Environmental Principles

Written By Sam Sheppard, founder of the Buildmore Group holds a Diploma in Environmental Sustainability.

Our combined understanding of some of the principles utilised in the Women into Building housing showcase are listed below.

Sediment Control

Two pieces of legislation that impact on environmental policies are;

  1. Coastal Protection and management act 1995
  2. EPA Act 1994

Coastal Protection and Management act 1995

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the legislation of the Environmental Protection Act 1994, the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Marine Parks Act 2004, the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 and the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.

The Coastal protection and management act 1995 is achieved by implementing planning and decision making. The object is to:

  • provide for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and management of the coast including its resources and biological diversity;
  • have regard to the goal, core objectives and guiding principles of the national strategy for ecologically sustainable development in the use of the coastal zone;
  • provide with other legislation a coordinated and integrated management and administrative framework for the ecologically sustainable development of the coastal zone; and
  • Encourage the enhancement of knowledge of coastal resources and the effect of human activities on the coastal zone.

It is not an excuse to suggest one is unaware of a blatant breach. The sorts of things we; as a reputable business, must abide by; are as follows:-

Erosion and Sediment Control

  • Avoid clearing vegetation and excavation until ready to build.
  • Clear only those areas necessary for building work to occur.
  • Establish a single stabilised entry/exit point (rubble pad).
  • Maintain contained area for building waste onsite & prevent from being moved by wind.
  • Make sure tradespeople and suppliers are made aware of the requirements for erosion and sediment control and the consequences involved if there is a breach.
  • Ensure stormwater gully traps in front of the site are protected from sediment run off.
  • Ensure a Builders sign is displayed.
  • Sediment fences erected adequately/correctly on low side of block.
  • Divert up-slope water around the work site and appropriately stabilise any drainage channels.
  • Stockpile topsoil within the sediment-controlled zone.
  • The road must be clear of sand silt and mud
  • The access point for the construction site must be maintained with a rubble pad.
  • Ensure concrete waste or washing is contained to controlled area.
  • Establish early (roof) stormwater drainage and connection.
  • Maintain all control measures in good working order.
  • Revegetate or otherwise stabilise the site.

There are penalties for breaching the act; you may be issued with on the spot fines. You could also be prosecuted under the Environmental protection act 1994.

To operate under best practice guidelines for the control of sediment pollution from building sites, or to gain a competitive advantage over other similar providers, then the legislation is an enormous resource.

In summing up we all need boundaries so that the majority of people will benefit from the current conditions for many years to come. With either the land or waterways that have been affected by environmental issues the legislation does not cover ways to bring back the conditions of yesteryear but should in theory stop further decline of aspects that impact on the environment within the area of the Coastal Protection zone.

Waste Minimisation

Environmental performance includes:

  • Resource efficiency
  • Minimisation of waste
  • Recycling
  • Reduction in use of non-renewable resources

Recycling

  • Life cycle assessment (LCA) provides a systematic way to consider the impact of a material or component over its full life – from extraction, to processing/manufacturing, to construction/installation, to use and eventual disposal.
  • Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life; and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.
  • The most important aspect of our current environmental challenge: How do we, as consumers, learn to consume responsibly and sustainably? In short, how can we continue to buy and use the products we love without destroying the planet?
  • We know people can’t be convinced to give up all their conveniences, nor should they. Instead, Buildmore take a longer range view of everything we make, buy and utilise, otherwise known as product stewardship.
  • Recycling means processing used materials into new products which in theory reduce landfill and over time; reduce the need for land fill all together. As we all know; it was not long ago where tyres were not recyclable and placed straight into land fill. Now there is broad use for the tyres.
  • We aim to stimulate consumer awareness and commitment to utilising sustainable products and services.

Waste minimisation aims to eliminate waste before it is produced and reduce its quantity and toxicity. Prevention is the primary goal, followed by reuse, recycling, treatment and appropriate disposal. By establishing a preferred waste management hierarchy and principles for achieving good waste management:

The waste management hierarchy moves from the most preferred to least preferred method:

  • waste avoidance;
  • waste re-use;
  • waste recycling;
  • energy recovery from waste; and
  • waste disposal.

The principles for achieving good waste management include:

  • the "user-pays principle" — all costs associated with the use of a resource should, where possible, be included in the price of goods and services developed from that resource.
  • the "product-stewardship principle" — the producer or importer of a product should take all reasonable steps to minimise environmental harm from the production, use and disposal of the product.
  • Minimisation of waste on the construction site; when ordering material such as timber; ensure that timber is cut so that there is minimal wastage. When concrete is ordered for the slab or footings concrete is not just poured onto the work site so that at a later stage a bob cat has to place it into a bin. The old adage “measure twice and cut once” should be taken into play.

The idea of informing people of changing processes is so that workers/clients and others associated with any part of the process feel that they are contributing and when you get others involved; they take more of an active role in the process; below are some ideas for changing out-dated processes

  • Materials should be retained on site and reused wherever possible to:
  • Reduce the amount of waste generated by new works;
  • Reduce the need to remove material from site and import other material;
  • Reduce the need to use new products, if suitable materials may be reused in their place.
  • Reduce the costs associated with loss or disposal.
  • Fabrication activities should be designed, planned and undertaken to optimise the use of materials (e.g. steel) to minimize waste and scrap.
  • All purchasers of materials; consider minimising waste through careful estimation of quantities required, checking of quantities by others and careful consideration to the problems which will be created in disposing waste, whether innocuous or hazardous.

After earthworks on site are carried out; our construction managers or supervisors make sure to implement effective control measures that will reduce erosion and rain impact to support various sediment control issues.

A holistic approach to environmental, sustainable and economic development is producing an outcome that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable Goals

Triple Bottom Line

Before an organisation can suggest it has achieved goals, it must first be able to demonstrate an intrinsic understanding of the subject matter. By actively participating in identifying, planning and monitoring achievable goals. Otherwise what would the organisation be measuring as a goal achieved?

We incorporate “triple bottom line” principles and the way they impact on the management of environmental management systems.

  • Demonstrating and practicing direct concern for economics, environment and society.
  • Balancing accountability not only for financial stability but also for environmental quality and social responsibility.
  • The use of materials with a longer life cycle that is both technologically and economically feasible.
  • Environmental accountability requires monitoring in addition to social and financial accounting.
  • By demonstrating and highlighting environmental responsibility throughout culture, best business practices and principles and use of longer lifecycle and low impact products or processes through specifically targeted marketing;
  • Endeavoure to educate and encourage personnel how to evaluate, focus and practice environmental principles.
  • Endeavoure to educate the public on our level of understanding and commitment to environmental accountability.
  • Support the concept of continual improvement throughout investigating new techniques, materials, technological advancements and better understanding.

Lifecycle Impacts

Ways in which the consideration of “life cycle impacts” can support continuous improvement and innovation are as follows:

  • In order to take a holistic approach and for results/product to be effective; a long term approach such as “Life cycle analysis” needs to be considered. With this approach we are considering the potential effects at all stages of construction.
  • It is also necessary to account for risk analysis- balancing environmental and financial management
  • LCA relates to the identification of environmental impacts and the associated design or planning process to moderate or avoid impacts.
  • Principles and stages of LCA that relate to manufactured goods and services are equally applicable to the identification of environmental impacts through EMS’s and EMA’s. Envioronmental management systems (EMS's) and environmental management analysis (EMA'S)
  • LCA information should be used in construction for e.g.
    • Comparing generic materials
    • Comparing different options within a particular process
    • Provide guidance in long term strategic planning concerning trends in product design and materials.
    • Help train product designers in the use of environmentally preferred product materials.
    • Provide information to consumers about resource characteristics of products.
    • Help develop long term policies regarding overall materials use.
    • Evaluate effects associated with source reduction and alternative waste management techniques.

A sustainable home should be designed and built to minimise its impact on the environment and should both respond to and accommodate peoples changing lifestyles. The energy performance of the home is a quintessential element when constructing a home that has inherent features that will deliver a sustainable outcome for the life of the building.

From concept to completion, the construction of homes at every stage holds concern for the resultant environmental impacts and how we could effectively contribute to the constantly evolving concept of sustainable living. Buildmore embrace our unique climate through sub tropical style housing by building comfortable, energy efficient homes with high thermal performance that harmonizes with the natural environment of South East Queensland.

Responding to the immediate location characteristics, the construction incorporates key design attributes to further enhance sub-tropical style features. Buildmore recognise that a benchmark process is required to ensure the overall success. It is about bringing all the elements of natural living into a home and responding to the climate and local setting.

Buildmore knows the importance of living in suitable housing for the sub-tropics. The design of a home celebrates the experience of living with open spaces, louvered windows, tropical gardens and the orientation of the home, all help to give the dweller a refuge from the sub tropical heat. Designing for environmentally sensitive features, climate and seasonality naturally lead us to look at how we could reduce energy consumption by improving lighting and mandating minimum energy efficient, standby features throughout fittings applied to energy efficient homes.

While building; Buildmore recognised how the design of the home could take into consideration sound waste management and recycling systems, water collection systems and ecologically responsive systems. While planning we have to consider how the inside and outside respond to each other. It is also important to incorporate cost efficiencies, functionality and aesthetics when construction of the design takes place.

Providing quality outside areas promotes a connection between inside and outside. Allowing wholesome and meaningful enjoyment of the lifestyle the Sunshine Coast has to offer.” Buildmore hope that more houses in the area take on this kind of design. While it is slightly more expensive than the price of building a standard rendered ground level house, extra usable outside space is definitely worthwhile. Buildmore provides valuable information on the key design attributes that make a sub-tropical home more liveable and energy efficient.

Building Materials and Construction

Buildmore place a great deal of importance into material selection to achieve our desired goal of “Environmentally accountable”. It is certainly much easier to achieve a higher than necessary 6.5 star energy rating than it is to achieve exemplary material selection, while also incorporating the necessity to attract materials at a competitive rate.

Buildmore takes into account, the “Lifecycle” of materials; as well as the “embodied energy” in the production, transportation and installation of materials and the amount that each of our material selections will contribute to our underpinning goal.

Factors affecting the type and amount of insulation to use in a building include:

  • Climate
  • Ease of installation
  • Durability - resistance to degradation from compression, moisture, decomposition, etc.
  • Lifespan of material
  • Ease of replacement at end of life
  • Recyclability
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Toxicity
  • Flammability
  • Environmental impact and sustainability

Materials listed below, are explained as sustainable features.

Waffle Pods

Custom moulded construction grade Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) benefits:

  • EPS is a lightweight, versatile, durable and economical material ideally suited to a wide range of uses, from insulation, to void fillings and decorative finishes. With minimal environmental impact when the full life cycle is compared with similar materials.
  • Lower damage rates
  • Outstanding thermal efficiency
  • Moisture resistance
  • Enhanced product presentation
  • Faster packing time
  • Reduced warehouse costs

The advantages are:

  • Saves on cost and time
  • Reduces concrete quantities
  • Provides greater slab strength
  • Improves energy efficiency

Expanded polystyrene construction grade Waffle Pods are unaffected by moisture, so no time is lost using them in wet weather. Even in the most adverse conditions they should not sag or buckle.

Accurate costing of each project can be readily determined, as well as the quality standard of the finished job.

A major plus with the waffle Pod System is that the voids can be effectively used on sites of sand, rock, reactive soils and water tables.

Timber Framing Materials

Our product of choice is Hyne T2 Blue.

This product is listed as non hazardous and non dangerous on its applicable Material data sheet.

The Buildmore team prefers to use this product as it contains termite inhibitive properties (permethrin1%).

Photo-Voltaic Grid

When sourcing materials that have a positive impact on a homes external energy usage, Buildmore aims to use products that set an industry benchmark and products that will meet our sustainable construction standards.

PV Grids enable a home to contribute to the Feed in Tariff, (FiT, FiL, Feed-in Law or solar premium[1]) is an incentive structure that boosts the adoption of renewable energy through government legislation. The regional or national electricity utilities are obligated to buy renewable electricity (electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, and geothermal power) at above market rates.

P.V devices attached through high efficiency inverters to the high efficiency mono crystalline solar panels and the power usage meter for energy usage that monitor a buildings energy needs including incoming mains, power circuits, lights, hot water etc in conjunction with the solar power that may be generated.

P.V Grids can significantly reduce a homes need for external power usage.

Tinted Windows

Placement of building elements such as windows and doors plays a significant role in transfer of solar heat radiation.

For example Viridian “Thermotech” SuperGrey glass for the glazing throughout a home has a high solar performance. Its SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) of only 0.35 eliminates the most heat.

With Thermotech; the glazing is inside the glass sheet rather than applied to the inside surface.

It is a high performance product that boasts a high visible light transmission (percentage of visible light passing directly through the glass).

Render and Paint

Buildmore Recommend Rockcote

Rockcote is an advanced architectural coasting system that was created through innovative solutions. Inherent in all the products Rockcote create is a deep commitment toward green living.

With Rockcote EcoStyle paint, you can enjoy the fun of interior decorating, without the smell, harmful fumes or difficult application. The paints are made to a simple formula, where quality and environment are the most important considerations.

  • Free of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)- dangerous chemicals and solvents- toxic to people and the environment.
  • Independent tests show equal or superior performance to other trade quality paints.
  • Easy to clean- resists stains, dirt, mould, mildew and fungus.
  • Easy to apply, no drip or splatter.

Solar Hot Water

Solar hot water systems are an important addition to the energy savings a home will provide. Solar hot water as opposed to an electric hot water system can save up to 24% of the homes overall energy usage per year!

Solar hot water systems offer

  • Solar design only requires slimline panels to be mounted on the roof.
  • Energy efficient, cuts energy use by up to 70% compared to an electric water heater.
  • Automatic or manual boosting when the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Low iron glass and selective surface copper collectors for maximum solar gain.

Solar energy should provide between 65% and 80% of the hot water for a home when a family is living in it.

Tapware

Water saving installations such as water efficient showerheads and toilets should be utilised, rain water tanks are internally plumbed to the toilet and cold water outlet on the washing machine. These installations will decrease water consumption by up to 220 litres per day when the home is occupied.

Solid Surfaces

Buildmore had previously used the Hi-macs brand of solid surfaces, there are not many comparative brands in our minds that would match to environmental efficiencies that are evident in the Hi-macs solid surfaces. In addition, Gunnersen' the provider of Hi-macs are one of Australia’s leading trailblazers in implementing Environmental Corporate responsibility into their core values. They were instigating voluntary leadership well before it became socially aware, let alone popular to do so. We salute the environmental stewardship of Gunnersens as a leader in environmental management as a core component of their corporate responsibility.

Hi-macs solid surfaces boast the following advantages.

  • It is an advanced non-porous, highly versatile decorative surface material suitable for high wear areas such as kitchens and it is available in a large range of colours.
  • Hi-macs were developed using advanced polymer resin technology. The acrylic resins act as a reinforcing agent, adding extra strength while creating a non-porous surface that can be repaired if scratched or chipped.
  • Hi-macs solid surfaces have zero VOC’s

Insulation

Factors affecting the type and amount of insulation to use in a building include:

  • Very effective in warmer climates, or colder climates
  • Ease of installation
  • Durability - resistance to degradation from compression, moisture, decomposition, etc.
  • No change in thermal performance over time or due to compaction, disintegration or moisture absorbsion.
  • Ease of replacement at end of lifecycle.
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Toxicity
  • Flammability
  • Environmental impact and sustainability

Often; a combination of materials are used to achieve an optimum solution and there are products which combine different types of insulation into a single form.

We refer to building insulation for the purpose of its thermal capacity to reduce unwanted heat loss or gain and to increase the homes energy efficiency through reducing the need to artificially heat or cool the home to a comfortable living temperature.

The aluminum foil component in reflective insulation can reduce radiant heat transfer by up to 97%. As reflective insulation incorporates an airspace to reduce convective heat flow, it carries a measurable R-Value. Insulation is evaluated by its R value- the higher the R value; the more capacity the insulation has in performing its thermal task.

The amount of insulation a home requires takes into consideration the overall building design, size, climate and whether the relevant building code requires a certain R Value to be achieved.

Generally a combination of insulation will be incorporated into a home’s design with a synergistic approach. This would incorporate design elements such as containment of drafts, floor thermal capacity, wall insulation, location and size of windows and doors as well as the amount of roof cavity. Either natural or mechanical ventilation would also assist in removing unwanted warm air in subtropical or tropical locations.

The Sunshine Coast is a Subtropical location and given these conditions; heat energy would most likely be generated by solar radiation, this may enter the home via windows or heat transfer through the building envelope. Effective cross ventilation will assist in passive design to further reduce the necessity to use air-conditioning to achieve and maintain a comfortable internal temperature.

Silver batts are extremely durable compared with many other insulation materials. Silver batts are non toxic, non allergenic and non irritant.

Silver batts are made with a renewable paper and aluminium, the third most abundant element on the earths crust. As the foil layers are only 7 microns thick, the embodied energy is negligible relative to other building products.

Home Automation

Home automation designates a practice of increases automation of household appliances and electrical features within the home. Automation can include technologies such as home entertainment sharing, changing ambiance “scenes” for different events and home security; including back to base.

The ability to interconnect and control monitoring signals from appliances, fittings and basic services is an aim with automation. This can be as simple as lights turning on as a person enters a room, once ambient light has reduced to the extent that there is a reliance on artificial lighting. Other automated tasks may include energy savings through the ability to press one button while exiting the home that switches designated appliances to standby.

When we saw the revolutionary versatility of the innovative Clipsal range of automated technology, we were impressed with how it could compliment every room in a home. Going beyond just wall switches and power outlets, the Clipsal range offers a complete electrical accessory solution that provides functionality while enhancing the homes decor.

External Feature Cladding

Buildmore aim to achieve somewhat of a composite finish on the exterior of homes. This assists us to achieve stylish aesthetic appearance.

Features of Weathertex include;

  • Reconstituted natural hardwood
  • Environmentally efficient; only sustainable new growth hardwood is used.
  • 25 year warranty not to rot, split or crack
  • Light weight and easy to install
  • 100% Australian product, so has low embodied energy
  • Pre-primed

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Thermal Insulation System

EPS provides superior levels of insulation comfort with reduced heating and cooling costs. At the same time construction grade EPS provides enhanced levels of severe weather protection and reduced heat transfer. All of this can be achieved without increasing the thickness of insulation.

In addition to providing superior insulation quality and enhanced security from severe weather over the life of the building, EPS provides real benefits during construction by giving an early weatherproof envelope to allow internal trades to commence work prior to completion of the external finish.

Major benefits include:

  • Almost eliminates thermal exchange (heat transfer)
  • Easy and safe to install
  • Long term R values
  • High moisture resistance/ Impermeable to moisture.
  • Breathability
  • Resistance to freeze-thaw cycling

The exterior of the home is a major area to focus our attention to supporting our preferred deliverables aimed at sustainable design. This expanded polystyrene insulation system embodies a 1.94 R-value—a crucial consideration for us when choosing a product to use. The EPS system is also 100% recyclable in addition to being termite resistant.

Lighting

Throughout a home we endeavour to use low wattage lights. (the cost of running a light is directly related to the wattage. The higher the wattage, the higher the running cost).

No incandescent lights whatsoever are used in our homes.

Where ever possible CFL (compact fluorescent lights) lighting is utilised.

Roofing

In Subtropical conditions; solar radiation is the main source of heat, which will enter through windows or non thermal walls and roof. Heat reflective paints can reduce the level of heat transference.

Colorbond Steel is renowned for it’s strength and long life performance (life cycle). Colorbond also incorporates Super Polyester, an advanced pre-painted coating technology that’s proven to look newer for longer.

Durability- Colorbond’s superior oven bake finish resists chipping, peeling and cracking.

Thermal Efficiency- Colorbond steel is thermally efficient roofing material that contributes to keeping the home cool in summer and warm in winter. Colorbond is also specifically developed for building in coastal areas.

Garage Door

A well selected garage door can add classic style to a home’s external appeal. An informed selection can also contribute to the overall energy efficiency of the home.

Features that contribute to our recomendations;

  • Pinch free panel joints eliminate finger jamb and rattle caused by wind load.
  • Large profile weather seal strips allow for irregularities in concrete slab.
  • Internal panel reinforcing eliminates flexing on large doors.
  • Nylon wheels with precision ball bearings and double steel hinges for rigidity and smooth quiet operation.
  • Coated in a high durable polyester coating that unlike paint will never crack, peel or bubble.
  • ThermaDoor fitted to interior side of panels will improve energy efficiency of your home by around 25%

Landscape Design

Landscape design encompasses structural engineering and takes in soils, drainage, climate, and other issues. Landscape design can be incorporated as part of the overall passive design of a home. We aim to achieve a natural progression from the interior of the home to the exterior- even to the point of bringing outside inside!

The establishment of landscape plants over a period of time is not landscape design, but is considered "landscape management".

Landscape management will take in the comfort of the residents when utilizing the exterior environment. It will also take in the appropriateness of the plant selection and location in relation to climate, soil type and desired appearance.

Water Capture

Typically rainwater tanks are utilised to capture and store water runoff; from rooftops of the home and perhaps garage areas. The reasoning is to reduce mains water usage for economic and environmental benefits and aid self sufficiency. You can use stored water for flushing toilets, watering gardens, washing machines and washing cars.

Efficient Use of Energy and Water

To help reduce household water use, we utilised water saving installations with high (WELS) ratings; such as water efficient showerheads and toilets, rainwater tanks that are internally plumbed to toilets and the cold water outlet for the washing machine

Passive Design

Passive design is design that is site and locality specific. It uses the local climatic conditions to create a home that is environmentally comfortable and that requires minimal artificial heating or cooling.

All aspects of local weather conditions are considered;

  • Maximum and minimum temperatures taken at different times throughout the year.
  • Prevailing Breezes and storm activity.
  • Sun orientation.

As the Buildmore Group is located on the Sunshine Coast we considered key elements associated with living in a subtropical environment. The Sunshine Coast Region incurs maximum average temperatures ranging from 29.1C in December to 21.2C in July. Minimum temperatures range from 20.87C in February to 6.9C in July, while generally the Sunshine Coast has 133 inclement days per year.

Site specific conditions are also considered;

  • Local noise
  • Neighbouring buildings and trees and the relative impact they have on the site.
  • Site Orientation
  • Sit slope and how it’s affected by weather direction.
  • Views.

A home should incorporate natural ventilation through strategic window and door placement in addition to mechanical ventilation to promote air movement without heating or cooling the air.

Select a light roof colour, as it will reflect more heat and keep the roof space cooler during the day. A light roof colour will reflect up to 30% more of the suns heat than a dark colour which can directly affect the internal temperature of the home by up to 10° Celsius in a sub tropic environment.

The more natural airflow, we can promote through passive design, the less mechanical ventilation will be required.

This Home should be designed to;

  • Capture and create cooling breezes and keep out violent storm effects.
  • Let in warming winter sun but keep out hot summer sun.
  • Highlight appealing views while camouflaging unwanted views.
  • Minimise or eliminate unwanted noises.
  • Utilise double glazing to decrease thermal exchange.

Small Lot Housing

As population growth continues to impact within our Region, it is crucial that we educate people about the benefits of small lot housing, as well as highlight the importance of this subject in order to sustain our communities.

We aim to generate innovative ideas that will both reflect our consideration of small lot housing but also strive to capture the essence of quality finishes.

We were extremely conscious not to eliminate basic design principles because of a restricted working area. Instead, we work on a design that will maximise space that is still architecturally brilliant.

A second story can be utilised to ensure that the structural footprint allows for incorporating outdoor living to seamlessly blend and offer a feeling of open spaciousness. Doorways and windows should be strategically located not only to capture natural breezes but to take in the external visual features of the development.

Siting and Aspect

The orientation of a home, on the block should allow for the optimum placement of a northern orientation for the living rooms, while the low use rooms such as the bathrooms can be placed on the western side of the home.

External Appeal

In sub tropical locations such as the Sunshine Coast; residents enjoy using verandas and other covered outdoor living areas.

The position of trees should be determined based on aesthetic appeal, proximity to windows and natural breezeways as well as how they will affect the overall landscape design and how they will provide for outdoor comfort.

Ventilation, Natural Lighting and Passive Design

Passive Design is design that is site and locality specific. It utilises the local climatic conditions such as natural airflow, ambient lighting and Subtropical temperatures to create a home that is environmentally comfortable and that requires minimal artificial heating, cooling or lighting.

All aspects of local weather conditions should be considered when constructing a home:

  • Maximum and minimum temperatures taken at different seasons throughout the year.
  • Prevailing breezes and storms.
  • Sun orientation throughout seasonal changes.

As Buildmore Group is located on the Sunshine Coast, we consider key elements associated with living in a subtropical environment. Our location means that our region is part of a district which often incurs maximum average temperatures ranging from 29.1C in December to 21.2C in July. Minimum temperatures range from 20.8C in February to 6.9C in July, while we generally have 133 rain days a year.

Site specific conditions are also considered:

  • Localised noise.
  • Neighbouring buildings and trees and their impact on the site.
  • Site orientation.
  • Site slope and its affect on weather direction and storm runoff.
  • Views and aspect.

A building structure should be designed utilising windows, doors, walls and passageways positioned to:

  • Capture cooling breezes and reduce violent storm effects.
  • Let in warming winter sun but eliminate hot summer sun heat.
  • Minimise unwanted noises.
  • Minimise the need to unnecessarily use artificial lighting
  • Utilise effective passive design to create a comfortable internal climate without the use of artificial heating or cooling.

A second story can be utilised to ensure that the structural footprint allows for incorporating outdoor living to seamlessly blend and offer a feeling of open spaciousness. Doorways and windows should be strategically located not only to capture natural breezes but to take in the external visual features of the development.