is a description of a residential version of those commercial buildings. Also
shown are drawings of the side elevation as well as floor plans:
in the elevation drawing shown below, that the exterior walls extend up above
the ceiling by well over a metre, creating a parapet around the roof of the building.
It is intended that these external walls will be made up of autoclaved aerated
concrete (AAC) panels, partly because its
thermal mass performance is suitable for hot and humid climates, but also because
AAC has the advantage of being very light, thus making the relocation of the house
easier, if in the distant future, the house has to be transported elsewhere. An
example of its use in housing construction for the Cairns region can be seen
here. For a third party analysis of this product, see Ecospecifier.
you look at the wind
roses for Cairns, you will notice that, as a general rule, the prominent wind
directions, especially during the cooler months, are from the south and southeast.
However when the seasons warm, the much-appreciated cooling breezes come in from
the sea during mid-afternoon. Therefore, to control all these breezes effectively,
shutters (or louvres) would be essential. To assist this ventilation, shutters
are placed above all doors (including
bedroom doors) to assist the breeze to flow throughout the house during the
The design of the windows is part glass, part shutter and is
described in more detail in the next section called "Window design".
Up on the roof is a solar chimney and heat exhaust fan combination. During extreme
heat the thermostatically controlled electric fan will kick in. The shutters at
the other end of the roof cavity are adjustable so that they can be opened during
dry weather and shut during rainy periods.
"roof drain" (or a larger than standard size gutter) is shown to the
right of the drawing. The gutter's steeper than normal slope as well as the easy
access to the roof, would make it easier to be keep the gutter leaf and litter
free. Also, by having the gutter on the outside of the external walls will mean
that excess water from exceptionally heavy rains will flow out safely onto the
The side elevation of the proposed building is shown below:
floor plan, shown below, is of a three bedroom house. This floor plan has no ensuite
(there is a composting toilet as an extra, if one is desired). A landscaped carport
is fenced off from the rest of the house - the fence is provided for reasons of
The bathroom is to have a shower and washing basin combination
that will not only save water but it will lessen stress upon the solar hot water
system. A diagram showing
how it works is shown here. The bathroom is to have all its walls and ceiling
reinforced so that it can withstand a category five cyclone and will act as a
shelter for residents during such storms.The floor plan also shows a water tank
which will provide irrigation for a proposed permaculture style garden nearby.
The outer wall of the laundry will have shutters. This will allow the breeze to
dry the washing hanging on clothes lines inside the laundry.
To see alternative floor plan designs, taking into account
different locality conditions, click here
and here. Also please look at
the floor plan below which is of a house that can be expanded in stages from one
having a single bedroom to one that has five. The extra rooms would be built when
the owners can afford to do so.
to favour this building style over the standard design would be:
1.. The owner can easily access the roof - with little risk
of slipping off the house.
2.. These days numerous items
are placed on the roof. Those items such as PV, solar HWS and TV antennae/dish
etc would not be visible to passers-by because of the parapet.
Having these items hidden from view would allow the resident the freedom to place
them, particularly the PV & solar HWS panels, more correctly so as to obtain
their maximum effectiveness.
4.. The parapet around
the roof would help protect these roof items from strong winds.
The easy access to the roof would make regular cleaning, maintenance and adjustment
of the above items a possibility.
6.. Having a large
gutter with a pronounced slope, would help reduce its leaf and soil build-up.
7.. The roof cavity would have excellent ventilation
because of a thermostatically controlled solar chimney that would help cool the
building during the hotter periods as well as reduce any mould in the roof cavity.
8.. Construction costs should be less than that of standard
style housing because of the simple shape of the roof.
Awnings can be more flexible than eaves and therefore offers the opportunity to
better control the heating of the walls by the sun.
During cyclones, because of the building's parapet configuration, there would
be no lift forces exerted on the roof, thus minimising the risk of the roof flying
off the house.
11.. On the subject of cyclones, the
structure of the bathroom will be reinforced to withstand a category five cyclone.
The bathroom will have its own roof, separate from the building.
And of course, the owner can paint the roof white.
Housing with a parapet in the Cairns region is rare but two examples are shown
below. They are close to each other and are situated in one of the most exclusive
areas in Cairns at Summer Hill Drive, upper Mooroobool. Both photos show the western
side of the house. Notice, however, the lack of awnings. The architects must be
from down south do you think?
clarification of the window design suggested above, go to the next