Viva Living Homes wins awards for environmentally conscious building

An energy-efficient house built by a Blue Mountains company has taken out two building awards.

Viva Living Homes won the energy efficiency housing open price category and contract house build up to $800,000 category at the Master Builders Association of NSW Excellence in Housing Awards held at Star Casino in Sydney on September 1.

The straw bale house was constructed at Austinmer near Wollongong and took six months to build.

The external walls are straw bale and inside there are solid earth walls, known as adobe, pise or cob walls. Natural clay renders were used in inside, and natural lime renders on the outside. In the bathroom a waterproof render was applied so no tiles were needed.

The home is rated 8.1 out of 10 stars for energy efficiency, which is the amount of energy required to heat or cool the house.

Viva Living Homes was founded by Sam and Simone Vivers, and they have a team of 14 who all attended the awards night.

Mrs Vivers said the build was nail-free, using a traditional timber frame method where the timber joints are held together with hand-crafted dowels.

She said it was a tricky build as there were lots of zoning issues being in an environmentally sensitive area close to the escarpment, on a slope, with a bushfire rating of BAL 29, and the constraints of the train line nearby as well.

Mrs Vivers said they were up against hundreds of entrants and were honoured to receive the awards. 

“Viva Living Homes is all about making a difference by building and inspiring people to use more natural building materials in their home. It’s healthier to live in and better for the planet,” Mrs Vivers said.