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For builders of one style of new home in Sydney, sus­tain­able de­sign comes nat­u­rally. A di­vi­sion of Ja­panese com­pany Sek­isui House, Sha­wood homes are be­ing built at The Her­mitage in Sydney’s south­west and they are con­structed to be com­fort­able to live in and to last a life­time.

Sha­wood prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing man­ager Makoto Ochiai says Sha­wood homes have sev­eral iden­ti­fi­able sus­tain­able fea­tures, from the ma­te­ri­als sourced to the way the home­own­ers en­joy liv­ing in the house.

“Mul­ti­ple wa­ter­proof­ing lay­ers al­low the home to breathe,” he says. “A unique ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem at the top and bot­tom of the home al­lows con­den­sa­tion to es­cape nat­u­rally.

“All struc­tural tim­ber is eco-cer­ti­fied and is sourced from sus­tain­ably man­aged forests in north­ern Europe.”

The homes are de­signed to have an airy, open in­te­rior thanks to el­e­vated ceil­ing heights and per­for­mance glaz­ing, and nat­u­ral light is al­lowed to pen­e­trate deep into the heart of the home, re­duc­ing the de­pen­dence on ar­ti­fi­cial sources.

To date, 46 Sha­wood homes have been com­pleted at The Her­mitage at Gledswood Hills and there are cur­rently 44 un­der con­struc­tion, while world­wide, more than 50,000 homes have been built since 1995.

While the homes are de­signed to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion, Makoto says they a plea­sure to live in.

“Nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als are used and the lay­outs take into con­sid­er­a­tion so­lar ori­en­ta­tion,” he says. “Hi-tech com­po­nents have been used to re­duce power bills in­clud­ing dou­ble glaz­ing, so­lar pan­els and geo­ther­mal tech­nol­ogy for air­con­di­tion­ing.”

“Cross ven­ti­la­tion, where win­dows are placed to nat­u­rally draw the air through, is in­cor­po­rated to im­prove air qual­ity and com­fort in the home.”

He says el­e­ments such as in­su­lated win­dows and pho­to­voltaic roof tiles — rather than pan­els — will drive down power bills, but it’s how the whole house per­forms for those who live there that re­ally counts.

“It is im­por­tant to build a new home with a holis­tic view in mind which looks at so­lar ori­en­ta­tion, and the use of sev­eral com­po­nents in the home,” Makoto says.



The Sha­wood tim­ber beam and post sys­tem al­lows for large un­in­ter­rupted spans that can cre­ate dou­ble height voids to op­ti­mise views and light.

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