DO THE new housing estates on Phillip Island offer more sustainable houses and lifestyle than the older houses and properties in the townships of Cowes, Newhaven and Rhyll?
I found this to be a fascinating question, which will be discussed at an upcoming sustainable housing forum that will look at environmentally sustainable design (ESD) on Phillip Island.
Recently I spent time with Russell Goode, an experienced local-based house designer and passionate believer in sustainable design, looking at the estates and to consider this issue. We found the standard varied greatly and that some estates were better for ESD and low energy usage than others.
The most disappointing aspect of the new house designs was the disregard for the correct orientations of living areas to the north.
The other main problem repeated often was the poor design of the roof shapes. Many roof shapes were multi-planed with different direction pitches, making it extremely difficult to fit photovoltaic solar electricity panel arrays. Given that Phillip Island is likely to remain dependent on electricity as the main energy source, solar panels will be more and more crucial as electricity prices rise.
Other problems included the lack of sun shading over north- and west-facing windows. In some cases the houses had no eaves at all, making the houses dependent on air conditioning for cooling.
We noticed that many front gardens were composed of stones, rocks and arid area plant species. These are completely foreign to the local habitat that the native birds such as plovers and swamp hens usually forage in. This is in stark contrast to the townships’ green grassy lined streets with established trees which provide habitat for the plovers, Cape Barren geese and water hens.
Terence Nott is a Phillip Island architect and member of the Phillip Island Conservation Society. He will chair the sustainable housing forum.
The sustainable housing forum will be held at the Parish Hall, Thompson Avenue, Cowes, at 7.30pm on Friday, April 26. Hosted by the Phillip Island Conservation Society, the forum will feature Jane Toner, architect and director of Sustainable Built Environments; Russell Goode, Offshore Drafting; and a planner from Bass Coast Council. All welcome. Free admission.