Sustainability is a core focus for our practice. Whenever we are designing we constantly measure our decisions against the sustainable principles of:

  • Thermal performance
  • Passive design
  • Energy use
  • Material selection

When a client’s brief is tested against these principles, we often need to find new and creative ways to meet their aspirations in an environmentally responsible way.

A client’s desire for views, volume and seamless integration with the outdoors can, at first glance, compete with these sustainable principles.

For example, a large expanse of glazing can bring light into the centre of a house. When looked at through the lens of sustainability, this tactic could compromise the performance of the house by allowing a massive amount of heat gain in summer or heat loss in winter. This in turn creates a reliance on heating and cooling systems that increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The challenge for any architect is to try and resolve how competing interests can be brought together in a unified sustainable vision.

Creating a sustainable project is so much more than simply specifying double glazing and solar PV panels. The Florence St project was a case study in sustainability and through that project we learnt how to make a truly sustainable house without compromise.  Many of those lessons we learnt are incorporated into our daily practice:

  • Incorporating sustainable, renewable and recycled materials.
  • FSC and PEFC certified external and internal timber finishes.
  • Optimising the performance of the building envelope to reduce emissions from heating and cooling.
  • Utilising low or no Volatile Organic Compounds  (VOC) and formaldehyde free materials and finishes.
  • Low energy fittings and appliances.
  • Minimising water usage and re-using grey water.
  • Incorporating materials that have low embodied energy either from their production process or transport.

Energy use is a huge component of any project and at Nest we try to create projects that are 100% powered by electricity. A fully electric project could incorporate the following elements:

  • Solar power collected by PV panels.
  • Energy stored in batteries which in turn are connected to the energy grid.
  • Additional energy supplied by geothermal coils which in turn are linked to the house via heat exchangers.
  • Software that monitors energy use and optimises output.
  • Additional software that allows users to buy and sell their power via community energy markets.

Not all of our clients have the capacity to fulfil everything that has been mentioned above. We work corroboratively with our clients to ensure that their projects are designed to take advantage of as many sustainable principles as possible.

At Nest, we are constantly researching and testing how to resolve our client’s desires against the need to be environmentally responsible. It’s a challenge we hold dear to our hearts.


IMG_5966-Edit Sustainability


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