The 2016 HIA GreenSmart Product of the Year promises sustainable materials and practices, from design and ﬂatpack shipping to installation.
rom installing a garden pavilion for a Hong Kong businessman to building remote villages in the Kimberley, Stephen Sainsbury is an environmental architect, and an early part of the green movement in Australia during the 1970s. His company, New South Wales-based Ecoshelta, has won the 2016 GreenSmart Product of the Year award for the Bigpod N series; a modular prefabricated building system to suit a variety of purposes, including cabins, houses, studios and ecotourism accommodation. The winning system was used for the Hobart Hideaway Cabins in Tasmania. The pods are particularly unique because they’re designed to suit remote, difﬁcult, exposed and limited access locations that are subject to extreme conditions, such as earthquakes, bushﬁres and cyclones.
‘We go to some very out of the way places,’ Stephen says. ‘We once installed a scientiﬁc monitoring station on a 1.5 million-acre property, with a driveway that took three days to get the container up.’ While prefab is now a busy marketplace, the Ecoshelta difference is its unwavering commitment to wholly sustainable products and practices. The entire supply chain from design to construction, installation and beyond is critically managed to ensure every element has minimal environmental impact. For starters, Ecoshelta uses their advanced in-house EcoCost environmental impact assessment system. They also only buy Australian materials. And if Stephen is in doubt, he’ll visit suppliers’ factories to ensure their products are legitimate, so that he can ensure every material has been sourced and selected with integrity.
story > Annie Reid