Designing a house?  Less is more! Mark reporting: Firstly, this week we learned about and analysed different technical drawings for buildings such as architectural, mechanical and hydraulic. I got a better understanding after doing some exercises where we searched through the drawings for small details Sean asked us to find. Then, we started to think about the design competition that is due in February. The competition is to design a 10-star sustainable house that satisfies all the requirements of sustainable design. After brainstorming, we decided to design a single dwelling, 3 bedroom, two-story house. The software we used to design is called SketchUp, and then we used FirstRate5 to rate the two floors to see efficiency of our design. Since then we have been playing with the design to see how efficient we can make it . The highest green star rating we have achieved is 7.8 out of 10 so far. It is a good result, well above the standard for an Australian house, but still a bit of far from our goal. In the following weeks, we will keep changing the design and rate it until the best design outcome is achieved.   

Leah reporting: The design competition has been the main focus of this week and I am super excited about it. To me, it feels like every bit of research and design studio at University has led up to this competition, as it’s an opportunity to push our thinking about passive design. I just have to remind myself that we are designing a rather conventional family house in Melbourne that is within a realistic budget, that needs to stand up, is up to code, and something people actually want to live in. So it probably cannot be built using mud, straw, recycled glass bottles, the most expensive PV cells money can buy and wishful thinking.  As a team, we have chosen to design a single 3-bed dwelling, because we were daunted about designing a multi-residential project, but Sean casually mentioned that designing a single dwelling to be compliant with 10 green stars is actually more difficult, but we’ve decided to stick with it. We already have a basic sketch design using SketchUp and SketchUp Layout and are now testing it. Besides this, we have done other ‘normal intern things.’ We attended a lecture at Melbourne University by Prof Heidi Sinning about Cooperative Housing in Zurich that I found super interesting but I think the others may have dozed off. So, I’m not sure whether I like boring things or whether they’re just not as excited as me about the idea of a shared economy in Gesellschaft or how 20 people can live in one mass apartment without conflict. This week we have also been reading a lot of plan drawings, waiting to see if there is going to be another fire drill, and taking each other out on lunch dates to get to know each other. 

Poornima reporting: Hello everyone!! I am back again with my just started internship progress. This week, we had an opportunity to attend a seminar by Prof Heidi Sinning. It was about how we can implement sustainable, affordable and socially-mixed housing, followed by some co-operative housing models in Zurich. It was very interesting to know about the positive impacts that co-operative housing can have on the environment as well as the society. In the middle of the week, we were given some structural, architectural and mechanical drawings to read and enhance our plan reading skills and understanding. Also, we had a detailed session on the design competition. It’s all about designing a 10-star NatHERS rated house, which is energy efficient and includes passive design features. We have been trying different designs and patterns that help us achieve the best rating that is cost effective as well. Till date, we have achieved a rating of 7.8 stars. Everyone being from diverse backgrounds has different ideas, it’s been a fun-filled experience with collaborative learning and growth. Stay tuned to know more about our project design and wishing you all Merry Christmas.

(We are now off to our Christmas celebrations at Taxi Kitchen, see you in the new year)  

Thinking about incorporating ESD initiatives into your next project?

Whether you are considering incorporating ESD initiatives into your next project, or you need to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable design to planning authorities, or you need Section J reporting for Building Permit, we would love to hear from you!