Blue Eco Homes worked with a building biologist to create a home that would not only capture the beauty of Australia’s Blue Mountains region but also incorporate the vitality of the surrounding Glenbrook bushland to fundamentally improve the homeowner’s health. Intelligent design and materials selection were key elements that helped them meet their client’s brief, resulting in a beautiful and healthy home that went on to win two prestigious design awards.
Considered a natural sanatorium for a long time, the Blue Mountains region draws thousands of visitors each year who come to experience the temperate climate, restorative fresh air and invigorating views.
“When my wife and I established Blue Eco Homes we wanted to improve building practices and standards in Australia, as there are so many uncomfortable, energy inefficient and, frankly, unhealthy homes because of poor design, material choice and ventilation,” says Blue Eco Homes founder, Joe Mercieca.
“Our client came to us because of our reputation for building intelligent, sustainable and healthy homes. The family asked us to create a home to support their quality of life following persistent illnesses directly related to the presence of mould and toxins in both their home and workplace.”
Working with their consulting building biologist, the team at Blue Eco Homes designed a home that would optimise airflow and energy use, and ensure a safe living environment for the family through the strategic selection of safe building materials. Natural wood and Cemintel’s iconic Barestone were utilised both for the interior and exterior to complement the home’s bushland setting, while also meeting the client’s desire for an architectural-looking home. Barestone cladding was selected for its non-toxic properties as well as its contemporary aesthetic.
“For this project, every surface, glue or construction material was shared with our building biologist, the client and their doctor to ensure it would support their health requirements,” says Mercieca.
“Cemintel’s Barestone met the brief with its contemporary architectural look and because the cladding and its bracketing system do not emit dangerous CO2 gases."
An Australian original, Barestone is a range of prefinished cladding panels from Cemintel®, featuring a raw, contemporary finish that weathers naturally with the surrounds. The cladding not only reduces maintenance costs but also does not require resealing as it ages over time.
According to Mercieca, Barestone’s design versatility added a lot of character to the property.
“I personally love working with Barestone. It’s the closest looking material to concrete and when you spend the time to cut the panels correctly and get the joints right it delivers an impressive finish.”
The project was a rewarding experience for the Blue Eco Homes team, which was able to meet their client’s design brief within the modest budget. The home was recognised with both an HIA NSW Award and a Master Builders NSW Award celebrating design and home performance in a price bracket.
“We’ve got an epidemic of respiratory issues happening throughout Australia because of the chemicals used in our homes. We’ve made sure that there’s no extra cost to have a healthy home and it’s just really nice to get a pat on the back from your peers while knowing that you’ve made a real difference to your client’s life,” says Mercieca.
The family has been living in their new home comfortably without experiencing any symptoms. The design and materials are working well to support the family's ongoing wellbeing.