Tag Archives: Ecotect-Architects

Passive Solar Homes are naturally resistant and safe havens for bush fires if designed correctly

Ecotect- Architects are offering a Free Architectural Advisory Service for those affected in Bush Fire Regions across Australia.

The architects at Ecotect-Architects have banded together to help the community by offering a 1 hour Free of Charge consultancy to improve a person’s planning strategy, before embarking on a new project or retro for re-buildings after fire catastrophe, or those considering building in fire risk areas as well as  retrofitting your home for natural comfort using passive solar principles and increasing fire resilience.

Please see an article we published recently on the NatSCOPE and NEXUS Architectural websites for ideas – http://nexusarchitectural.com/what-can-architects-do-to-help-with-bush-fires-the-answer-is-plenty/

Phone our team for a face to face chat if you are located in the Perth region, or we can arrange a  skype session for regional WA and other States.

Insurance Companies

Ecotect-Architects will also extend this free service to all insurance companies and their customers to help make sure such damage is quelled in the future. We understand compliance, but also good fire proofing design.

Building solar homes are part of the answer to reducing fire damage risk. In Perth WA we are building a multi- home project which demonstrates all these principles. There is zero risk that these homes would ever catch fire. Our mass houses do not burn! Our passive solar houses always are superior to all other planning solutions, not just for energy conservation but also fire, and sustainable economics generally with inter-generational appeal.

Solar Passive Houses

Here is a link to our recently produced video to show what Ecotect-Architects has been doing recently and in fact for decades….

It is an update on a design approach we pioneered from the 1970s onwards and the services we provide to help you achieve your dream in the most sustainable way possible.

One way to alleviate anxiety over climate change is to build your next houses a well-optimized passive solar house or retrofit your existing house to save energy

Short Video Follow Up

To understand more, please read the script below after watching this video.

And follow up with our educational video made in 2005 to reinforce the knowledge

Or visit the shop on Wise Earth and Ecotect-Architects web sites to purchase useful design manuals.

Comments and Quotes from Garry Baverstock AM, founder of Ecotect-Architects and Wise Earth. 

 “What does it take to make your home naturally comfortable as possible and also apply the latest technologies to help avert dangerous climate change?

“I want to show you that have a home professionally designed makes more sense than ever at this time in history”

“It is not as easy as many in the housing industry would have you believe”.

“It all starts with good design. The aesthetics are important, but also how the house functions is critical. Its use of energy will be an asset or a big liability well after the glow of moving into a new home has long gone!”

“The video is to reinforce the use of passive solar design principles being applied to houses. In temperate climates homeowners pay 60 – 70% annual bills on hot water (23% for Perth, WA), with heating and cooling (40%).

“When considering natural light benefits and energy efficient lights and appliances at least 80 to 90% can be saved using the sun. This reduces the peak load required from 6 – 8 kW to 2 – 3kW of peak power making the application of PV panels far more cost effective”.

“A passive solar design house uses basic principles of orientation, cross ventilation, smart use of materials, shading and insulation to deliver natural comfort most of the time”.

“Solar water heaters will provide a 60 – 70% solar contribution and deliver hot water at 18 c/kWh over the life of the product. This is about half the costs of conventional systems. However our new PV technologies will cost a lot less.”

“Combining passive solar designed houses along with smart controlled PV technologies for hot water, boosting of heating and cooling along with the use of batteries for power and lighting use will allow you to achieve Carbon neutral status in energy use”.

“By the way, it does not make sense to use solar charged batteries to operate hot water or air conditioning at night. It simply is not cost effective and probably never will be for thermal applications.”

“The main principles of solar design are:

– Orient the home to the north in the southern hemisphere (south in the northern)

– Preference given to heavy weight materials for the internal walls

– Design windows and doors to gain good cross-ventilation

– Use double-glazing or install blinds and curtains for insulating windows

– Ensure all windows have adequate overhang or shade device for summer”

“The ideas are simple but the application is subtle. Our longer video ‘Living in a Home that Breaths’ is a good guide on how design should be modified in difference climatic zones. You can find that on YouTube”.

“Builders most often place low priority on planning the home, which is usually a standard plan onto a block as far as climatic considerations are concerned” They basically cut and paste to cheapen the construction but usually leave you with energy bills that will cost you about 10 years of home payments over a 30 year bank loan schedule. Builders seem to be more interested in higher profits than you long term economic benefit.”

“Regulations have forced builders to reconsider their position over the last few decades, but they still to the minimum required for energy efficiency for the same reason”

“Having the right shape facing the right way is critical to achieve good results”

“Understanding the path of the sun and the angles as it hits the walls, windows and roof are very important to get best use of free solar energy in winter and excluding it in summer”.

“When solar radiation passes through window and gets absorbed in the interior walls and flow it re-emits as long wave radiation or heat, from the shortwave radiation of sunlight. This long wave radiation is trapped because it does not pass back out through the glass”.

“In understanding added considerations of using landscaping to enhance the passive solar effects such as wind breaks extra shade in the right position in summer as well as special materials and construction methods all needs an expert to get good results”.

“There is a formula for every climate for the area of glass, rate of insulation, amount of thermal mass, solar performance of blinds and shutters that needs experience”.

“A home is one of the biggest investments most people make”.

“It does not make sense to NOT get it right and add value by good design and planning. Extra design costs are returned many-fold when you sell the property, while enjoying all the extra benefits and energy savings when living there”.

“Staying comfortable, saving money and living in a home that breaths is what an Ecotect-Architects designed home offers”.

“Start the journey with an advisory service on your ideas and go from there perhaps?”

“Those that have done so would tell you it was the best decision made in the journey of having a climate sensible home built that satisfies all aspects of living and economic realities for the 21st century”.

“Have a look at our website and make a booking before you commit too far with your project. Many past clients are glad they did” ……… Garry Baverstock 2019.


Our Team

We have a team of architectural associates of all age groups to suit your style, and all have been trained to be masters at solar and sustainable designed architecture

Design Checklist  (refer to Climate Sensible Designs – ‘Living in a Home that Breathes’)

– What is the goal of this video? To educate the home buyer!

– Start by facing the house the right way

– Create the right kind of shape

– Builders often place houses on a plot of land in such a way to maximize their profit

– They copy and paste the design and fit as many as possible on the land

– By duplicating the design they save expenses and maximize profits

– Solar passive houses use far less energy than ordinary houses

– Therefore they are cheaper to run

– Therefore the largest household expenses are reduced

– You can save 60 to 90% on your electricity/gas heating and cooling bills

– Understanding sun angles and the difference in summer and winter is important

– Sun comes in windows and heats the interior

– The difference between long wave and short wave rays needs to be understood

– Shade windows to stop summer sun and allow winter sun

– Open / Close curtains / blinds / shutters

– The basics are important but it is scientific Therefore the house should be designed by someone trained in the science of architecture

– Who knows how much glass?

– Where to place the windows

– To design open and close windows for breezes

– Use natural vegetation for shading walls and keeping sun off windows in summer

– Deciduous and use ever green landscape

– Concrete Slab – thermally isolated from the ground in cold or hot climates

– Air tightness

– Windows, ceilings, membranes for waterproofing and insulation

– Mechanical ventilation system when needed for release of hot air build-up

– Self-supporting roofing panels

– Retractable shading – Tecto pergola / solar verandahs

– Fresh air supply from northern bulkheads to southern outlets for supplementary AC (for Australia)

– Corridor becomes a transferred air zone

– External walls structured insulated panels

– Thermal bridging

– High performance windows

– Implications of air changes rate 0.1 v. 0.6

– Insulations – polyurethane foam

– Aluminium framed windows

Passive solar house: stringent requirement with guaranteed performance – always comfortable with minimum heating and cooling

– Solar Passive house – broad passive solar design principles, ambient weather/sun but NOT guaranteed though improved conditions


The Sandcastle!

The Sandcastle, in City Beach is an outstanding example of sustainable, passive solar design that captures a bygone era and draws its success from a hard working process along with the creative skills of the architects involved. Ecotect-Architect’s James Shaw is famous for interpreting details and coming up this creative deigns and details that suit the vision developed closely with the client.

Client Interview Process

The clients first met Garry Baverstock, Owner/Founder of Ecotect-Architects many years earlier, attracted by the award winning Eco Compound (the home of Julia Hayes, his wife). They had previously had a large builder’s home designed for the site, but after consultation and a site plan master study along with a review of the budget, this led to them wanting to better solution.

Following a detailed site analysis and a comprehensive interview, James Shaw was appointed as the project architect to develop the basic passive solar concept.

Final Design

The final design was stunning in everyway and was featured on the National TV program ‘Better Homes & Gardens’ in 2016 (Season 23 Episode 24).


The TECTO method, always applied by Ecotect-Architects made sure that the home functioned well comfort-wise, energy-wise as well as delight the family. As well as their tastes the aim was to delight any visitors to the home also. The natural light infusing the interiors with a beautiful ambiance was a feature. The light showed up the mediaeval detailing and the blend of eclectic wall, floor, structural beams and furniture to create a chateau that would blend into any historical period.

The house was featured on Bastille Day, and the response has been very encouraging to Ecotect-Architects who believe there is still room in modern times for craftsmanship in architecture with quality homes (a welcome change from the plastic designs for the general housing industry and in an era of rectangular light weight buildings).

The Sandcastle provides comfort at low cost and a romantic lifestyle that warms the heart. It is architecture, not home building for the norm. Though we also can produce such quality in more modernistic styles, the Ecotect-Architect philosophy is quality over quantity and building homes ecologically for the 21st century, maximizing use of solar energy and water efficiency.

Founder, Garry Baverstock’s favourite saying is; “Life is not meant to be easy as they say, but it is not meant to be ugly either”.

Good Architecture comes from good clients with a strong vision for their lives.

Ecotect-Architects are the mediator that help crystallize the dream for clients, and work as superintendents on site working closely with builders and specialist tradesmen to ensure projects are successful.

Garry said, ” eal Architects don’t just draw pretty drawings we are masters of the building process as well and proper leaders of the building team.”

For a copy of the Better Homes & Gardens episode or to find out about designing a sustainable and passive solar home, please contact us.

Maar Koodjal

With the concept to establish a Nyoongar Cultural Academy, there are exciting things to come for Yanchep National Park.

This vision will be brought to life by Maar Koodjal with the purpose to provide health and wellbeing, education and training for the Aboriginal and wider community, as well as strengthen Cultural pride in the area.

The new facility will also include a Cultural and Arts Centre, with Ecotect Architects keen on seeing their vision come to life. We are excited to be working on a concept that we see could be an excellent addition for the community of Yanchep and, after multiple consultations, site visits and strategy meetings, Ecotect are confident in delivering a strategy to map out a practical pathway for the built form component of the community plan.

Having already acted as the architect/project manager and fundraiser for the ‘National Award Winning’ Piney Lakes project within the City of Melville, Ecotect Architects know that it can be done both effectively and efficiently, to make this project successful.

The Maar Koodjal Logo (Hand in Hand) one black and one white around the six seasons represents people of all different cultural backgrounds working together to create an inclusive community for everyone to support one another, live and raise well grounded families, and establish a vibrant community lifestyle based on the traditional values of the First Nation People of Nyoongar Boodjar (Country).

Marr Koodjal values and guiding principles include ecology, equality, reconciliation spirit and integrity, with more information to follow on their new website coming soon to maarkoodjal.org.au.