Up there for eco-think­ing:

Top gong for sus­tain­able de­sign.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

TAS­MA­NIAN builders NEAT­house has taken on the best sus­tain­abil­ity-fo­cused builders in the coun­try and won a pres­ti­gious na­tional award.

Ear­lier this month the Hous­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion held its GreenS­mart awards which recog­nise the best in en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­bly hous­ing and NEAT­house took home the top gong for its Dodges Ferry dis­play home.

Di­rec­tors Jane and Owen Thom­son were at first thrilled to be nom­i­nated and then blown away with the win.

“We were not ex­pect­ing to win when com­ing up against in­ter­state builders with large houses and bud­gets,” Jane said. “But it was an amaz­ing re­sult.”

Jane and Owen ex­ten­sively use tim­ber in their houses, either from plan­ta­tions or re­claimed from farm wind­breaks.

Tim­bers were used in the con­struc­tion of their award-win­ning, eight-star en­ergy rated house and also in the ex­ter­nal macro­carpa cladding, the pine in­te­rior wall lin­ings and the eco-ply­wood wall. The kitchen is also a tim­ber show­case. All of the tim­ber fin­ishes use su­per­low VOC (volatile or­ganic com­pound) oils.

The NEATbox house de­sign also fea­tures low-en­ergy LED lights, rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing, dou­ble-glazed ther­mally bro­ken win­dows. Supreme at­ten­tion was paid to in­su­lat­ing the walls, ceil­ing, roof and un­der floors to an in­dus­try lead­ing stan­dard.

An im­por­tant part of their ap­proach is build­ing “healthy houses”.

Owen said us­ing the right ma­te­ri­als and an ef­fi­ciency of de­sign was the key to what they do.

“Our phi­los­o­phy is to build sus­tain­ably,” he said.

“Some­times we have two houses on the go at once but most of­ten we con­cen­trate on one to en­sure that the qual­ity is con­trolled to the high stan­dards we have set for NEAT­house.”

Owen said de­spite what many may think sus­tain­able home de­sign did not have to be fancy and ex­pen­sive.

“I would say we keep things sim­ple,” he said. “It is worth­while think­ing care­fully about new tech­nolo­gies and as­sess­ing whether they are ac­tu­ally bet­ter in the long run.

“Many tra­di­tional build­ing tech­niques, such as the ex­ten­sive use of tim­ber, are a won­der­fully sus­tain­able ap­proach to build­ing.”


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