15 Oct How climate influences trends in construction
Australia is a country of climatic extremes.
Much of the environment is subjected to scorching heat that can consistently reach temperatures of 40+ degrees. Cyclones, hurricanes, and severe weather events are commonplace; and bushfires aren’t a one-off event…they’re a season.
While the rest of Australia is sweltering in the heat and battening down the hatches, you can also pick up your skis and head to the snow, only a couple of hours from where the country is in drought.
Australia is hot, cold, dry, wet, and from region to region, buildings have been built to survive.
If you’ll excuse the pun, Australian climate is a hot topic in the construction industry.
Throughout the years, the extreme weather events of Australia have influenced the style and design of buildings to maximise their efficiency in the harsher climes and to make sure that wherever you are in the country, the property and its contents are protected from the often-unforgiving elements.
Here are some common construction trends that have emerged in the past due to the Australian climate.
A trip to North Queensland will show you an array of small towns full of houses each built, quite literally, on stilts. Distinctive stilt houses – or Queenslander homes as they’re commonly known – are elevated on wooden or metal stilts. The area underneath the house is either boxed in with a light material or left as an open space underneath. Raising the buildings off the ground protects the properties from floods which are commonplace in a tropical climate and also helps a cool breeze to circulate to provide natural relief in the stifling summer heat.
Coober Pedy is a town in South Australia renowned for opal mining. In the summer, temperatures consistently hover around the 40-degree mark, and in the winter, they drop as low as 6 degrees. Whatever the time of year, the elements in Coober Pedy are relentless and for this reason, the town is largely built underground. The local pub, the church, shops, and the homes of the 3500-strong community of Coober Pedy are known as ‘dugouts’ and built in caves with no windows and no exposure to the sunlight.
This keeps the buildings at a consistent temperature throughout the day whatever the time of year making for much more pleasant conditions for inhabitants of the mining town.
Rooftop solar power
Australia is the land of plenty and nothing is more plentiful than our sunshine! With Brisbane alone benefiting from an average of 283 days of sunshine per year http://www.choosebrisbane.com.au/invest/why-brisbane/lifestyle?sc_lang=en-au, rooftop solar power is the logical way to provide energy to your home. It’s better for the environment, it’s cost-effective, and there’s definitely no shortage of its main power source.
While rooftop solar power is becoming increasingly popular, so are homes built with the solar panels already in place. Solar energy isn’t exclusive to Australia so we can’t take full credit for that trend though with solar power also forming part of Europe’s energy consumption, some parts of which are definitely NOT known for their sunshine!
Trends in construction are created in response to the environment and as climate change continues to impact the earth, more trends will develop as a result. Watch this space!