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Posts from the ‘Straw Bale Builder Victoria’ Category

Sustainable Building Design Services

As part of our services we offer consultation & design right from the concept design stage, to town planning applications & architectural drawings, through to building permit application and everything required to be ready to build.

We can provide designs completely from scratch, or work with design ideas you may already have.

We can provide advice on optimal layout for passive solar gain, materials and design features to improve sustainability and off-grid or alternative energy systems.

There is an ever-increasing range of products and materials that are improving the availability and choice for home design, as well as the tried and tested methods of natural building that have been around for centuries and are now seeing a resurgence.

Being able to provide design services as well as building & construction, means that we have more control over being able to design a home that has a high level of sustainability and is in line with the client’s budget, whilst still being functional to build.

Aspects that may be included in a sustainable home include:

  • Natural materials – rammed earth, straw bale, stone, recycled brick, hempcrete
  • Recycled materials
  • Natural Renders
  • Sustainably sourced Australian plantation timbers
  • Designs for those who wish to be completely off-grid
  • Alterations to existing dwellings
  • Increased self-sufficiency for city living
  • Products with low toxicity
  • Products with low embedded energy
  • Double-glazing on windows
  • Passive solar orientation/design
  • Heating – heat pump systems, solar and combustion stove systems
  • Composting toilets
  • Grey-water systems
  • Natural ventilation
  • Built to last
  • Water storage
  • Landscaping to improve energy efficiency
  • Attached green houses/green spaces
  • Creative spaces


Sustainable & Natural Building

An important core focus of our business is environmentally conscious design and building practices, whether the home be a new build, renovation, a self-sufficient property (off-grid), or in the midst of the city. Whether it be improving the environmental efficiency of only a few aspects of the home, or developing a completely self-sufficient design (supplying your own energy, heating, cooling, water and waste management).

During the design phase we aim to incorporate aspects that don’t necessarily cost more money but provide better environmental gains non-the-less, such as passive solar design and orientation, natural ventilation, green living spaces, cost effective heating systems and product choice.

We spend time researching the products and materials that we use and try to determine the life cycle analysis of products as much as possible including toxicity, production methods, embedded energy, and the end of life effects. It is now being recognised that the embodied energy of the components of a house have just as much of an environmental impact as the energy used in operating the building over its lifetime. We work with suppliers who are knowledgeable about these aspects of their products and who also have a strong belief in sustainability. Where possible we prefer to use natural materials and recycled materials.20130127TheBlock4120

We source sustainable timbers and prefer Australian grown plantation sources due to a higher level of transparency and protection measures. We aim to choose materials that have lower toxicity and install systems that are both environmentally efficient and cost effective. We also work with client’s who have a limited budget or can only change a limited aspect of their home. While a completely self-sufficient design may be impractical in the city, we have worked with client’s to incorporate aspects such as environmentally efficient grid connect heating systems, grampsspring3improving the solar gain of their homes, and incorporating sustainable materials and recycled materials when possible.

Natural building materials have a much reduced or very low environmental impact and may include rammed earth, straw bale, stone and natural renders and finishes. The materials themselves are usually reasonably inexpensive, but there is usually a lot more labour required when it comes to the build. They have low toxicity and are great to work with and provide a lovely finish. Most natural materials require some form of upkeep or maintenance over the years, but that’s just part of the process when living in, and with, a naturally built home.