The designers of an award-winning redevelopment at Elermore Vale near Newcastle made water conservation of major element of the complex, with each of the five units in the project incorporating a rainwater tank made from Aquaplate steel developed by BHP Steel to recycle water for reuse on the garden and the toilet.

Design architect Karl Ahrens of Ahrens Architects says the redevelopment is designed to provide affordable housing with energy-efficient design principles, creating ongoing savings for future occupants. The project has captured awards for medium density developments under $3m and the judges’ award for energy efficiency in the Newcastle Master Builders 2002 excellence in building awards.

The villas are also oriented to harness the sun’s rays to warm the units in winter, with courtyards to achieve cross-ventilation in summer months. A feature wall clad in Zincalume steel gives a design cue to the Aquaplate rainwater tanks which feature a galvanised steel finish.

“The villas are all constructed according to ecologically sustainable development design principles and have received high ratings in the House Energy Rating Scheme developed by CSIRO,” says Ahrens. “The rainwater tanks feed the ensuite to the main bedroom and occupants can switch to the town supply if or when they are empty.”

Each tank is also fitted with a tap so the water in them can also be used for watering the garden.

Source: Building Products News.