EcoUrbane Building Group, are designers and builders of sustainable homes in the greater Adelaide region. Director, Mark Tassell, explains that they use a variety of materials in their projects including Bondor walling and roof systems, plantation timber, low VOC paint, pre-fabricated wall frames to reduce waste onsite and a dual bin system onsite, to reduce waste to landfill and increase amount of recycling during a build. Open since 2015, they are gradually gaining a foothold in the market with Houzz and word of mouth now becoming their greatest sources of traffic and business. “We are getting involved with a number of like minded architects around Adelaide, giving us the opportunity to be responsible for the building of more sustainable homes all the time” says Mark.
The business started after Mark had a negative experience during a renovation with a builder – the job was going over time, over budget, there were some quality control issues and they discovered that the builder was not being truthful in his dealings with both Mark, and the trades he had engaged to complete the build. So, he terminated the contract and Mark project-managed the build to completion. At about the same time he was feeling overburdened by the increasing levels of accountability, administration and bureaucracy that were infiltrating the teaching profession, and saw project management as a potential future career. It was also an opportunity to utilize the excellent organizational and interpersonal skills every teacher has in abundance.
He believes there is still a niche market for people who want a positive building experience. “Building homes that look beautiful and are inexpensive to heat and cool due to smart, passive design is critical to ensure we all minimize our energy footprint on the planet” says Mark. By highlighting the obvious benefits and showing that the initial outlay is quickly recouped in lower energy bills and increased levels of comfort, he believes that people can quickly get on board the idea.
The team are currently pricing up a job in Plympton South where they plan on using EPS-Extruded Polystyrene, which is an external cladding product that has vastly superior insulation and thermal efficiency properties over traditional building materials. “By using EPS on the outside of a building-in combination with a timber stud wall with R2.7 insulation and foil wrap-we can achieve an R rating as high as R4.9, compared to a typical brick veneer construction which has an R rating of only R3.2. The increased thermal efficiency of the walls of the house will lead to lower energy bills as the house will stay cooler in summer and retain the heat energy generated in winter” he says.
By using the same material on the roof, they will create a building envelope that outperforms many contemporary homes being built at the moment. A final benefit of this product is the speed of construction-once the wall frame is up, they can clad the house in under half the time of traditional cladding methods.
A favourite project of Mark’s, is their Plympton Unit – “We turned a dark, dingy 60’s unit with exposed timber beams and a kitchen that was way too old, into a sleek, contemporary 2 bedder that looks great!” he says.
You can find all of EcoUrbane’s details and see more examples of their work here.