CASA31_4 Room House includes a macro and micro approach to sustainability. It extends the meaning of sustainability beyond the environmental to include contextual, social, cultural and economic concerns.

The removal of material from site is minimised, while an attitude of ‘upgrading’ ensures that materials once concealed for structural purposes are now used for furniture, decks, doorframes and architraves.

The project represents a holistic approach to design and dwelling - memories are preserved, carbon footprint minimised and the concerns of the broader community celebrated. The existing house is retained instead of being demolished, and the unique qualities of existing rooms are celebrated.

Key initiatives:

  • The upper and lower level spaces are protected from the low, intense summer sun with timber framed fixed and operable screens, the upper level is cooled with a manually operated reticulation system that drip feeds water on to the fabric, hot moving air is chilled. This is Perth’s largest ‘Coolgardie Safe’, a 19th century low-tech system used by the Coolgardie WA gold miners
  • Windows are strategically located to maximise cross ventilation or for winter heat gain.
  • High level windows provide passive heat gain
  • The section is profiled to capture afternoon winter sun with operable screens omitting summer sun
  • All interior spaces preserve elements of the past, history is layered but never erased
  • Low energy light fittings, recycled light fittings
  • Low water use and storage, pvc cells and solar hot water systems with instantaneous gas booster
  • The requirement for artificial lighting is minimised by the placement and quantity of timber framed fabric protected windows, all task lighting is low energy LED
  • A floor mounted glass faced opening allows borrowed light in to the downstairs passage eliminating the need for artificial lighting in the interior passage
  • Low voc paint and cabinets
  • Recycled timber, plantation timber, brick
  • Re-use of leftover brick, crushed for garden beds, also helps to reduce water evaporation
  • Re-use of timber off-cuts and old roof structure 
  • Materials selected based on low embodied energy and life cycle costing

Photography by Peter Bennetts