Energy-efficient houses deliver a $22 winter heating bill


Efficient use of natural light: The ninety square metres of
flow-though spaces have an entry, a main office, a meeting room, a
vestibule kitchen, a fully decked bathroom and a separate office for
interior decorator Mrs Sederof. There is also a north-facing deck,
which is used as an outdoor lunch and sitting space. It catches the
breezes and the sun. The whole office suite, which was raised on a
lightweight platform, is all about capturing sunlight and natural
cross-ventilation. Mr Sederof says air-conditioning is only ever needed
when the temperature rises above 35 degrees. “And then we only put it
on for the computers.”

$22 winter heating bill: The winter heating bill was more
impressive. With the shades up and sunlight pouring into the office,
“we spent only $22 on heating this year”, says Mr Sederof. They set up
their business in 1980 when they were seen as eccentrics who attracted
“hippie clients with little money”. Their housing and high-budget
projects have now earned them more than 20 awards – mainly for
exemplifying energy-efficient or sustainable housing – but the primary
rules of the game remain unchanged.

Materials the key: “It’s still all about double glazing, thermal
mass, cross-ventilation and insulation,” said Mr Sederof. The internal
walls of the office, for instance, are made of 60-millimetre straw
plasterboard, which is heavier but cheaper than ordinary plasterboard.
Aside from containing their ecological footprint so effectively and, as
Mr Sederof points out, “adding phenomenal value to the property’, one
day in their retirement years, the upstairs suite might be useful as a
rentable office or living space. Hence the full-scale bathroom.

The Age, 26/11/2005, p. 9

Source: Erisk – 

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