Sustainability is the cornerstone of all Finnis Architects’ work. We look at how we can achieve the most sustainable dwellings possible by considering orientation, materials used, size of rooms, ceiling heights, window design, heating and cooling, floor construction, and passive solar potential.
For us, the first step on the path to sustainability is taking a detailed brief. We also question the necessity of stated requirements. For example, we might ask a client if they really need spaces that will be rarely used but which still require heating and cooling.
The use of sustainable timber materials is key in our projects. Additionally, we construct joinery using water-based glues and paints, and minimise the amount of chemicals used more generally. This is part of our mindfulness not just about sustainability principles, but about the day-to-day health of the inhabitants of a dwelling.
While our aim is to design dwellings that will have as few carbon emissions as possible, we recognise it’s sometimes impossible to have a completely zero-carbon building. When this is the case, Finnis Architects works with collaborators involved in tree-planting programs whose purpose is to offset carbon emissions that may be produced by buildings.
External spaces are just as important as internal spaces when it comes to sustainability. While grass might be high maintenance, we believe it’s extremely important as it acts as a sponge for particles of dust and dirt, has cooling properties and absorbs carbon monoxide. The fact is that the less grass we have the hotter the planet will be. We tend to pave because water is expensive, but we shouldn’t cheat ourselves of the benefits of grass.
When designing larger projects, such as greenfield estates, it is crucial that architects are on board from day one. An architect needs to come in and assess the passive solar opportunities of the building. It’s important to make sure that whenever possible the area in which inhabitants spends most of the day faces north, as north-facing buildings allow for the best control of sun penetration. This is ‘passive 101’.
The constructed work of Finnis Architects tells the story of a practice that has carved a niche through a commitment to first principles environmental design and social responsibility. The result? Some of the best award-winning architecture Australia has to offer. Please contact us on 03 9948 9900, or sign up to our newsletter to find out more.