In fact, the star rating assessment process by Phillip Island Energy Rating was a moment to remember for Ashley, who recalls the home breezing through to meet the state-required six-star minimum ‘from scratch’ – that is, it achieved a six-star rating without double glazing, without insulation, and without any of the additional energy-efficient
‘We’d already met the minimum and ticked that box without any extra features, so we knew that we had the right formula for the design,’ he says.
But how does a team achieve high energy efficiency before including any efficient features? Research and development, much of which comes from on-the-job experience during projects such as this one.
Dave Leggett discovered a new building technique during this project which helped increase sustainability and speed up build time: ‘the roof structure is an inverted, prefabricated truss – so a standard truss with a gable roof but turned upside down to create a raked ceiling inside and allow sun penetration right into the southern walls,’ he says. ‘We looked at that as a way of keeping the construction time down. Instead of doing a standard raked ceiling with a pitched roof structure, which has a lot of time and labour involved, we managed to do a prefabricated raked ceiling. Things like that, which we discover in our own process, help to keep the costs down.’
Being so ahead of the game doesn’t come without challenges and setbacks though. For example, when you’re pioneering a brand new technique, it means every trade onsite needs to undergo training in the method before construction can commence. ‘There weren’t too many design constraints, the challenges arose during construction, such as making sure all the trades were up to speed with different methods and what to incorporate,’ Ashley recalls.