Gruen Eco Design News

Check out our latest design projects on facebook

Facebook Feed

20 hours ago

Gruen Eco Design

I told you that from our Richmond project you can see the CBD and the MCG, right?
Luckily you can get the entire cbd as a 3d model. So we can actually SEE the CBD.
How good is that?
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

#repost
Now that you have narrowed down the area you want to build in. It’s time to check out what’s on the market and to observe. Go to a few inspections and maybe a few auctions and keep an eye on for how much houses or land is getting listed and for how much it has been sold. This will give you a better idea about what you will be able to afford. Also see if you can get hold of RP Data from the area and a market analysis from a real estate agent.
What to look for on your ideal block depends also on what kind of house you are after. Ideally the site should be facing east-west. With the road either on the west or east side. This allows you to place your new home close to the southern boundary and have the long side of the house facing north. To get all the passive solar gains you want and need. (of course, you have to be careful not to overglaze and need shading, but we will talk about this in a later blog). However, this set out only works if the side is wide enough, so that you still have enough room between the north wall of your house and the fence. Ideally you should have 5.5m or close to that. This scenario will only work if you are happy to live in a relatively compact home, as opposed to a big mansion.
If you do want a rather large house with a large number of bedrooms and several living areas, or if the side is fairly narrow, you will most likely not be able to setback the walls enough from the northern boundary and therefore north should be orientated towards the rear, so that at least the living areas can open up to the garden and face north.
Of course, you can also make the house work if north is not straight out the side or the back, but I would advice on having north on the side of the road. Although a clever design can often overcome a poor orientation to some degree, this will make the layout and the design of your home much more restricted and might increase your construction cost.

ow.ly/Fa6S30kAZKg
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

Yay! We have received a planning permit for our highly energy efficinet home following passive house principles in Bright. And even better: with no conditions. Does not happen often 🙂
Now it's time to get started with the construction drawings. Lots of things need to get organised and looked at.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

5 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

The Sustainable House Day is just around the corner.
Have you checked out the amazing homes on display already?

So much to see and explore.

sustainablehouseday.com/
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

6 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

And here some internal shots from our renovation/extension project in Eltham.

The previous bedrooms where really tiny, way too small to fit in a double, let alone a queen bed. So we are rearaning all the internal walls. The dark and closed off study room now opens up to the hallway and gets a new roof window.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

7 days ago

Gruen Eco Design

In Australia, energy rating assessments are done pre-construction, assuming competent application of all insulation and building materials as well as draught sealing all wall penetrations.
However, common construction practices often demonstrate misapplications and air leakages. Sadly, although there are regulations in place on how to install insulation and how to seal of wall penetrations, there is no one really responsible for checking all those details, neither the builder, nor the architect, nor the building surveyor. In fact, some tradies even take out insulation, so that they can work easier around cables, fixtures and fittings and don’t bother to put the insulation back in. For sure, as soon as the plasterboard sheets are one no one can even see the problem.
This means that although in theory the house should be energy efficient, the reality will be far from that. It will be draughty inside. Cold air can come in. The energy bills will be way higher than the energy rating did predict. And, as explained in our article about thermal comfort, it will be hard to feel comfortable inside your ‘well insulated’ home.
In Europe, energy efficiency is most often assessed or checked post construction, with special attention to the prevention of thermal bridges. Some countries require airtight buildings, and amongst other things, double glazing, solar energy for hot water and heating systems, the usage of storm water, greywater recycling, recycled materials and product life cycle considerations to minimise energy demand and carbon footprint.
Read more here:

ow.ly/kF0o30kyHqq
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here comes a repost from our luxury home in Camberwell. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

Our purpose at Gruen Eco Design is helping others to live a sustainable life and to design energy efficient and sustainable homes for future generations.
And while I love helping clients to design their energy efficient dream home. There is something really special about working on a townhouse development. Or I should rather say working on a sustainable development.
Sadly, most people cannot afford to engage a building designer or architect to design their own energy efficient home, let alone have the money to build such home. The sad reality is that most homes build by developers are far from sustainable and energy efficient. Most investors are only concerned about their return and do not care about the actual performance of the house or the longevity of materials or utility bills of future tenants or owners.
Unfortunately, a lot of the homes on the market advertised with 6, 7 or 8 stars do in fact perform quite poorly. The energy rating program does assume all insulation and draught sealing is done perfectly, whereas in reality this often is not the case. And many homes that have 7 or 8 stars on paper have been audited with an actual performance of 3 or 4 stars, due to faulty application of insulation and air-leakage. Which means that the majority of people have no other choice than to live in cold and draughty homes with high utility bills.
Because of that; if a client comes to us and wants to do a sustainable development we get really excited. It is so important to create and build those sustainable and energy efficient homes for future generations!

ow.ly/wksf30kAZeC
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 week ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here comes a first image from our finished double storey extension project in Richmond. This photo was just done on my phone. So can't wait to show you the professional photos.

Love the pendant lights.

He, he, and as you can see, my #keepcup is always with me 😉
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Happy father’s day to all the amazing dads out there!
We wish you an amazing day with your loved ones!
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Finally some news that make sense to me. This has been Long overdue:

Victorian households cut their electricity bills through the Solar Homes package which will be delivered by the newly established Solar Victoria.

“The Solar Homes Package will help Victorians reduce their energy bills.

Solar Panel Rebate
The Victorian Government will provide a 50 per cent rebate on the cost of a solar PV system, up to a maximum rebate of $2,225 in 2018-19.”

If you don’t have solar panels yet. This is your chance!

Read more here.

www.solar.vic.gov.au
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Our renovation/extension project in Eltham is progressing nicely. What do you think?
We are turning the existing carport into a new master wing, with master bedroom, ensuite and walk in robe.
We are also adding a new garage and adding a rumpus room at the back.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

If insulation applied is faulty or insufficient, the exposed surfaces in a room will stay significantly colder in winter or hotter in summer than the room temperature. Although the heater pumps hot air into a room, or the air-conditioning blows cool air, the thermal radiation will affect the equilibrium. The Mean Radiant Temperature is affected negatively and the occupants won’t feel comfortable.
The ceiling isn’t insulated or the insulation is penetrated for example because of the installation of down light. As warm air is always moving upwards, heat is lost to the cooler air in the roof space.
Air leakage around doors, windows, down lights, pipes, and other wall penetrations are exceeding the acceptable Relative Air Velocity.
Wrong application of thermal mass can influence the Mean Radiant Temperature and can therefore increase the need of mechanic heating and cooling.
Under- performing windows and doors (when air is able to leak in/out of poor fitting doors and windows) are also influencing the Mean Radiant Temperature and the Relative Air Velocity.
When it comes to comfort, the perception of temperature is more important than the temperature itself.
For a person to feel comfortable, the difference of temperature between the head and the feet should not exceed 2.5 degrees. This demonstrates the importance of floor insulation and this explains why we usually feel more comfortable standing barefoot on carpet than on tiles.
Unfortunately the energy rating system in Australia doesn't really take thermal comfort into consideration. The Passive House standard on the other hand looks at thermal comfort closely and makes sure that you will always feel comfortable inside your house, no matter how cold or hot it is outside.
Want to know more about passive house? Please feel free to get in touch.

ow.ly/29O630kyHlX
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

We are progressing nicely with our new residence in Richmond. A more modern take to the typical teracce house. What do you think about the green wall? ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

#repost
When looking for a site to build your new energy efficient home there are many things you have to consider and seemingly endless obstacles to manoeuvre around.
Ideally the site should be located close to your work, the school, family, or anything else that is important for you. Unfortunately the reality is often that living close to work is for most families not affordable. So you should at least look in areas that have a good connection to wherever your work place is.
When selecting a site and thinking about your future home you should analyse your needs and lifestyle. And consider the current situation as well as the future.
What type of home do you need?
(single, double storey, room for parents etc; is a large garden required, lifestyle options and access to facilities)
Does the location suit your lifestyle and can it accommodate potential changes in the future?(family addition, retirement, old age, health and so on)
Is the site close to public transport, work, school, family members or other social activities?
(Proximity may reduce the need of a second car. It will reduce car trips, travel time and carbon footprint, consequently protecting the environment, and saving money)
Determine the true cost of the location.
(A site/ home in the outer suburbs may be cheaper, but will this compensate the higher transport cost and the additional times spend on the road or on public transport?)
You also have to keep your budget in mind. In which areas can you afford to buy and build. Unfortunately in most build up areas it is hard or almost impossible to buy vacant land. You have to buy a house and demolish it. Therefore you should look at houses that are really run down, as it would be too much of a shame to tear down a nice home. Having said this, when demolishing a home make sure to salvage and or sell what ever you can from the home. So that it does not end up being land fill.

ow.ly/iwiT30kAZ9A
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

We at Gruen Eco Design are passionate about sustainable design; because we believe sustainable design can and must be affordable for everyone.
Even small changes can have a huge impact on your energy bills and how comfortable your home feels.

1 Draught Sealing
Most of us cannot afford to replace windows but weather-stripping them and closing off walls and ceiling vents can make a huge difference.

2 Insulation
In an ideal world your house should have a continuous insulation layer, but even if you can only insulate certain parts of your house it will make a huge difference.
Start with adding insulation to the ceiling/roof.
Then look at the walls. There are several options available on how to retrofit insulation to existing walls.
Next you should look at the floor. Same thing here, even if access is limited, just insulating the areas you can get to will have a big impact.

3 External Shading
Try to keep the sun out of your house in summer, rather than cooling your house down once it’s too hot. Plant deciduous trees in front of windows or install external blinds. Even most hardware stores have some simple and often quite cheap solutions available.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

This tiny heritage home in Richmond had seen better days.

It was way too small for the young growing family and hadn’t been updated in many years.

We have completely modified the home, incorporating a new kitchen and living room opening up to the backyard. We’ve also added a small double storey extension.

The result is a beautiful, well performing family home.



Photos by Carlos Gali Photography
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Here some first impressions from our new Richmond project.
The project includes a sunken garden and a roof top terace with views to the CBD and the MCG.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

Human thermal comfort describes the state of mind that expresses satisfaction with the surrounding environment and refers to several conditions in which the majority of people feel comfortable.
The human body produces heat depending on the level of activity, and expels heat according to the surrounding environmental conditions.
The body loses heat in three main ways: radiation, convection and evaporation. An unpleasant sensation of being too hot or too cold (thermal discomfort) can distract people from their activities and disturb their well being. This may reduce the ability to concentrate and decrease motivation to work. Thermal comfort is affected by six variable factors which are needed to maintain a healthy balance in order to sustain satisfaction with the surrounding environment.
1) Air Temperature is the most common measure of thermal comfort and can easily be influenced with passive and mechanical heating and cooling.
2) Mean Radiant Temperature is the weighted average temperature of all exposed surfaces in a room. The greater the difference between air temperature and exposed surfaces, the greater the Relative Air Velocity.
3) Relative Air Velocity (‘wind chill factor’) is the apparent temperature felt on exposed skin due to wind. For example, if cold air is leaking in from a window, the air temperature feels lower than the actual air temperature, hence the increased likelihood of feeling cold, even when the heater is on.
4) Humidity or relative humidity is the moisture content of the air. If the humidity is above 70% or below 30% it may cause discomfort.
5) Activity Levels can reduce the heating needs, as lower air temperature is acceptable when occupants have higher activity levels.
6) Thermal Resistance of clothing or warm blankets in a bedroom can reduce the need of heating.
Building design is affected by the first four of these thermal comfort variables. The last two depend on the action and behaviour of the occupants.

ow.ly/HUjC30kyHgX
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Gruen Eco Design

How lucky are we to have such amazing projects?
Check out the location for this new off-the grid home. Can't get any better than this.
The house will be fully of the grid and will have the most amazing views.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Click on the above image to register for a free 30 minute design consultation. Limted spots available.

The 20/20 House

The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream from an energy efficient home into a reality.

The 20/20 House – Part 1

The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream from an energy efficient home into a reality. My partner and I are planning to build an affordable energy efficient house for our family. So I thought I take this opportunity to write about all the things we...

read more

Sustainable Design blog

Have a read through our latest blogs about sustainable design

Subscribe to our Gruen News

* indicates required