Up there for eco-thinking:
Top gong for sustainable design.
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.”