Green Building SEA

Green Building Picture
Passive Solar Design ( Orientation, Shading & Windows, Thermal Mass )
Daylighting | Materials | Energy | Water | Finishes | Garden | Operation | Surfacing

(hint: move the mouse pointer over each sub-heading for more information)

Passive Solar Design:
The building design includes passive solar features to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. This has drastically reduced the energy needed for heating and cooling.
Key aspects of the building are oriented northwards, enabling use of the sun's warmth when necessary, and improving daylighting.
Shading & Windows:
By considering optimum window area and designing shading angles over windows, the hot (high) summer sun is excluded and the warm (lower) winter sun is utilised.
Thermal Mass:
By designing adequate 'thermal mass' in the building, the warmth of the winter sun can be 'held' for extended periods to raise building temperature, and the cool of the night air can be 'held' to improve comfort level when its hot outside.
Using clerestorey, window area optimisation and avoiding 'deep' office spaces, daylighting is maximised and the need for artificial light during daylight hours almost completely obviated.
Material choice maximised recycled content, which reduced the 'embodied energy' of the building substantially. Windows, doors and flooring timbers were largely sourced from demolition yards (after careful quality checking). The hi-quality cement brick used throughout the building comprises 92% recycled content. On site materials were used where possible, including rock (used for stairs and walls), tree trunks (logs in landscaping) and branches and leaves (chipped for garden mulch).
The design ensures low energy use for heating, cooling and lighting. A solar water heater provides for hot water needs, and renewable solar PV electricity is generated from panels on the roof, and feeds power directly into the City's power grid via a grid-synchronising inverter.
Toilets, basins and showers are water efficient. Greywater is recycled directly into the garden. Rainwater is harvested via 3 tanks for garden use.
Wood finishes comprised a mix of natural oils, and wall paints were non-solvent based. Wood was largely pressure treated with boron (a non-toxic alternative to normal wood treatments) for fungus and borer resistance.
The garden is a mix of water-wise (indigenous) and functional - it provides food and herbs for the building occupants, and includes medicinal plants. Plants are cultivated in all available spaces to promote general biosystem richness.
The building tenants are required to operate in a sustainable manner (see 'Green Operating Principles' - menu on left).
Instead of impervious paving, parking surface used porous block and wood chippings to allow water seepage into aquifers and increase organic 'biomass' component of building footprint.