This article by Hedley Thomas, ‘The Australian’ titled “‘Muddies’ fall foul of green ruling ”
FOR most of architect Robert Marshall’s working life he has prided himself on doing his bit for the environment by designing and building mudbrick homes. Sometimes humble and sometimes sprawling, the dwellings have served their owners well over many years.
The handmade mudbrick — natural subsoil mixed with straw and water, and dried by the sun — symbolises Earth’s sustainability, green values and a low carbon footprint. From hippies putting up bush huts, to the well-off building impressive mansions, most agree on the insulation quality and energy efficiency of mudbrick.
“It’s a beautiful way to live and nowadays everyone has to be thinking about the environment,” says Julie McKellar, who will move into her new mudbrick home in December.
But her architect, Marshall, whose creations had previously achieved compliance with Australian building codes, and many others in the earth building industry, are now at their wits’ end. Some are on the verge of admitting defeat to federal and state bureaucracies, which do not recognise the environmental value of the mud brick.
Mud brick outer walls do not require interior linings. Even though they are generally 250mm thick (10 inches), apparently their heat insulation properties are still insufficient to enable the newest 6 star ratings to be readily obtained.
Their production material and energy costs are low, they are usually built by conservation-conscious owners and they are usually designed with less window glass area than many other houses. Generally they have verandahs and/or at the least, shading eaves.
One wonders if the authorities have got their star rating computations right? Are they a bit out of touch with reality? Wouldn’t be the first time.
I am sure the public are fully behind the house-owners being harassed and having to pay more because of beaurocratic limitations and ‘politically correct’ regulations.
Read the complete ‘Australian’ article here.