The Ramsay housing project

As part of our commitment to the South Australian disability community, PQSA developed the ‘Ramsay’ housing project in South Australia using the principles of universal housing design to maximise accessibility and independence.

‘Ramsay’, located in Hillcrest, north-east of Adelaide, is a group of three homes utilised by patients of The Repatriation Health Precinct while modifications are made to their existing home, or while waiting for an accessible home to become available. Below are some points that make the Ramsay properties high performers in environmental considerations and sustainability:

The Structure

  • Good orientation of building to allow passive shading and cross ventilation
  • High level clerestory windows to allow for heat to flow out at night
  • Louvre windows including louvres above internal doors to allow for air circulation through house and cross ventilation
  • Ceiling fans to create air movement during still periods
  • Insulation installed in walls and ceilings to minimise heat gain during the day and maximise heat loss during the night
  • Double glazing in windows for insulation.

Water Heaters

  • Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three more times energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse.

Thermal Mass

  • The concrete floors of the units act as thermal mass
  • To be effective, thermal mass must be integrated with sound passive design techniques. This means having appropriate areas of glazing facing appropriate directions with appropriate levels of shading, insulation and thermal mass
  • Thermal mass acts as a thermal battery. During summer, it absorbs heat during the day and releases it by night to cooling breezes or clear night skies, keeping the house comfortable. In winter, the same thermal mass can store the heat from the sun or heaters to release it at night, helping the home stay warm
  • Thermal mass is not a substitute for insulation. Thermal mass stores and re-releases heat; insulation stops heat flowing into or out of the building. A high thermal mass material is not generally a good thermal insulator.