Sustainable homes to open
A new sustainable housing company based in Margaret River will be among a number of properties open on Sunday for Sustainable House Day.
Boom Shack developer Mark Leavesley started the company two years ago, intent on bringing energy-efficient and lightweight homes to the region.
Although WA wasn’t the strongest market for sustainable homes — the company plans on expanding to the east coast next year — the network of local tradesmen, builders and architects helped drive its early success.
Boom Shack’s demonstration house in Cowaramup is among those open this weekend.
Boom Shack takes a different approach than most conventional Australian homes, which Mr Leavesley said were heavily influenced by the powerful housing industry and compliant State Governments focused on job creation.
However — and as anyone who’s ever shivered through a Margaret River winter can attest — few local homes are built for the conditions. “Those homes are cheap, but if you look at the life cycle costings, they aren’t,” he said.
Furthermore, he said Boom Shack’s cutting-edge environmental system also meant the company’s homes produced better health outcomes for residents, with Mr Leavesley noting Australia had some of the world’s highest asthma rates, attributed to poor ventilation, heating and cooling systems.
“(Boom Shack) have highly insulated homes which have an airtight cocoon or internal space, which we control by having a heat-recovery ventilation system which changes the volume of air within the system every hour to every hour-and-a-half with fresh air . . . therefore maintaining fresh, filtered air with no toxins or CO2 at a very comfortable temperature,” he said.
He said the total annual cost to run the system was about $300.
Much of the groundwork for Boom Shack was started by French company Pop-Up House France, though local builds had to consider Australian conditions.
European building standards were more appropriate for most local homes but the dominance of the housing industry by big builders meant marketing and influence on government policy kept standard housing well entrenched, Mr Leavesley said.
Boom Shack is located at 14 Jenkins Road in Cowaramup.
Also open on the day are Tingrith meeting house in Osmington, Kerrigan Builders’ Sanctuary Circle in Cowaramup, and Fair Harvest off Carters Road, as well as Honeyeater House and architect Michael Sorensen’s home One2six Ashton in Margaret River.
Visit ata.org.au for more details.
Architect Chris Willcox with Wally Zalewski and builder Mark Leavesley at the first Boom Shack build, The Bowie, in Cowaramup.