Natural building design and construction essentially aims to work with nature rather than against it using a range of basic principles:
Use of Natural Materials – We are committed to promoting the use of natural unrefined materials where possible. Compressed earth blocks, rammed earth, cob, mud brick for thermal mass and straw bale, hemp crete and light earth (straw clay) for insulation. Working with natural materials can also be rewarding, many of the techniques require minimal skills and provide home owners the opportunity to get involved, or utilise community workshops to contribute to the labour component of the build. The materials are often very tactile and provide opportunities for incorporation of artistic or sculpture elements that are not possible with other building techniques. This can result in extremely unique and beautiful homes which reflect your individuality, as well as connecting you to nature through the incorporation of natural finishes.
Low Embodied Energy – Embodied energy is the total amount of energy used to create and deliver a product. We encourage the use of locally sourced materials, recycled, or unprocessed naturally occurring material will also contribute to sustainability and reduce environmental impact. Material that has minimal or no artificial chemical content are often also healthier with low VOC (Low VOC refers to volatile organic compounds that are not harmful to the environment and humans). This is particularly important when it comes to finishes, such as renders, paints or surfaces that you come into contact with. Most natural alternatives are now available commercially.
Designed to be energy efficient – Through good solar passive design we can utilise the local environment, including sun position, prevailing beezes & winds, to naturally heat and cool the building. We prefer low tech over high tech solutions to achieve thermal comfort thus reducing energy consumption and the need for air conditioning. Other technologies such as solar pv, solar hot water, rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling, and composting toilets are often incorporated to maximise energy efficiency and to reduce ongoing utility bills.
Low environmental impact, small footprint – We like to promote low impact houses and challenge our clients to design to their needs rather than the market, which is constantly promoting perpetual growth. A smaller footprint generally means a smaller impact on the natural environment while promoting a better connection with this local environment with outdoor living spaces. Smaller buildings also use less building materials thus reducing building costs.