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Sustainable hemp used to build zero carbon house

Hemp is used as a sustainable building material in a new house located in rural Cambridgeshire, UK. The agricultural shed is transformed into a ground breaking zero carbon house with pre-fabricated sustainable hemp-based construction.

Flat House is a series of linked spaces that transition from a large open single glazed hot house to a double height living space and two stories of sleeping accommodation. UK based Practice Architecture worked closely with engineers and material specialists to design and develop the building using prefabricated panels infilled with hemp grown on 20 acres of the farm.  The elements were raised into place in just two days.

The new building was built within permitted development and takes the footprint of an existing barn.  It sits within the original steel frame and consists of prefabricated timber-framed cassettes erected into thick, highly insulating walls that also hold the building up.

Although the house is built of organic and relatively light materials, it has some of the sense of mass and substance found in old masonry construction.  The house, which is quite small, is given generosity by both a high living area and a big glazed conservatory that occupies the full height of the old shed.  The exterior is covered in corrugated panels, which look like the cement cladding typical of farm sheds, but is made of fibers from the outer coating of hemp stalks combined with resin taken from agricultural waste.

Image credit: Oskar Proctor

2018’s Electric Vehicle Conference & Expo

The AGDF was proud to attend this year’s Electric Vehicle Conference & Expo, held in Brisbane on the 9th & 10th of November.

We were thrilled by the event’s  ‘electric’ atmosphere, and the industry-encompassing spread of products & presentations. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was ‘positively charged’ with passionate EV owners, enthusiasts, investors, professionals, and public servants.

Puns aside; there were a few standout presenters & products that we feel are worth giving a shout out here; including Tritium, Fast Cities Australia, and SEA Electric. Strangely Tesla was not in attendance – at least not via a sponsorship or presentation on the Friday.

The event was both exciting & inspiring, and we can’t wait for the next.

AGDF’s Mark Thomson’s look at European Sustainability

Current Board member and

AGDF Immediate Past President Mark Thomson, recently returned from Europe where he judged a segment in the World Architecture Festival and was impressed with the standard of sustainable design implementation underway around the world.  While he was in the area, he also swung by Geneva and gave two presentations to the PEFC General Assembly – all in a (few) days work!

The trip gave Mark the change to study firsthand how sustainability is approached in Europe and, considered the (stark) contrast to Australian attitudes to sustainability. ”There was a visible community concern for environmental issues with corresponding daily lifestyle responses, particularly in urban areas” he said.

In an interview for The Fifth Estate, Mark mentioned how the many wind and solar farms as well as the variety of electric vehicles, stood out to him as reminders of just how far ahead Europe is in the uptake of renewable energy – which is really only just beginning in Australia.

Of course, Mark’s attention was largely captured by what was happening in his own field, where he again noted a gap between Europe & Australia. “What surprised me most was the sustainability entrenched in the architectural projects I saw at the World Architecture Festival. I know most Australian Architects say sustainability is embedded in everything they do,” Mark told The Fifth Estate, but in Europe he saw a “depth of sustainability fully integrated in projects, major and minor.” Many “Energy plus” buildings were presented, along with projects supporting social sustainability implementation.


The full article can be read at

Annual AGDF President’s Award for Contribution to Sustainability

Nominations are now open for the annual AGDF President’s Award for Contribution to Sustainability. The winner will receive a framed award from the AGDF, as well as publication in our AGDF Newsletter & on our website – reaching thousands of industry professionals, sustainability enthusiasts, and environmental buffs across Australia & abroad.

The AGDF is now accepting nominations for Australian-based:
– Individuals
– Companies
– Projects or activities undertaken in 2017/2018

Submissions should include a 500 word project/submission summary, as well as any supporting photos, videos, or media.
Nominations close on the 7th of December, and the winner will be announced on the 12th of December – so get in quick!

Forward submissions through to us here to be considered

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