10-Star Efficiency in Geraldton

By Gary Warner

Rising costs of land are sounding the end of the ‘great Australian dream’ of the ¼ acre block, while increased construction costs do the same for the brick and tile 4x2 McMansion.

A highly innovative solution to both problems has just been completed here in Geraldton, I will crib shamelessly from the provided information!

Dubbed ‘Footprint Free On Fitzgerald’, the first of a cluster of five homes is the brainchild of designer Dave O’Meara from DESIGNRATE and builder Mark Reid, of West Coast Sustainability.

Tired of hearing that sustainable construction costs more than conventional construction, they set out to prove that an efficient home could be built at a more than comparable cost and timeframe. 

Footprint Free was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water and energy, and reduce waste during construction and the house’s lifetime. 

Designed to prevent injuries through built-in safety features, the house also has built-in security elements to reduce crime and improve the occupants’ sense of security. 

The homes are also designed to save money during construction and over the lifetime of each home. Careful planning avoids the need for major future renovations and reduces costs associated with energy use, water use and maintenance.

However, what really sets this project apart from many others is that the building design has achieved a 10 Star Energy Efficiency Rating. 

Based on solar passive design principles to ensure maximum thermal comfort year round, there is no requirement for air-conditioning or artificial heating.

Those principles include east-west orientation, high thermal mass materials, high insulation value to roof and walls and the use of double-hung and louvre shutter windows to maximize cross flow ventilation. 

The home will generate more electricity than can be used from a 5kw solar system and will harvest and recycle water which will be used on the native gardens, contributing to the environmental performance of the home by providing natural shading. 

Construction started in November 2012 and was completed on schedule in August 2013.

In addition to its energy efficiency the home also exudes a sense of style and spaciousness, from the clever use of available space to the mirror-like polished concrete floors.

Footprint Free on Fitzgerald is open for inspection, by calling Mark 0428641264 or Helen 0447647994

Click on images to enlarge.