Everyone is talking about energy efficient design and how this makes your home more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run. But do you know the importance building orientation plays in this?

Orientation refers to the placement and positioning of your granny flat in your backyard.  Good orientation will take in to consideration the local climate and seasonal sun and wind variations.

Poor orientation often occurs when a standard design is picked out of a brochure without any consideration given to the individual property and surrounds on which it will be built.

This is just another reason why we custom design all our projects at Perth’s Granny Flat Specialist.  A well thought out floor plan can save you thousands in unnecessary insulation, glazing upgrades, and long term heating and cooling costs.

How can Perth’s Granny Flat Specialist help?

One of the first steps in our process is carrying out a site assessment.  The company Director, Shane, will come to your property to see and listen to what you’re trying to achieve.  This also gives him the opportunity to answer questions such as… Does your backyard have large shady trees? Which side of the property does the sun rise?  Do your neighbours have a double storey house?  Do you get strong easterly winds or maybe a sea breeze?  Are you located on a hill?  Which direction does your existing house face?

What are some of our top tips for an energy efficient orientation?  In Perth we try to have:

  1. The longest walls (surface area) on the northern and southern sides.
  2. Kitchens and living spaces on the northern side.
  3. Bathrooms, laundries and rooms used less frequently on the eastern or western sides.

The building should be orientated to maximise sun exposure in the winter but minimise exposure in the summer.  Building setbacks also need to be considered to utilise natural light and air flow.

When it comes to designing an energy efficient home, there are many other factors for you to consider so why not get in touch with the team at Perth’s Granny Flat Specialist to find out more! (08) 9284 7778

In the last few years there have been numerous fire events that have devastated bushland areas and destroyed or damaged properties around the country.  Australia is one of the most bushfire prone countries in the world and some of its driest climatic regions are in the south west part of Western Australia.  As our population continues to grow and weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable more and more Australians are likely to be affected by this danger.

Vast amounts of research has been conducted to identify areas prone to, and at risk of, bushfire.  This has lead to the implementation of protective policies, procedures and standards at national, state and local levels.

Are you thinking about building a granny flat but don’t know where to start? In this FREE GUIDE you will find great information about whether your property is suitable, how to choose the right builder for you and the steps to a successful building experience! You need to read this!

Some of these include:

  • Australian Standard AS3959-2009: Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas
  • National Construction Code P2.3.4
  • State Planning Policy 3.7: Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas

These all refer to bushfire prone areas and land subject, or likely to be subject to, bushfires.

Building in a Bushfire prone Area

If you would like to build a granny flat and your property is located in a Bushfire Prone Area you will be required to have a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment carried out.  This not only helps to identify your property’s individual risk to bushfire but also the construction requirements needed to improve the new building’s ability to withstand attack and provide protection in the event of a bushfire.

A BAL Assessment measures the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact.  It is calculated using sophisticated scientific modelling and assessing the type of nearby vegetation and its proximity to the building, the slope of your property and local weather patterns.

The six ratings available are:

BAL-Low

BAL12.5

BAL19

BAL29

BAL40

BAL-Flame Zone

If your property is not in a bushfire prone area, you can still engage the professional services of an assessor to calculate the defendable space required to protect your granny flat in the event of a bushfire, and provide strategies on how to reduce ember attack and identify and manage the vegetation surrounding the building.

To find out if your property is located in a Bushfire Prone Area you can use this Department of Fire & Emergency Services Map or contact us at Perth Granny Flat Specialist (08) 9284 7778.

Are you thinking about building a granny flat but don’t know where to start? In this FREE GUIDE you will find great information about whether your property is suitable, how to choose the right builder for you and the steps to a successful building experience! You need to read this!

Timber is an inspiring product.  It comes from the natural environment and no two pieces are ever the same.  As humans, we interact with timber differently to any other building material.  It can connect us with mother nature through the built environment.

In this TED Talk, architect Michael Green argues timber to be the most technologically advanced building material we have and that the pressure of urbanisation and population growth demands we look at alternatives to concrete and steel.

Almost half of the worlds contribution to greenhouse emissions come from the construction industry.  This is more than that contributed by the transport industry.

And in fact, 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of concrete and steel alone.  This means building our homes and cities from these products requires a lot of energy and results in waste and pollution.

The two ways in which we can address this are to reduce our production of greenhouse gases and/or increase our ability to store such emissions.  Timber is the only product that can do both.  Timber is the only building material that is grown by the power of the sun.  It provides us with oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  By taking a tree, turning it in to timber and using it in a building, we are storing that carbon forever.

Engineering timber construction is easy, the science of fire enables us to make buildings safe, and there are sustainable models for forestry which can ensure trees are grown and harvested appropriately.   For Green, the challenge is changing society’s perceptions…

Watch Michael Green’s TED talk.

If you are considering the sustainability and environmental impact of your granny flat, please contact Perth Granny Flat Specialist to discuss our experience with timber framing – (08) 9284 7778.

Wood is a product that combines inspiration, beauty, performance and environmental advantage. This article looks at some of the most compelling reasons for using wood in the built environment.  Timber framing granny flats is such a great option.

As you will discover, not only is wood a natural product of inherent beauty, as a building material it offers superior performance backed by significant environmental credentials.Offering design options that are limited only by imagination, its flexibility and versatility is no better demonstrated than by the variety of applications it lends itself to. From striking internal timber detailing to strong and cost effective external structures, wood offers a solution to a multitude of building and design requirements, literally creating living spaces alive with beauty, warmth and comfort.

Are you thinking about building a granny flat but don’t know where to start? In this FREE GUIDE you will find great information about whether your property is suitable, how to choose the right builder for you and the steps to a successful building experience! You need to read this!

Timber is one of the world’s top performing construction materials. Tried and tested over centuries, it’s inherent beauty, strength and durability has seen it remain one of the most popular building materials to this day.

Developments and advancements in engineered wood products and in timber treatments mean that timber can now be used where once materials like steel or concrete were the only option. And in key areas of acoustics, thermal performance, strength and fire resistance – timber is not just capable of answering a wide range of specifications but also of performing strongly, each and every time.

Timber framing is the most widely-used structural building method in the world, offering a fast, eco-friendly, highly-insulated building solution. Timber framed homes offer huge savings, improved insulation, and healthier standards of living.

The following points are just some of the benefits of using timber framing:

  • Construction times are reduced using Timber Frame techniques by as much as one third.
  • Impact of inclement weather is reduced as construction need not stop.
  • Program of following trades is easier.
  • Timber Frame offers a lighter form of construction which can be of benefit to foundations particularly where poor ground conditions prevail.
  • Improved sound insulation compared with alternative construction methods, particularly at separating walls.
  • Higher thermal insulation at an economic price when compared with alternative construction methods.
  • Greater accuracy and a better standard of finish after handover.
  • Timber Frame is a dry form of construction, there is no drying out period. You will not get drying out cracks common in wet construction.
    Adequately responds to environmental issues concerning energy use during production and after construction.
  • Wood is effectively a carbon-neutral material (even allowing for transport). With the ability to store carbon for its entire service life, using sustainably sourced timber can help tackle climate change and transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Wood is a renewable resource.
  • Timber Frame has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material.
  • For every cubic meter of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonne of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere.Processing timber is an energy efficient procedure. 77% of the energy used in the production of wood products comes from wood residues and recovered wood.
  • Converting timber into a useable building material takes far less energy and creates minimal pollution compared to other mainstream alternatives such as aluminium, steel, concrete and brick.
  • Strength for strength, concrete uses 5 times (and steel uses 6 times) more energy to produce than timber.
  • Residues generated through the use of timber can be reused in a variety of positive ways, as can the wood from products once they reach their “end of life”.

Termite Management

Termites are an integral part of the ecology on mainland Australia and may attack houses and commercial structures of any construction. The timber industry recommends that all new Australian homes are protected from termite attack by using the right materials, construction methods and by regular inspection. Termite protected Blue Pine framing is available where termite risk is higher or where the homeowner or builder would like additional peace of mind.

Forest Management Certification

Chain of Custody Forest Certification is a voluntary market based initiative that enables consumers to confidently purchase wood that is harvested from responsibly managed forests. The chain of custody refers to all the steps involved in taking the forest product from the forest itself, through manufacture, transport and distribution to the point of purchase. For an end product to be labelled certified there must be an unbroken chain of certified organisations covering change of legal ownership.

Sustainable forest management makes the forestry industry one of the most greenhouse friendly sectors of the Australian economy. A sustainably managed forest has three values at its core, maintaining ecological processes within the forest, maintaining biodiversity and optimising environmental, economic and social benefits for current and future generations.1 On top of a focus on renewable energy it has been noted that in 2004 a net 14.9 million tonnes of carbon were removed from the atmosphere through sustainable forestry and carbon store in wood products.

Are you thinking about building a granny flat but don’t know where to start? In this FREE GUIDE you will find great information about whether your property is suitable, how to choose the right builder for you and the steps to a successful building experience! You need to read this!

I was out sailing on the Swan River the other day with a friend who is a successful architect in Perth. As we sailed past Applecross one of the crew inquired if he had many people asking him about making their new mansion eco-friendly.

He replied that yes, they did. He said he usually answered that if they really wanted to be green, then they could delete the extra bedrooms and bathrooms that weren’t being used and cut down on the sizes of all the living areas. This was usually met with blank stares and couldn’t they just put some solar panels on the roof.

It seems that people like being seen to be green more than the reality of living green.

Which brings me to my point, what could be greener than a granny flat or studio in your backyard? Built using sustainably sourced timber, lightweight materials and cost-efficient design principles it achieves great energy efficiency.

If you can use it as an office and work from home, even better. Think of the greenhouse gases you prevent by not commuting to work.

By using timber and other lightweight materials we are able to complete your granny flat in a faster time and impact less on the environment during the build time.

Once completed, electricity bills are reduced, water bills are minimised and our clever granny flat designs reduce the need for heating and cooling. Using natural air movement for cooling, energy efficient heating and appropriate positioning of your Perth granny flat on the site is all part of our process.

Research has shown that heating and cooling account for an average of approximately 40% of household energy costs across Australia. Homes designed to suit the climate of their location result in a significant reduction in the amount of energy required to heat and cool the home.
If you or someone you know would like to know more, please get in touch. We’d love to help.

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