Sisters of St Joseph at Lochinvar near Maitland NSW have developed five eco-friendly units including paths made from recycled tyres as well as large water tanks.
Aurora reports that "15 Denison Street" is a group of five self-contained, one bedroom units built for the Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar. The Sisters deliberately chose a design which recognises the importance of sustainability and the need to tread lightly on this earth.
According to architect Russell Ockendon of Duc Associates, "all materials used in the building have been considered for low embodied energy and the possibility of recycling. The floors and walls are concrete for thermal inertia. To prevent excessive heat gain, concrete walls are covered externally with mid-range thermal insulation."
Each unit has a 1,500 litre water storage tank which collects roof water used for toilets, washing machines, irrigation and garden taps.
Gas is used for heating and stove cooking. There is no air conditioning. Ceiling fans assist cross ventilation for cooling and also quickly distribute warm air from gas heaters throughout the living space. The multi-control louvres on opposite wall of the units also facilitate natural cross ventilation.
All five units are oriented to the north and sited towards the south sides of each half of the site to maximise the northern aspect. Privacy to and from the living spaces is provided by plants and shade-screen fences.
Every unit contains four metres of cupboards, a bathroom vanity cabinet, laundry cabinet, desk and kitchen storage. Each unit has a private open space which includes a patio and garden.
The design also recognises the need for ageing-in-place facilities for the Sisters. Access on site complies with the appropriate provisions in the Australian Standard for disabled access. For example, the living space allows wheelchair access to shower, toilet, bathroom vanity and kitchen. The paths connecting the units are made from recycled tyres, enabling easy wheelchair progress in and round the gardens.
The gardens will, according to designer Dee Taylor, provide a lush and scent filled place to be. Many of the plants were provided by Sr Ellen Royan of Lochinvar.
Earth Matters: Denison Street Mayfield (Aurora, 3/6/08)