Hempcrete sustainable building material in construction

Here at Lou Projects we specialise in building energy efficient, sustainable, functional and comfortable homes. We’d like to thank the Master Builders Association for recognising this, and awarding us the winner of the ‘Energy Efficiency and Environmental Sustainability’ category in the 2023 Newcastle Excellence in Building Awards.

The award winning project was Ahara House. The main intention for Ahara House was a high quality, high performing home, that’s super cosy and comfortable. Rather than going for an over the top and extravagant design, we were aiming for a more humble cottage look and feel. The desired outcome was high performance meets cottage elegance, which means it’s healthy, comfortable and humble in its appearance. 

Ahara House is the result of another successful collaboration between Lou Projects and Luke Farrugia Architect, with the interior design guided by Pair Studio. The collaboration among architect, builder, and designer resulted in a cohesive design that considers everything from the positioning of walls and windows to the choice of fixtures and fittings.

We’re proud to say Ahara House is a mould free home. This is because it’s been built to a much higher standard than your typical home, starting with proper ventilation cavities, breathable wraps and waterproof membranes. All of this creates a completely weatherproof and airtight building envelope that works to keep outside elements, such as moisture and humidity, from entering and creating a breeding ground for mould as well as causing major structural damage. 

It also prioritises energy efficiency and comfort through exceptional insulation. The use of SIPs (structural insulated panels), sourced from Smart SIPs Australia, provides a highly insulated, airtight frame that enhances durability and energy efficiency. The majority of the SIPs panels used in Ahara House boast an impressive R-value of 8.2, with others ranging from R-values of 6.2 to 4.2. This significantly exceeds the insulation levels of traditional construction methods.

To further enhance thermal performance, Ahara House features timber-framed double glazed windows and doors, sourced from Windoor – you can learn more about different frames and glazing options on our blog. Timber naturally provides insulation, minimising heat/cold transfer between the interior and exterior. Coupled with double glazing, these windows and doors contribute to a high performing, energy efficient environment, keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer. 

To ensure superior indoor air quality, Ahara House is equipped with a whole-house HRV (heat recovery ventilation) system, from Stiebel Eltron. This advanced system continuously removes stale, moist air from inside, while introducing filtered, fresh air from the outside. The integrated filters effectively eliminate various pollutants, such as pollen, bacteria, smoke, smog, and mould spores. With the ability to adjust the incoming air temperature based on the season, the HRV system provides a consistent supply of clean, filtered air at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.

Additionally, the entire house is outfitted with a Puretec WH2-60 water filter, featuring a dual filtration system that removes chlorine, chemicals, and sediment from the water supply. This ensures that every tap in the house, including showers and sinks, delivers filtered water, offering benefits such as healthier skin and hair, a stronger immune system, and increased wellbeing.

Excitingly, Ahara House is now available for short stays, allowing you to experience firsthand what it feels like to live in a high performing home, and discover the remarkable difference it makes. 

Since Lou Projects began in 2018, we’ve had one major goal – to build better homes. We do this with a clear focus on energy efficient, comfortable and innovative designs. Our vision is to inspire a new generation of builders to exceed current standards and build healthier homes for our clients. We continue to immerse ourselves in readings, courses and webinars to soak up as much knowledge as possible. We do this so we can build high-end, energy efficient homes that are comfortable, enjoyable places to live, that can and will save money, water and energy. 

Our team is full of young, energetic and passionate people. We’re driven by the culture within our team and place a huge focus on continual education and improvement, whether that be building practices, community, environment and/or mental health. It’s important to us that we all work well together, enjoy each other’s company, and also empower and support each other. 

So what’s next for us? We’re currently working on designing a range of homes ready for clients that are looking to save time, money and the hassle of venturing down a complete custom build. This will ultimately allow more people to access more energy efficient homes for a competitive and affordable price. So stay tuned for that! 

2023 Master Builders Association Newcastle Excellence in Business Awards
That’s a wrap… 2023 a year in review

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