, as they share the same modis operandi.

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Project Details

The aim was to transform this cold, damp, south-west facing apartment into a light, warm, water & energy efficient home for a future tenant. The apartment would be used as a case study to assist others to eco-renovate. The subtle redesign of the space focused on making the space dry, light, and warmer in winter. The technical advances would be mirrored by a timeless but contemporary style and finishes.

This has been achieved by making an opening between the kitchen and living area, using light paint colours and pale bamboo floors. The orientation could not be improved, with virtually no winter solar access, so all efforts focussed on resisting heat loss. An understanding and co-operative body corporate enabled all existing windows and external doors to be replaced with double glazed units. This has since been adopted as the new standard for all future renovations. Hemp curtains with solid pelmets also improve the weatherproofing and thermal performance of the external skin of the unit.

All electrical appliances and water fixtures were selected for their best performance with assistance from the team at the ACF. All materials were selected to improve indoor air quality, using plant based paints exclusively, and zero-VOC MDF board for the new kitchen cabinets.

By installing water efficient fixtures with the highest water efficiency rating, water demand has been significantly reduced, and an efficient ‘through pan’ extractor fan in the toilet dramatically improves ventilation.

Winner of BDA NSW RESIDENTIAL INTERIORS DESIGN AWARD, 2008

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