sustainable architecture - sunshine coast

Sustainable Design

WD Architects approaches sustainability from the point of view of ‘cradle-to-cradle’ solutions. This means that the impact of building components and processes are considered from raw material through to transport, construction, life-cycle, performance and maintenance in the building, and at the end of the building’s life when it is demolished or abandoned. In essence sustainable building materials need to be reusable or recyclable without loss of quality, or compostable at the end of their life.

The goal in this approach is to provide buildings which work efficiently with little or no action by the users, that have flexibility in terms of temperature control so that options are available to suit seasonal changes and daily weather and energy use is kept to a minimum. We provide robust and practical solutions – things that work and will last.

Energy Efficiency

WD Architects designs only sustainable, energy-efficient buildings. An energy-efficient building is one that is comfortable for the users throughout the year with a minimum of ongoing expense to keep it that way.

Energy-efficient design is simply intelligent design:
  • daylighting, with no running costs, limits the need for artificial lighting
  • building orientation with a well-considered design shades the sun when it needs to be and allows it in when required
  • natural ventilation is supplemented with mechanical systems so that the latter is used for a minimum amount of time

Thus, an energy-efficient building is cost-efficient in terms of running costs, maintenance costs and staff productivity.

Appropriate Materials

Before sustainability became the buzz-word, "appropriate technology" was the term to describe design solutions that suited their location, use, function, and budget; thus being inherently sustainable choices. Appropriate technology was the foundation of Andrew Webb's early career in disadvantaged communities and remains a fundamental concept with every commission.

WD Architects uses materials and skills that support the local economy whenever possible, prioritising the town, the region, the state, and the country; in that order. Sunshine Coast buildings should support the economy of the region wherever opportunities are present.

An appropriate material is one that suits its position and function within the design; it does not become a liability to the owner once construction is completed. Andrew's past experience designing public transportation facilities highlighted the need for materials to be robust, safe and low-maintenance.

Internal materials need to be non-toxic, attractive and uplifting; contributing to the appeal of the building and the health and productivity of the users. These sorts of considerations are what innovative design is all about.