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6 hours ago

Gruen Eco Design

Just listened to the radio on the way to work this morning. And what I heard made my pretty sad but also a bit mad.

Apparently one of the biggest most pressing issues the political parties are dealing with leading up to the election here in Australia are rising electricity prices and they are saying they need to come up with a better, easier to understand pricing for clients.

Really?

Why is everyone banging on that the prices need to be reduced and companies are competing with the best reduced rates when paying on time?

Why aren’t we concentrating on reducing our energy usage in the first place????

Replacing all lighting with led lighting.

Changing user habits (for instance, turning the light and appliances off when leaving the room/or not at home)
When buying new appliances buying the ones with the highest star rating/ lowest electricity consumption
Installing solar panels on the roof
Just to name a few.

When you reduce your energy consumption in the first place you are less reliable on what’s happening with the electricity prices, even less so when you produce your own power.

So, what about the government should help people to save on energy, rather than on the energy cost?

Rant over.
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9 hours ago

Gruen Eco Design

Our double storey extension project in Richmond is finished and the clients are about to move in. The photo here is already a few weeks old. But we are hoping to get a few photos from the finished house for you soon. ... See MoreSee Less

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1 day ago

Gruen Eco Design

The surface area to volume ratio (S/V) is an important factor for the performance of a building. The greater the surface area, the greater the potential heat gain or loss through it. Consequently, a small S/V ratio implies minimum heat gain and heat loss. In order to minimise unwanted losses and gains through the fabric of a building, it’s desirable to design a compact shape, without articulation.
In theory, the most compact building would be a cube. This configuration may not be acceptable for many reasons, such as restrictions to daylight access, site and neighbouring character, planning regulations or simply personal preferences. However, to minimise heat transfer through the building envelope, the building shape and accordingly the floor plan itself, should be as compact as possible. With straight walls and first floor wall on top of ground floor walls. Deleting the need for additional roofing over nooks and grannies in the ground floor areas that stick out.
When designing your home consider thoughtfully what rooms are really needed. Instead of adding rooms you might need. Create multifunctional rooms, spaces that can be used for more than one function and that can easily adapt to a changing lifestyle.
Unfortunately this design principle isn’t supported by most council, as typically planners do not support straight walls without articulation or sheer double storey walls.
Here is a sample from a town house development in Kingston Council we had been working on. In our original design we had all first floor walls sitting on top of the ground floor wall. In order to reduce wall and roof areas and hence to optimise energy efficiency. But regrettably, council forced us to step in the first floor walls. As they call it: to create more interest and articulation.
ow.ly/G0Aa30kyH92
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2 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

Our sips home in Burwood is progressing fast now. These images were taken over a month ago 😉
The sips walls and the roofing is up. It is really looking like a house now.
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3 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

The main question here is. Why do you want to recycle or reuse certain materials?
If there are certain things in the house that you really love and therefore you want to keep them. Yes, go for it.
Or if your main drive is that certain elements or items are too nice to send them to land-fill or give them away and your aim is to have a low carbon footprint. Then of course, the answer is obviously yes.
However, if you are planning to recycle and reuse materials because you do want save money you should rethink. In most instances recycling and reusing existing materials or fixtures and fittings is really time intense and hence often turns out being more expensive than buying things new.
For instance, if you wanted to recycle your existing bricks. It takes a really long time to take them off, and then to clean them. If you have to pay someone to do this for you it will cost much more than just buying new bricks. One alternative is to buy recycled bricks. They are about the same cost than new bricks, maybe sometimes a bit cheaper and you can get the nice recycled brick look and feel for you home, without paying a premium for it.
On the other hand, if you are hands on yourself and if you are able and willing to do the hard work yourself you can actually safe some money. You could recycle and clean bricks, timber floorboards or other elements in your house. But keep in mind, is it worth while taking annual leave or long service leave for this? Or does it make more sense to pay someone to work on your house so that you can earn money instead to pay for your mortgage?
If you are unsure about your own house and want to discuss your options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. ow.ly/ivIA30iXi3T
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1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here a few more impressions from our passive house project in Balwyn North ... See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

Rooms are utilised for distinct purposes at different times of the day and their placement will influence energy efficiency as well as comfort levels. Zoning means the creation of zones by grouping rooms with similar uses, and closing off unheated rooms, such as laundries or guest bedrooms, to reduce heating and cooling needs. It is important to separate heated and unheated areas with doors, such as glass or bi-fold doors to help retain the open-plan aesthetic if required.
Daytime living areas such as family rooms, kitchen and rumpus rooms should be north facing.
Avoid orientation and windows to the harsh west sun, especially for living rooms and bedrooms.
Locating the garages or carports to the west, east or south can protect the building from summer sun and winter wind.
Areas that use water (hot water in particular) should be grouped together to minimise heat loss from pipes, plumbing costs and water wastage.
Create buffer zones to the west and south, as this is where most of the unwanted heat gain or loss will occur, such as bathrooms, laundry or storage rooms.
Avoid self-shading; deep north facing courtyards, garages or other deep articulations should not overshadow north-facing windows.
Air-locks to external doors are essential to reduce the loss of heated air when the external doors are opened.
Allow for cross-ventilation. Openable windows and external doors should be located on different sides of the home, with less than 8 metres distance between them to create air flow.
ow.ly/YLE230kyH2k
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1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

We have been fine-tuning the design for this split level home over the last few weeks. The house will be following passive house principles. To guarantee great comfort and no bills for the owners.
We are currently doing a little feasibility study to make sure what we have designed is within the clients budget before proceeding with the construction drawings.
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1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

What do you think?
Light grey render for the existing part of the house and a dark grey metal cladding for the extension?
Or rather a dark grey render for the existing part of the house and a timber cladding for the extension?
Go!
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2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

***edited****
I had a little photo mix up. So here comes the right photo.

We are slowly adding more details to this project. What do you think about the stairs?
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2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

It has been a while since we last shared an update from our Passive House in Longford. The design phase is finished now and we have started with the details.

We have also started with the passive house calculations, to determine how much insulation we will need and to make sure we are not going overboard with glazing. Because even if you use triple glazing, the glazing is always the weak point and even in a passive house you can put in too much glazing.
Although we are quite optimistic we should be good, better to check now than finding out later...
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2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

In hot climates with negligible heating needs, the building should be orientated to maximise exposure to cool breezes. The construction should aim to exclude harsh sun all year around, by minimising window sizes and/ or providing large overhangs or other effective shading devices.
All other climate zones, as well as alpine zones, need to incorporate passive solar heating and cooling. The extent of heating and cooling requirements depends on the climate. To determine if you need mostly passive heating, passive cooling, or a combination of both, you can compare summer and winter energy bills, consult a designer or an architect, or check meteorological records on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website.
In the southern hemisphere, living areas should be ideally orientated within the range of 15°W-20°E of true or ‘solar’ north (20°W-30°E of true north is considered acceptable). Accurate location and direction will enable standard overhangs to prevent overheating in summer and allow lower winter sun to heat the building with no extra costs or effort from the occupants. On the other hand, a poor orientation will result in heat loss in winter and will lead to overheating in summer, by allowing low angled west or east sun to strike glass surfaces. North facing walls and windows should be set back significantly from large obstructions to the north, like trees, fences and other buildings. Keep in mind that they cast shadows two to three times their height in mid-winter. The distance to a single storey building to the north should be minimum 5.5 metres, to a double storey at least 10 metres.
If possible, garages, carports and other buildings or structures shouldn’t be placed on the northern side of the site.
Consider sharing walls with neighbours, especially on the east or west boundary as it will minimise unwanted heat loss or gain through these walls.
ow.ly/q3qE30kyGUQ
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2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

A few impressions from our project in Balwyn North. We are also aiming for passive house principles for this project. ... See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

What makes a home exceptional?
What are the most important features your dream home must have?
What are the things you are looking out for when buying or building a home? And for what things are you willing to pay extra?
Have you ever considered the health impacts your home could have on yourself and your family?
What are the common things everyone is looking for?
Of course, the location is important. Location, location, location. Right? Living close to the beach, to the city or within a certain school zone can come with a hefty price tag.
But what else?
Nowadays most people want things like a butler’s pantry, a rumpus, an outdoor living area, alfresco and potentially even a home theatre or a pool. There are things lots of people must have and they don’t flinch, or at least only a little to spend money on those features.
Same goes for a beautiful kitchen. Ultimately the kitchen is the heart of your home, right?
But what if I would tell you that living in a passive house, which is kind of the optimum energy efficient house you can get, can also have a huge impact on your health and the health of your family?
How can this help, you might wonder? Well, a few health aspects come into play here.
A passive house is not only highly insulated and praised for their high level of comfort but also for its healthy indoor air quality.
A ventilation system consistently supplies filtered fresh air making for superior air quality, without any pollen, dust mites or other pollutants, without causing any unpleasant draughts.
This leads also to a lower risk of condensation and stops the occurrence of mould, which often is a trigger for respiratory infections.
Most families that moved into a passive house can confirm that their respiratory symptoms or allergy related health problems have eased significantly, if not even almost vanished.
Read the full article here.
ow.ly/bBSG30l5sjf
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3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

And a few internal impressions from our renovation and extension project. ... See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here another internal shot for our Blackburn project. This is the previous living room in the existing heritage part of the house. We didn't change much here. Just a fresh coat of paint, the floors have been redone and a new skylight has been installed, to brighen up the room. ... See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here comes a bit of an update for our Passive House in Hawker/ACT. We have been playing around a bit with the roof form. Trying to get as much sun into the house from the north side, with highlight windows above the doors, while also providing a north facing roof for the solar panels. ... See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

In order for a building to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly in any way, there are many things to consider when searching for a site or placing a house on a site.
You shoud analyse your current and future needs and lifestyle and study the local site and climate.
Read more in our blog post.
ow.ly/N0rx30kyGSd
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3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

And a few more impressions from our new double storey residence in Mont Albert.
Here some internal views. We will be having a sculptural staircase and some feature internal timber beams.
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