2016 custom built home/professional of the year
JOE MERCIECA CALLS THE BLUE MOUNTAINS HOME AND IS PASSIONATE ABOUT PROTECTING AND PRESERVING THE FRAGILE BEAUTY OF ITS FLORA, FAUNA AND ECOSYSTEMS
this, he works in close collaboration with every client at every stage of the project. ‘We talk to them and really try to understand their motivation and exactly what they want to achieve.’ This collaboration continues past completion, as the owners learn how to make use of their home’s energyefﬁciency features. ‘The thing with a sustainable home is that it’s not just like buying a car, where you can jump in and drive up the road and everything’s hunky-dory,’ Joe explains. ‘You’ve got to learn to live with the house, learn how it operates. You need to know what windows to open and at what times of the day; if it’s windy don’t open this one but open that one; and when to open and close the blinds. It’s a learning curve which can take a good six to twelve months, but when people take the time to learn how the home works, it performs better.’
Custom Built Home of the Year
A brilliant example of Blue Eco Homes’ astute approach to sustainable and energy-efﬁcient building is the MMM House, which won the 2016 GreenSmart Custom Built Home award.
‘The client came to us with their architect’s plans, requesting that we make the home as sustainable, energyefﬁcient and comfortable as possible,’ Joe says. ‘We took the architect’s design, then sort of pulled it apart and started piecing it back together, incorporating the necessary thermal properties while maintaining the design vision. It was collaboration through the whole build.’ To combat the chilly Blue Mountains winters, the design prioritises solar access, with all living areas oriented to the north and the polished concrete ﬂoor acting as a ‘heat sink’, drawing in warmth during the day and releasing it at night. Timberframed windows are low-E doubleglazed, and the internal and external walls are constructed from Zego foam blocks, core-ﬁlled with concrete. ‘This system provides a high level of insulation and speeds up construction,’ Joe explains, adding that all materials used in the home were selected for their thermal efﬁciency, recyclability and reuse potential. To supplement the heating during periods of grey weather (fairly frequent during the Blue Mountains winters),