A pared-back design, maximising the beneﬁts of building with timber, offers a highly sustainable – and surprisingly affordable – family home.
story > Laura Valic
Tasmania, which nabbed the 2016 HIA GreenSmart Display Home award. According to Owen, the business puts a strong emphasis on materials, carefully selecting them based on where they come from, their properties and whether they are healthy to live with – from the structural components right down to the choice of low- or zero-VOC ﬁnishes and adhesives to minimise exposure to harmful chemicals. ‘Where possible, natural materials are chosen over artiﬁcial ones and locallysourced to reduce product miles,’ Owen says. ‘The main material is timber, which has low embodied energy so there’s not a lot of manufacturing involved. Plantation timber is an obvious choice [to us] because it’s plentiful and a reasonably renewable resource.’ The home’s striking exterior comes from cypress macrocarpa timber, an oily
hether it’s strumming a guitar or sawing a piece of wood, musician-turnedbuilder Owen Thomson has always enjoyed working with his hands. As a GreenSmart Professional who has also always had an interest in environmental issues, it’s no wonder then that his latest house, NEATbox, combines sustainable and energyefﬁcient design with quite a ‘hand-made aspect’ to its construction. ‘A lot of carpentry and hands-on building is done onsite,’ says Owen, who before starting his building business NEAThouse Tasmania three years ago, focused on general building work. ‘I love working with timber, more than anything else.’ This draw to timber is evident in all aspects of the compact three-bedroom home, located on Dodges Ferry in
After building your environmentally-conscious home, consider revegetating the site with indigenous and water-wise plants that thrive in the climate you live in. Not only will a garden improve a home’s façade, but it will also help to repopulate natural ﬂora and fauna ecosystems that may have been lost or damaged during construction. Visit your local nursery for useful tips and advice.