DESIGNING FOR THE EDGE

Grahame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resource depletion and waste generation are two of the most important problems facing current and future generations. There is a global need to change the way homes are built and occupied. Stand 47 demonstrates some of the opportunities available to people who choose to build sustainably.

Grahame Cruickshanks

Grahame is the executive director of the EDGE rating tool for residential projects in the Green Building Council of South Africa. On a recent visit to Stand 47 he provided us with detailed feedback on the green technologies and overall strategies used, some of which follows below:

Stand 47 demonstrates that good basic design principles are the first step in creating a successful sustainable building, even before technology is added. For example, Stand 47 has been perfectly sited providing the best orientation to the sun – sinking the house onto a terrace which screens the house from the West Sun is extremely effective. The layout is economical, liveable and comfortable – a difficult combination to achieve. Technologically, the building envelope systems are innovative for South African residential construction.

The light steel frame construction system did not affect my experience of comfort in the house in any way. Initially the home appeared modest in scale and aesthetics when approached from the road. The glazed front door works well as an entrance which draws one into the home. Once inside, the interior appeared conventional with the exception of the high, sloped ceiling and clerestory windows, creating a surprisingly generous and pleasantly proportioned space.

I visited Stand 47 on a day with extremely high temperatures (30 degC plus), and the interior was warm and remained slightly warmer than the exterior into the early evening. However, when compared with a traditional brick home with double brick exterior walls and single brick interior walls I would say that I could feel minimal, if any, difference in the interior temperatures.

 

This house provides an innovative option of building in a sustainable way because the flexibility of the non-service core layout allows the house to be adapted to different spatial needs more easily than brick and mortar. This is a significant sustainability attribute given the waste generated and resources consumed in conventional building renovations. The energy and water technologies used on the house have the potential to dramatically reduce resource consumption if used correctly.