Low Impact Living with a View

Located right next to the Darling Range Regional Park in Gooseberry Hill, the aim of this project was to design a home that has a low environmental impact without sacrificing the views. The home features large amounts of glazing to maximise the scenery viewing advantage, which is also the top contributor to the global warming potential (GWP) impact of the home. Other features such as hydronic floor heating, carpets, and plasterboard finishes also contribute to the GWP impact of the home. Fortunately shrewd investments in systems that have low operational-carbon impacts and a large PV system help to lower these impacts significantly.

The initial base design was only marginally better than the average WA home with a GWP savings of 3% compared to the benchmark. After conducting an LCA, the final design achieved a 74% savings at approximately 1.115 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per occupant per year.

Results Summary

Impact AreaTotal CO2e / Year / occupant (kg CO2e)% Saved Against BenchmarkeTool Medal
Embodied Carbon1645-10%Bronze_medal
Operational Carbon-530119%
Total Carbon111574%

Project Features

Photovoltaic System

The building has a 5kW PV system, which still takes advantage of the feed-in tariff price of 8 cents per kW hour. The system is able to supply nearly 70% of all the building integrated electrical loads, and much of the predicted appliance energy.

Energy Efficiency

High energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, and energy monitoring systems help to significantly lower the operational energy impact of the home.

Gas Cooking and HWS

Gas as an energy source has a lower carbon intensity compared to electricity in WA. However in some other states or countries where the electricity grid is produced with cleaner means, electricity would be the more efficient system.

Black Water Treatment System

A 7.1kL black water system is used to treat all the waste water produced from the shower, toilet, laundry and kitchen. The treated water is then re-distributed on the property thus making savings on the associated waste water treatment impacts.

Rainwater Tank

Carbon emissions associated with water supply use on landscape irrigation are off-set by a 22.5kL rain water tank, which will save an estimated 14 tonnes of CO2 equivalents over the life of the building. There is room for additional savings if the rainwater is also plumbed an used inside the building.

Low Carbon Structure

Most of the walls of the building is built from timber stud frame which has lower embodied energy compared to masonry.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a very efficient form of providing cooling in a house at a low monetary and environmental cost.

This assessment was conducted by Fei

Fei Ngeow