Ruskin Elwood presents best practice in sustainable design and construction across four premium residences.
With architecture by Fieldwork, Ruskin Elwood is able to be run off 100 percent renewable energy. Onsite solar panels, electric heat pumps for hot water and Tesla Powerwall batteries achieve better living for a better future.
Located two blocks from the beach, a five-minute walk from Ormond Esplanade and less than 400m from Elwood Village, Ruskin Elwood has built a strong connection to the natural environment and the local community.
Ruskin Elwood comprises four premium, low impact residences. Each residence comprises either three or four bedrooms across three levels, each with its own lift, and with north facing windows that lead out to expansive terraces overlooking Elwood Canal that provides a generous space for entertaining and relaxing.
Landscaping by SBLA is designed to complement sustainable living with a selection of low maintenance, indigenous coastal flora chosen to attract a variety of native birdlife, create a landscaped buffer zone between the residences and the Elwood Canal trail and foster a visual connection between indoors and out.
At the core of the project is a belief that considered design and construction is vital for a fossil fuel-free future.
The following is an excerpt from an interview between Laura Phillips and Liam Wallis, Founder & Projects Director of
HIP V. HYPE.
LAURA PHILLIPS. RUSKIN ELWOOD COMBINES
BOTH PASSIVE DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND PREMIUM SUSTAINABILITY SYSTEMS. HOW DOES RUSKIN ELWOOD DEMONSTRATE BEST PRACTICE IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
LIAM WALLIS. Ruskin Elwood demonstrates best practice in climate resilient design and construction. The project targeted a 7+ star NatHERS rating in design, is 100% electric and is able to be run on 100% renewable energy.
The project consolidated a portion of land along Elwood’s canal in Melbourne’s bayside, which originally comprised of two terrace houses, one with no water frontage, and re-orientated the site to the north to deliver four high preforming, energy efficient homes overlooking the native canal landscape.
The new residences each have a dual north-south aspect to promote cross ventilation and solar penetration to all habitable rooms. Operable external blinds to the large balcony decks to the north allow residents to control shade and privacy to the outdoor- indoor living space nestled amongst the heritage-listed tree canopy.
The four new residences are constructed where possible with locally sourced, natural materials ensuring durability for low environmental impact and enduring long-term performance.
We invested in solar battery technology, installing solar panels on the roof, which link to a Tesla Powerwall in the garage in order to generate and store power for use within each residence on site. The solar power generated during the day can then be consumed by residents at night.
The residents are able to monitor and control the solar power generation and their home energy consumption on their phones via Tesla’s app. The app notifies residents about power grid outages and shares information about their own Powerwall battery usage and status.
Natural cross ventilation is complemented by rainwater collection tanks, electric heat pumps for hot water, high levels of insulation, high performance windows and an advanced Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system. The ERV system serves to further reduce the energy required to heat and cool the homes as well as serves as an air filtration system, ensuring the indoor environment of each residence is protected from dust, allergens and pollens.
Ruskin Elwood not only has a low impact on the natural environment, but the homes provide a tangible health benefit to residents by providing cleaner air indoors and encouraging positive physical and mental wellbeing through the emphasis on natural light, cross ventilation and connectivity to the local community and surrounding amenity.
Strong passive design principles reduce the energy required to cool Ruskin Elwood in summer and heat the homes in winter. The reduced energy required to operate the homes is sourced on site, reducing the cost of purchasing energy for the resident.
LP. BUILDING SUSTAINABLE DENSITY IS CRITICAL TO CURBING URBAN SPRAWL AND REDUCING THE IMPACT OF OUR CITIES ON THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, AS WELL AS PROVIDING FOR POSITIVE SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY, HOW DOES RUSKIN ELWOOD DEMONSTRATE SUSTAINABLE DENSITY?
LW. Ruskin Elwood represents the future of sustainable multi- residential in its use of passive design and solar battery technology, but it also represents best practice in suburban density for the sustainable growth for our cities.
Multi-residential developments that are site responsive and champion durable and sustainable design principles responsibly increase density in our inner and middle ring suburbs. Responsible density is critical to easing the demands of our growing population and preventing further urban sprawl, which encroaches on our precious natural environment and is less resilient to events such as bush fire.
Ruskin Elwood is two blocks from the beach, a five-minute walk from Ormand Esplanade and less than 400m from Elwood Village. The residences are connected to the community as much as they are with the natural environment, promoting a physically and socially active lifestyle for residents.
Another focus in designing and building Ruskin Elwood was
to achieve accessible living spaces by designing to Liveable Housing Australia’s Gold and Platinum guidelines. Ultimately this will enable more diverse residents to enjoy Ruskin Elwood for longer.
Multi-residential developments such as Ruskin Elwood achieve premium sustainable living, transforming a site that accommodated two energy in-efficient terraces, into four high- preforming homes. Ruskin Elwood reduces the impact of built form on the environment, whilst meeting the broader policy objectives of responsibly densifying the middle ring
LP. PUBLIC FOCUS ON CLIMATE ACTION IS AT NEW HEIGHTS FOLLOWING THE SUMMER BUSHFIRE CRISIS. HOW DOES RUSKIN ELWOOD RESPOND TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND REDUCE ITS ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT?
LW. There has never been a more crucial time to aspire to heightened standards for designing and delivering climate resilient housing.
It is incumbent on all members of the built environment industry to offer durable, creative solutions to the environmental crises affecting our world.
All future dwellings delivered in our cities must demonstrate best practice in climate resilient design and construction. It is no longer acceptable for the built environment to expand at the expense of our natural environment.
Each residence at Ruskin Elwood is fitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and Tesla Powerwall batteries for onsite capturing and storage of renewable energy.
The homes are designed to minimise the energy use and significantly reduce energy costs for the residents. Any shortfall of required energy between what is generated by the on-site solar panels and the homes’ needs is met by being able to purchase renewable energy from the grid.
These homes are climate resilient in their self-sufficiency. They don’t rely on the grid to keep the lights on, they don’t rely
on fossil fuels (coal, gas or oil) to create a comfortable living environment all year around.
The result is highly efficient, fossil fuel-free homes that accommodate four families within a pedestrian friendly, highly connected location that are constructed with durable materials, which have a minimal impact on the natural environment.
LP. TELL ME ABOUT RUSKIN ELWOOD’S PROJECT PARTNERS?
LW. We develop ongoing relationships with our project partners that emphasise a shared commitment to durable, high performance and low environmental impact.
Each home features Tesla’s Powerwall technology, with charging points for electric vehicles able to be installed in each garage.
The kitchens feature award-winning, Swiss made appliances from V-ZUG, which are built to maximise practicality and comfort, whilst minimising environmental impact.
We partnered with Great Dane furniture to style the homes, who are aligned to HIP V. HYPE in our shared objective to create quality, comfortable and timeless living spaces.
LP. WHAT MATERIALS HAVE BEEN USED?
LW. Ruskin Elwood emphasises durable, natural materials that are locally sourced where possible.
The bricks are sourced locally from clay pits in the Grampians in Victoria, the timber cladding and feature details throughout the project are Australian hardwood and the tapware is made by local Melbourne manufacturers, Brodware.