On dis­play

Sus­tain­able homes to open

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

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.

Pic­ture: War­ren Hately

Ar­chi­tect Chris Will­cox with Wally Zalewski and builder Mark Leaves­ley at the first Boom Shack build, The Bowie, in Cowaramup.

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