This striking green-roofed terrace development in Sydney’s inner city is an example of style meeting environmentally-aware construction and design.
story > Ian Bushnell
solar panels mean no electricity bills and rainwater tanks minimise water costs and irrigate the roof. The split-level design, retractable atrium roof (which also allows hot air to escape) and skylights provide natural lighting. Inside, the ﬁnish features certiﬁed timbers and low-VOC joinery coatings and paints.
eing green is easier than you think. Just ask Oliver Steele, whose 20 years as an architect and builder leave him excited about how far the industry has come and where it’s headed. Oliver is director of Steele Associates, which won the 2016 HIA GreenSmart Townhouse Villa Development award for a three-terrace development at 88 Angel Street, Newtown in Sydney. Oliver has seen environmental issues move from the fringe to the mainstream and became one of the top ﬁve concerns of the industry. With so many eco-friendly products and building methods on the market and costs coming down, there’s never been a
better time for builders and consumers to achieve sustainable outcomes. From easy-to-work structural insulated panels to cost-efﬁcient greenstar rated enviro concrete (up to 60 per cent recycled), engineered timber, energy-efﬁcient LED lighting and solar panels, the choices are there to reduce your carbon footprint without it breaking the bank or your lifestyle. ‘There are a lot of things which are becoming good environmental choices as well as economical construction choices,’ Oliver says. Angel Street incorporates many of these aspects, marrying passive solar, low-energy building design – including a native plant green roof that takes the sting out of the western sun and provides extra insulation – with the hi-tech convenience of smart meters, thermostats, timers and sensors. High thermal mass, double-glazing, cross-ventilation, and automated shades, awnings and louvres make airconditioning redundant, while 4.25kW
‘THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT HAS BEEN EDUCATION AND UNDERSTANDING’
That this Steele Associates development venture sold at a tidy proﬁt demonstrates how sustainable building principles can be commercially viable. Oliver began his career straight after school, working on a housing construction site in Chippendale before studying architecture at the University of NSW. His environmental awareness began as a teenager and the building industry
Consider external shading to minimise your home’s heating and cooling costs. According to architect Oliver Steele, opt for horizontal shading over north-facing windows to let winter sun in and keep the summer sun out; vertical shading over east- and west-facing windows; or external blinds, louvres or shutters. ‘People often do internal shading, but once the sun’s heat is in you can’t get it out,’ he says.