With the beautiful and natural Blue Mountains as home, many would agree that when it comes to building a family hideaway, living within the environment is a lot better than fighting against it.
This was the inspiration for the construction of the Winmalee Eco Home by Blue Eco Homes, collaborating with local architect Ross Young to achieve a 7 ½ star modern, low impact, low maintenance and low energy use family home that has just won the 2010 MBA Awards Environmental Management Award.
The pleasing earthy feel of corrugated iron and rust-painted compressed sheet walls, a floor plan that bends gently to respond to the site contours, the curved roofline and unpretentious louvered windows meld seamlessly with the bush backdrop and open the home to its surrounds.
Bedroom wings fan out from the central living, kitchen and dining areas, with the main living areas and children’s bedrooms opening on to a large covered verandah with views of the bush.
“Blue Eco Homes is very much about environmentally sound design and to achieve that we embraced the beautiful natural surrounds, were responsive to the requirements of the site and coordinated clever technologies to achieve cost effective and green solutions,” said Joe Mercieca Director of Blue Eco Homes.
“We managed a great deal of research and co-operation between various trades to apply the full range of design responses and technologies needed to achieve the high degree of self sufficiency for the home,” Joe continued.
The technologies included a clever glazing system from Evolution Windows which applied passive heating and cooling principles to achieve maximum solar exposure and control as well as adhere to bush fire resistant requirements.
“Our windows use Viridian ThermoTech E double glazed or louvre windows with Low Emissivity (Low E) glass that admits excellent levels of visible light to welcome the views, whilst having good insulating properties that help maintain even temperature levels in the home to reduce heating or cooling requirements,” said Michael Brookes of Evolution Windows.
“Door and louver window openings were well placed to provide ventilation diagonally through rooms, while glazing and overhangs were designed to allow maximum solar entry for winter heating and minimum entry of summer sun.”
Other technologies apply energy efficient heating and cooling methods, which include a hot water-activated heating system in the concrete floor slab that uses a roof mounted system of evacuated tube collectors that are frost tolerant and can produce hot water all year round.
Water is used in a ‘whole of house’ system, with rainwater collected from all roofs, screened and stored in over 90,000L of tanks around the house and UV filtered for drinking purposes. All waste water from the house, both black and grey water is reused in two systems; one which is used for lawns and gardens while the other for laundry, toilet and other general use needs.
Renewable energy is sourced with a 4.2 kilowatt photovoltaic grid of connected panels that collects enough energy to power the homes energy needs.
“We’re really proud that pursuing environmentally sustainable design principles with the use of sophisticated technologies we achieved self sufficiency and outstanding energy performance within budget requirements,” said Ross. “The home is also a warm and inviting living space that accommodates and enhances the family’s lifestyle,” said Joe Mercieca.