In order to create a viable model of sustainability it was necessary for architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers to work in close collaboration. The response approached the problem by looking at all elements of the design - from topography to form, to climatic response to waste and water management - in order to create a hybrid of sustainable solutions.
A modular solution was reached which would reduce the need for specialist labour and wet trades, speed up the construction process and allow easy expansion or reduction of living modules to accommodate family growth and change. Extra modules can be added to void areas where new residents are introduced, or taken away when they leave.
In following the topography by raising and lowering the building to the pattern of the land it is possible to avoid deeply disturbing the land and save on construction time. Lifting the building on stilts also has the benefit of increasing natural ventilation allowing air flow around and under the house to cool the interior spaces.
Water management is incorporated to a great extent within the design using a filtration device to capture around 50% of all grey water (from showers and wash basins) and reusing it within the toilets. A green roof system will also minimise storm water run-off to prevent flooding of drains and reusing the water for irrigation in the landscape. Energy is produced through photovoltaic panels on the roof. While the individual elements of the design are not necessarily ground-breaking, it is the comprehensive approach from design through to completion that enables The Idea House to act as a test bed for sustainability.