Energy efficiency

Design and construction – general:

  • 30 course high ceilings on ground and first floor
  • 3 x separately sub-metered future apartments – with lighting and power designated to each zone
  • 3 phase power installed
  • 8 Star NaTHers Rating
  • Smart wiring throughout for data and voice – telecommunications services enabled: Cable, NBN, Business Digital Office Technology

Renewable Energy and Storage:

  • 5.72kWH Solar System
  • 23 Ben-Q 265 Solar Panels – on north and west face to optimise daylight hours of operation
  • 23 Micro-inverters – attached to each panel for optimised energy efficiency and reduction of loss
  • 1 x 1.2kWH battery storage that powers all standby, fridge and lighting use at night

Solar Hot Water:

  • 300Litre solar hot water system gravity fed from roof storage with provision for 2 additional electric hot water systems to be installed for future apartments;
  • Hot water system located less than the minimum mandated 20m from points of use – <8m for whole of house;
  • Timer installed for Solar Hot Water boost in winter


  • Combination of low-e comfort plus, translucent low-e comfort plus and double glazing installed – latter to all kitchen, meals and family windows and sliding doors – refer Jason Windows specifications
  • All windows have been strategically located to heat and cool the home naturally by maximising the use of the natural light, natural shading, radiant, convective and conductive heat, air ventilation and breathability
  • Mix of timber and crushed limestone (minimal paving) have been installed to a depth of 3m immediately from any glazing to avoid radiant and conductive heat absorption through windows
  • Retractable roof installed over full extent of ground floor west facing windows and glazed sliding doors to offer protection from west sun in summer, opening at night in summer to allow efficient heat escape and open in winter to optimse winter sun
  • Shade sails deployed in Summer along full extent of ground floor northern aspect to protect windows and polished concrete
  • 600mm eaves around entire first floor building

General roof, wall and ceiling insulation + thermal mass:

  • Roof insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool Anticon 60 – R1.3
  • First floor ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool ceiling bats – R4.1
  • Garage and porch ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Glasswool ceiling bats – R4.1
  • 2 x internal stud walls: CSR Bradford – Soundscreen – System value – R1.7
  • Ground floor ceiling insulation: CSR Bradford – Soundscreen – System value – R2.5
  • External double brick cavity insulation (ground and first floor): CSR Bradford – Kingspan Aircell Permicav – System value – R2.0
  • Natural air conditioning and/or heating only – no air conditioners or heaters installed
  • Combination of air ventilation systems in roof for summer air flow – sealed in winter
  • 600mm eaves around entire first floor roof for sun protection in summer and allowance for radiant winter sun into building
  • Wall materials, insulation, polished concrete, first floor timber, retractable roof and shade sails designed to optimise positioning of the sun and wind on all walls – natural lighting, natural shading, radiant– convective – conductive heat transfer considered, air ventilation and breathability
  • To achieve mixed mass design first floor north, east, south and west have reverse brick vaneer – mix of recycled spotted gum timber and colorbond custom orb cladding
  • Sealed door separating first floor from main living area downstairs to enable heat capture and storage through glazing in winter and heat/air movement in summer
  • Provision for Pellet heater down the track if required
  • Provision for drapes/curtains to all major glazed areas if required
  • All east windows and sliding doors fitted with either block out or double blind combination – see through and solid
  • Master bedroom west windows and sliding doors fitted with double blind combination – see through and solid

Insulation innovation:

  • Living roof insulation over 25m2 of ground floor – refer biodiversity and living roof construction
  • Innovative insulation construction to optimise airflow, air trap, breathability and heat retention in winter and heat loss in summer: Layer details working from left (inside) to right (external)
    • Layer 1: Internal plasterboard and internal dulux enviro paint
    • Layer 2: Brick
    • Layer 3: CSR Bradford – Kingspan – Aircell Permicav – R1.9 (with air pocket – layer 4)
    • Insulation Layer 4: Timber frame (35mm air pocket)
    • Layer 5: CSR Bradford – Kingspan – Aircell Permicav – R1.9 (with air pocket – layer 6)
    • Layer 6: Timber frame (35mm air pocket)
    • Layer 7: The third outer layer also separated by another 35mm air pocket and is CSR Bradford Martini Polyester Absorb XDH25 – system value R0.7.
    • Layer 8: Colorbond wall cladding – Surfmist or recycled spotted gum gladding

Lighting and fans:

  • Hiaku and Aeratron reversible ceiling fans to all living areas
  • All lighting selected to avoid whole of light fitting removal when globe fails – globe only replacements – 100% LED inside and out.

Energy-efficiency partners:

  • Primary: StepBeyond, Nulook, Solar Dwellings – solar passive design, research, project management, construction
  • Electrical: Techforce Electrical
  • Lighting: Tilly’s Lights and Big Ass Fans
  • Solar and Storage: Clean NRG, Enphase Energy
  • Polished concrete: Terrazzo’s
  • Renewable bamboo timber flooring to first floor: Eco-fusion flooring
  • Steel cladding and roofing: Colorbond
  • Recycled timber cladding and decking: Mortlock Timber and Nulook Homes
  • Glazing: Jason Windows
  • Insulation: CSR Bradford
  • External and internal blinds/shading: Bozzy blinds, Coolico and OneShadesails

Water wise features

Construction and landscaping:

  • Construction and landscaping based on Water Corporation, Guidelines for Waterwise criteria (Irrigation Australia 2007)
  • Refer biodiversity for landscaping – endemic and water tolerant plants, trees, ground cover
  • 1500 litre pond covered by shade sails in summer

Plumbing innovation:

  • Separately sub-metred and pre-layed provision for 3 future apartments plus:
    • Pre-lay provision for additional 2 x future kitchens – taps and wastewater;
    • Pre-lay provision for additional kitchen and shower on ground floor;
    • Pre-lay provision for additional toilet and laundry on ground floor


  • Fully plumbed and certified grey water system covering 80m2 of external land area from sinks, shower recesses and washing machine drainage – exception of toilets and kitchen sink only;
  • 6 zone automated mains connected irrigation system including grey water flush – similar reticulation for each zone/station
  • All non-edibles on ground i.e. trees, shrubs and ground cover – irrigated by greywater drip feed
  • All edibles – fruit and vegables, on ground floor irrigated by drip fed mains water
  • All large trees on living roof irrigated by a combination of drip and root spot irrigation
  • All other plants and shrubs on living roof irrigated by drip fed mains water
  • Drip feed greywater for all ground cover shrubs, plants and trees
  • 18m2 lawn reticulation using mains with spray patterns and layouts which minimise overspray and optimise water distribution.
  • Apart from grey water no station services more than one hydrozone.

Storm-water capture and storage:

  • 8000+Litre inter-connected water tank storage system fully plumbed to every tap, toilet and shower-head within house (external taps connected to mains) and protected by sediment, carbon and commercial grade UV light protection;
  • Roof rainwater storage managed via 5 (3 on south and 2 on north) downpipes each with first flush clean provision and connected to stormwater overflow and maintenance provision – roof/gutter design optimised to capture as much stormwater as possible;
  • Groundwater replenishment through limited hard sealed building and/or landscaping footprint;

Water efficient taps, toilets, shower heads and appliances:

  • Nobili Balance Basin Mixer Chrome (6*) – for all bathroom taps
  • Porcher Saga Cast Sink Mixer Chrome (6*) – laundry tap
  • NIKLES PURE ECO RAIL SHOWER 105 C/P (3*) – 6 litres per minute – showers
  • Scala G/N Pullout Sink MIX 2F CP (5*) – kitchen
  • Laufen Pro Ccbtw Suite BI Scs WH (4*) – 3.3l average flush – dual flush toilets
  • No bath or spa installed – although provision for an external outdoor shower and bath have been laid on ground floor
  • Miele G7515 SCU XXL Built-under Dishwasher – 4*
  • Miele W3725 Washing machine 4.5*

Solar Hot Water:

  • 300Litre solar hot water system gravity fed from roof storage with provision for 2 additional electric hot water systems to be installed for future apartments or as cut over boost for existing structure;
  • Hot water system located less than the minimum mandated 20m from points of use – <8m for whole of house;


  • StepBeyond (Primary – project management, research, design, installation – 3 apartments, rain and grey water)
  • Water Installations – design support, installation, certification of qreywater
  • NuLook Homes – dual plumbing – rain and greywater, solar hot water system installation
  • Rainfill Tanks – water storage tanks
  • Reece plumbing – fixtures, pipework, reticulation and fittings


Physical site footprint:

  • 183m2 hard sealed land area footprint over available 476m2 (38%) – includes single concrete driveway and 20m2 of paving for clothesline and as base for water tanks
  • Additional car space and all foot paths using crushed limestone –
    • complemented by broadly spaced natural stone steppers as part of nature play principles
      • to allow ground water replenishment
      • to allow additional vegetation to be planted once crushed limestone settled i.e. along footpaths and on driveways
  • No additional treatment of existing land under raised decking on north and west.
  • 18m2 of Sir Walter Buffulo grass encased in FormBoss®
  • Recycled spotted gum timber for east/south cladding
  • Recycled spotted gum timber for all decking and external balustrade handrails
  • Rapidly renewable bamboo installed for first floor cover

Habitat connection:

  • Existing active mature trees maintained on property through demolition – 2 x WA Red Wattle located on west and east
  • No mono-culture – over 55 different varieties of mature native/water tolerant trees, shrubs and seedlings planted – refer to mature tree register.
  • Introduced trees, shrubs and plants selected to attract wildlife nesting, nutrient and activity at multiple layers across land-area connecting north, south, east and west.
  • All trees checked against and planted in accordance with:
    • Department of Agriculture and Food – Harmful garden plants in Western Australia, 2009
    • Water Corporation – Protect your home, select the right tree, 2010
    • Water Corporation – Popular Garden Designs for Perth and the South West, 2016
  • Awaiting Water Corporation – Water for pipes project over Sep-Nov 2017 to be completed before completing native planting on 25m2 verge.


  • No artificial air-conditioning or heating contributing to the ‘heat island effect’
  • Crushed limestone driveways and footpaths to reduce ground level heat absorption and radiance into building and onto landscaping
  • Total climates (see indoor air quality for indoor climate):
    • Perth metro climate – temperate (category 5)
    • Total ground floor roof space planted 25m2
    • Living roof trees to 5m – planted/supported in corten steel planter boxes to withstand wind and supply sufficient nutrient/drainage
    • Living roof shrubs, plants and seedlings level with first floor
    • Ground floor trees to 10m
    • Ground floor trees, shrubs, plants to 3m
    • Raised vegetable garden beds at different layers surrounded by fruit trees and other edibles
    • Ground cover – combination of Bentonite, native and specialist mature tree soil conditioner and potting mixes, 100+mm coverage of eco-mulch.


  • Building designed to withstand greater than 1 in 100 year storm – upgraded from engineer and building standard N1 to N2 rating to handle 33metres/second wind due to elevated building terrain (47m above sea level)

Food production:

  • 4 x 1500mm (long), 800mm (wide) raised vegetable beds installed using vegetable mix soil conditioner
  • 3 x layers of vegetables/edibles planted – ground, 0.5m high, 800mm high
  • Fruit trees planted include: Lemon, Blueberry, Mulberry (white), grapefruit, kiwi-berry, mandarin, native plum


  • No composite material installed due to the nature of mixing organic and synthetic materials so it can neither be recycled or re-used i.e. ultimate destination is landfill
  • Everything except the concrete slab is design for disassembly, renovation, organic breakdown i.e. recycled timber
  • 97% of existing 50’s dwelling on site not suitable for renovation either recycled or reused.
  • Composting system for organic waste – fruits, vegetables

Indoor air quality:

  • Combination of 20 internal trees and plants
  • Natural lighting and air flow ventilation – solar passive design and insulation/glazing avoiding artificial heating and cooling
  • Limited and/or reduced use of PVC’s and Volatile Organic Compounds in all adhesives, joinery and paints

Primary partner:

  • StepBeyond Business Advisors:
    • Construction materials research and lifecycle/footprint analysis
    • Landscape / rainwater / Irrigation / greywater design
    • Procurement and Project management

Other eco-partners:

  • Solar Dwellings – Solar Passive design and air flow
  • NuLook Homes and Paramount Design – building contract living roof structure
  • Lalli and Associates – Engineering
  • Water Installations – Rainwater/Greywater design, support, installation and certification with Town of Cambridge
  • Suburban Farmer – Vegetable garden beds, eco-mulch
  • Green Life Soils – Bentonite and native potting mix, eco-mulch
  • Painters – Northerly Painting Services & Artisan Painting Services
  • Greenearth Enterprises – Formboss and Corten steel planters
  • Soils ain’t soils – crushed limestone and eco-mulch
  • Ellenby Tree Farm – mature trees and ultimate landscape soil mix
  • Apace Nursury, Landsdale plants – small trees, shrubs, seedlings, compost

Principal sustainability partners

solar dwellings



  • Solar passive design – performance and innovation
  • Wide range of construction advice
  • Preliminary drafting, pre-selections and reviews
  • Building supplier network and building contractor procurement
  • Ongoing decision support throughout and post construction



  • Build administration par excellence
  • Final selections, drawings and construction expertise
  • Construction contract and supervision of building supplier procurement and over-sight
  • High quality construction blended with customer focus
  • Ongoing decision support throughout and post construction



  • Research – sustainable design and construction
  • Material lifecycle analysis
  • Certification via E-Tool and NaThers Star ratings
  • Electrical contract with Techforce
  • Rain and grey water design in partnership with Water Installations
  • Landscape/biodiversity design – including living roof
  • Product/Vendor/Supplier reviews and management
  • Project management
  • Futures thinking


  • 2009-2011:
    • Search for a suitable location relevant to our lives and ‘live where you live’ principles, from across greater Perth metro – lots to choose from. Purchased the West Leederville green title off the Town of Cambridge.
  • 2012-13:
    • Worked with a range of partners to plan out the sustainable home kicking off in 2012 with Solar Dwellings – design drafting, pre-selections and builder EOI’s.
  • 2014:
    • Finalised/approved plans with Town of Cambridge. Contracted NuLook Homes, final design and selections – poured the ground floor slab.
  • 2015:
    • Build project managed, research, innovate, make decisions, refine choices and implement.
  • 2016:
    • Moved in and reflection.