Adapt Design Group have won the BDAV’s 10-Star Sustainable Design Challenge 2019 for their ‘Nest’ submission


The winner of this year’s BDAV’s 10-Star Sustainable Design Challenge is Adapt Design Group for their ‘Nest’ submission.

The Judges said the simple yet elegant building form, the use of readily-available materials, and the efficient spatial arrangement resulted in a highly desirable outcome. “A clear winner when it comes to design and quality of submission,” said the Judges.

The project – a single-storey residence in the Melbourne climate zone – utilises non-toxic building materials, and incorporates efficient design principles using sustainably sourced local products and innovative technology. The design provides an accessible benchmark for the modern-day ‘nest’.

Jess Cuman from Adapt Design Group has thought of everything to make this ‘nest’ comfortable and practical for occupants. Phasechange material provides a lightweight and cost-effective approach to introduce thermal mass. The home also includes a min 5kW solar PV system with battery storage and energy monitoring system, as well as an electric car charge point. There is also a green switch to reduce energy consumption when the house isn’t occupied.

Jess has ensured a focus on reducing energy consumption within the home by using LED lighting, ceiling fans, and energy efficient appliances. Increased water efficiency is achieved by using a
minimum WELs rating of 4 for all plumbing fixtures. A 10,000ltr water tank has been installed with plumbing that backs into the house to flush toilets.

Ceiling fans are in all bedrooms and living spaces; there is natural ventilation to wet areas.

Sustainable and locally-sourced plantation timbers are used for frames and trusses. Masonry (Island Blocks) made from recycled materials which have low embodied energy concrete slab contains fly ash.


Structure Consulting Engineers, in collaboration with Zachary Hau, received a commendation for their ‘Accomplished Suburb Living’ submission.

The project – a single-storey home in Perth – has been commended for showing great endeavour to achieve a cost-effective design. The Judges said that cracking the code of a high-performance house in the volume builder market is laudable. “Even though the climate zone adopted would be considered more ‘amenable’, we believe the objectives targeted should be commended,” said the Judges.

The design reaffirms that orientation is critical in delivering affordable passive solar design. “If you don’t have good passive solar access you will be forced to either compromise on design or expect a costlier build,” said Debbie Bute from Structure Consulting Engineers.

She also said that the project “allows us to showcase how a standard project home does not have to compromise on liveability or cost to be energy efficient. Perth has a temperate climate, which has hot to very hot summers and mild winters. Overshading is typical in many WA designs as a solution to control summer overheat – and it works perfectly well, keeping the dwelling comfortable during the hotter months, but unfortunately this results in a very cold and uncomfortable house during the winter months. It was important for us to demonstrate that you don’t have to permanently overshade to keep your house cool in the summer.”

“The key to this design is good winter sun gains – once the study and kitchen/living/dining zone received sufficient winter sun access with appropriate shading, achieving 10 stars was fairly straight-forward based on specifying an adequate level of insulation, with improved glazing systems where required.”

Other low-cost elements include ceiling fans, sealed exhaust fans, adjustable external shading and a floor covering which allowed the slab thermal mass to work effectively being either polished
concrete, vinyl or ceramic tiles.


A Certificate of Encouragement was presented to Steve Pettitt for his ‘Restorative Residence’ submission.

Steve is a student in the Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) at Swinburne University of Technology, which he is due to complete in November 2019. The Judges said he had
made a valiant effort to achieve 10 stars, but didn’t quite get there; nonetheless, they recognised the difficult challenge he had made as an unskilled student at the time of lodging his submission, and wanted to recognise his attempt, yet did not wish to compromise the standards set for the Challenge. Great effort, Steve! We wish you every success in what looks like a promising career ahead of you.