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Case Study

K-Series - Cube Building Services

Project
  • New residential home, Eaglemont Victoria
Scope
  • Apply K-Series to new timber frame home
  • Achieve superior thermal performance, energy efficiency and bushfire protection
  • Minimise energy and insurance bills
Products
  • K-Series system (80mm)
  • K-Series can be applied either Direct-To-Frame or to a masonry or concrete substrate, where a render system finish is required.
Benefits
  • Created insulated, weather-tight building envelope
  • Designed maximises value of natural heat, light & coolness
  • Realised low gas bills for heating, and 30 percent lower insurance premiums
  • Reduced carbon emissions and lowered environmental impacts with sustainable materials
Background

In the Melbourne suburb of Eaglemont, Mark Varafdi, the founder and operator of Cube Building Services, has embarked on a labour of love to design and build his own family home in line with environmentally sustainable design principles. As an H.I.A. Greensmart Accredited Professional Builder, Mark sought to create an energy efficient home that was comfortable, durable and aesthetically pleasing.

“I wanted to build a large house for my family that was also economical to run and live in,” explains Mark. “Starting with a blank canvas was a great advantage as it enabled me to draw on the years of experience. “First, I set my sights on finding a block of land with a north- facing aspect to maximise natural light. Secondly, I designed the house to minimise heat penetration in summer and boost warmth in winter. I also spent some time researching and selecting the latest sustainable materials that would deliver a modern solution capable of withstanding harsh Australian conditions.

Challenges

One of the challenges Mark faces was finding a high- performance insulation system that was compact and renderable.

“Even though Eaglemont is not designated as a bushfire-prone area, I wanted an external cladding solution that has excellent fire properties to protect the house and keep my insurance premiums low in the long-term,” explains Mark. “I also wanted a substrate that was lightweight, easy to work with and energy-efficient.

“This is one of the highest ratings available on the market and in the event of a fire; the phenolic core merely chars, rather than melts. K-Series also provides protection against severe wind conditions with a C4 cyclonic rating, which is a testament to its strength.”

Solution

To achieve the highest thermal outcomes possible, Mark settled on the 80 mm profile of K-Series insulative cladding system, incorporating Kooltherm panels.

“The greatest benefit of the K-Series system is the thermal efficiency it delivers,” says Mark. “The focus with this house has been on creating a building that is as weather-tight as possible. To achieve this, we have used 80 mm K-Series with 35 mm battens. On the north and west side of the house (where we get direct sunlight) we have double framed the area and used two layers of acoustic and thermal bats in combination with K-Series to achieve an incredible R12.0 rating.

“In addition, the floor is heavily insulated with glass bats that carry an R6 rating. Leveraging my background in joinery, I designed and constructed the doors and windows, which are double-glazed to minimise heat and cold exchange. On the roof, we have used a new heat-reflective Colourbond® product, and I have designed an extractor system that takes air out of the roof cavity and replenishes it every five minutes. In winter the system simply shuts down to keep the heat in. This enables us to keep the roof cavity at an even temperature, which further aids thermal efficiency.

“The house has 600 mm wide soffits to stop the sun and we have installed vents on all four sides for added ventilation and moisture control. Plus, the two balconies on the east and west side of the house, provide 2.5 m eaves that essentially block the westerly, morning and afternoon sun in summer to keep assist in maintaining an ambient temperatures in the rooms below. “Finally, in terms of sustainability, the phenolic insulative material, which is at the core of K-Series panels, has zero ozone depletion potential (zero ODP).

Outcomes

While Mark is still putting the finishing touches to his home, he is extremely pleased with the weather-tightness of the building and the thermal efficiency achieved to date. The energy use is extremely low as is the home’s impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.

Mark explains, “Looking at heating performance for example, our first gas bill during the winter months was just under $400 for a total surface area of 46 squares, which is about $8.70 per square for a period of three months. This demonstrates incredibly low heat loss and excellent control of our interior temperature. More importantly, we have optimised the design of the house to ensure we capture all natural heat.

“In combination with all the other thermal efficient features of the house, K-Series has allowed us to create an extremely comfortable home to live in that costs a lot less to run. And, with energy prices continuing to rise so dramatically, this makes good financial sense. We’re enjoying the quality, comfort and value that our home is delivering. Overall, it is cheap to run and insure, easy to maintain, and it protects us against the threat of bushfires, while reducing our carbon footprint.”

“Creating this home goes to show that by using an integrated approach to design that combines best practices in terms of construction and high-performing materials, you can achieve incredible energy efficiency.”

Future

Mark is keen to help other homeowners achieve similar benefits, whether they’re renovating or building from scratch. He says, “Today, there’s a lot more to building than just construction. It’s also about designing spaces that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

“Given that heating and cooling contribute to about half of the energy used in a home, it makes sense to seal and insulate. The K-Series system is an excellent place to start to achieve thermal performance. It’s a great product that delivers one of the highest levels of protection against fire (BAL 40 rating), cyclonic winds (C4 rating), heat, cold, moisture and noise.

“In today’s resource-constrained world, it’s our responsibility as home owners to cut energy use and reduce carbon emissions. Using external insulated cladding is a crucial step in creating homes for the future.”

“Even though Eaglemont is not designated as a bushfire-prone area, I wanted an external cladding solution that has excellent fire properties to protect the house and keep my insurance premiums low in the long-term,” explains Mark. “I also wanted a substrate that was lightweight, easy to work with and energy-efficient.