At BY Projects, whether we are creating an architecturally designed house or providing a commercial architect service in Melbourne we strongly encourage all of our clients to embrace sustainable building practice. We design ecologically integrated sustainable buildings because we care about the environment, the community and the built form.
In sustainable architecture, the term sustainability refers to the philosophy of designing the built environment to comply with the fundamental principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability. By regulation, all residential buildings must adhere to a 7-star energy rating and commercial buildings to their maximum Green Star ratings. However, we endeavour to look to creating carbon zero buildings.
Being the best go green architects in Melbourne, we also provide Sustainable Building Statements, Storm Water Ratings and BESS Reports.
Passive Solar Design
Sustainable architects in Melbourne build buildings that are designed in response to climate and local conditions to be more comfortable and cheaper to live in. Local conditions such as solar access, slope, prevailing winds, and trees offer advantageous solutions for passive heating, cooling, and ventilation. By siting and orientating new buildings optimally around these conditions, the built form will naturally achieve comfort. It’s possible that when passive design principles are utilised to their fullest extent, no active heating or cooling systems will be required.
The primary factor to consider when selecting materials is embodied energy. As the best sustainable architects in Melbourne, we use a responsible materials that are naturally occurring, renewable or recycled. Locally sourced materials reduce transport-based energy. Insulating well helps to block unwanted summer heat and prevent the escape of warmth during winter. Clever use of materials with high thermal mass such as stone, brick, concrete and rammed earth will stay cooler for longer in summer and hold heat longer in winter. Recycling and waste reduction is achieved during the construction process via working collaboratively with the builder.
Depending on the extent of passive design principles employed, you can expect build costs to be marginally higher. However, the increased build costs must be balanced against lower occupancy costs and the benefit of passive design. As an example, consider a 7-star standard house vs a 7-star passive solar house. Where the standard house has not taken advantage of passive heating/cooling solutions, it must make up for it with higher performance double glazing and insulation, resulting in increased building costs.
Before considering producing energy on-site, consider reducing the energy demand. Passive design goes a long way in minimising energy demand, and this is furthered by selecting energy efficient household appliances. A few renewable energy production options include wind and hydro power. However in Australia, solar (PV) panels are the most common option as they can pay for themselves through energy production within 3-5 years!
Similar to energy, reducing water demand is the first step. This can be achieved with low flow taps and showerheads, and efficient (WELS rated) appliances and toilet cisterns. The next step is retaining water on-site. Rainwater is collected from roofs and stored in above or below ground tank systems. This can be used for flushing toilets or even treated for drinking water. Storm water will potentially run off-site and pollute local waterways and drains. But instead, it can be retained on-site with rain gardens and permeable materials. Greywater from household appliances can be collected and treated on-site for watering gardens.
Beyond 7 Star
At By Project architecture, we offer the best sustainable architect service in Melbourne. And we provide a hierarchy of options for sustainable development ranging from 7-star, green buildings, net-zero carbon, all the way through to carbon positive buildings. 7-star energy ratings are a minimum requirement under the Australian Building Code. Carbon zero buildings challenge the norm of buildings as consumers by producing more water and energy than they consume.