Retrofit Case Study: Frankston South Home

D. Existing Conditions before restoration - front
A. Sustainable House retrofit & restoration to existing weatherboard house

Green building has certainly moved on from being a `trend’ to normal practice.

In the last issue of Build Online, we shared the popularity of a recent post on the Build Expo Facebook page that showcased a case study about a Perth couple who turned their 1980s townhouse into a climate conscious oasis.

Given the popularity, we asked you, the reader, to share your own case studies documenting an environmentally sustainable build or renovation project.

The following is a recent retrofit project of a South Frankston home by Bridget Puszka of BP Architects Sustainable Architecture.

Sustainability in this project included economic parameters as well as rainwater storage and use, improved use of existing building, extending living areas to exterior, connecting the surrounding garden landscape, long distance vistas with house reusing materials as site, reusing salvaged materials, second hand materials to create as more energy efficient home.

The challenge in this project was to sustainably modify and retrofit an existing home within a limited budget.  The result is a beautiful sustainable home restored to its former grandeur, maximizing vistas and garden setting, sustainably collecting rainwater, resourcefully reusing materials and thoughtful remodelling of the home.

  • Project Budget $110,000, although Neighbour said “you’ve spent millions”
  • House extensively remodelled, to allow better use of existing building, requiring only a small bathroom extension
  • Second hand marble reused for kitchen benchtop
  • Kitchen cupboards modified & reused
  • Recycled Second hand timber sourced for decking, handrail & balustrade
  • Second-hand materials destined for disposal made for an economical Sustainable retrofit & extension.   Timber verandah posts sourced from demolition of a stair destined for landfill
  • Second-hand windows & doors were used throughout
  • Second-hand bay windows, in keeping with the style & era of the house, fit neatly into rooms as if they were always part of the original house fabric & design.
  • Reclaimed Stone from garden used in front stairs & paving

Type of client?
Retired Couple with strong sustainable and spiritual interests.

What was the brief?
To design an economical sustainable house addition and retrofit making the most of recycled materials and the existing building.

What challenges did the project face in terms of sustainability?
Affordability was the biggest challenge.  Recycling single glazed windows

What was the cost of the project per sq m?
What, if any, cost factors influenced the ESD decisions? $458 per sqm.  Cost factor was the driver influencing most of the ESD decisions.  Recycled marble was used for the benchtops, existing kitchen cupboards were remodeled and reused in the kitchen, reclaimed timber for landfill was used for the verandah posts, recycled timber was used for the decking, salvaged timber from the house demolition was used for benchtops in the new retrofit, windows were salvaged from the house demolition and from salvage yards, bay windows were bought from secondhand dealers.  ESD and affordability were considered throughout the retrofit and restoration of this house

How has the building been designed for its surrounding climate? 
Timber decks provided outdoor living spaces and allowed long distance vistas for Port Phillip Bay and views into the garden.  Protected deck at the rear provided a sheltered area with views to the garden.  The bay windows allowed for views out from the building.  Tiles on a grout bed were used to provide thermal mass in the house as was the brick surround for the wood fire in the kitchen.

Did mandatory requirements (State or Local Council) influence the project? If yes, outline what these were. Did the project surpass mandatory requirements? 
All timber used had to be of durability Class 1 or 2.  All existing timber to be used to be in an “as new” condition and is to comply with today’s standards.

Does the project have any ratings? Please list.
FirstRate House Energy Rating of 6 stars.

How has the project addressed energy, water and resource efficiency? 
Energy – Photovoltaic array.  Window and door seals.  High levels of Insulation.  Water – 60,000L rainwater tank.  Water conservation awareness by Occupants.  Resource efficiency – reuse, salvage, restore.

What was particularly innovative in ESD terms about this project? 
Reuse of salvaged timber for the verandah and also for feature timber shelving in the house, restoring timber, designed to be landfill, to be useful and back to its natural beauty.

What environmental products were incorporated in the design, how and where? 
Low VOC floor finishes.

Were recyclable building practices implemented on site?
Nothing in this project went to waste.  The windows were reused.  Thresholds for doors were reclaimed and finished as shelving in the house.  Weatherboards removed for the rear extension were reused. The builder was instructed to minimize waste and to recycle materials from the demolition.

Was any recycled content used in the project? If so, what and where was it? 
Recycled content was used throughout the fitout and restoration of this house.  Recycled timber were sourced for the deck and used for the handrail and balustrade.  Timber verandah posts were sourced from a demolition of a stair destined for landfill.  Secondhand windows and doors were used throughout.  Second hand bay windows, in keeping with the style and era of the house, fit neatly into rooms as if they were always part of the original house fabric and design.  Stone was retrieved from the garden and used for the paving and stairs.  Sourcing second hand materials destined for disposal made for an economic sustainable retrofit and extension.  Interior doors were reused and second hand doors purchased.

Was the whole life cycle impact of the building project considered and addressed?
Life cycle impact of the building project was considered in sourcing building materials for this project. Local tradesmen

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