"Being able to utilize, to recycle, to repurpose became a very important part of the practice and people recognize it"(Julie Borgelt, 2019). This is the purpose of the small architectural firm Borgelt and Craig Architects based in Brisbane. It is a partnership between two sisters Julie and Deborah, with its primary aim to create personalized, comfortable, affordable, and sustainable designs for houses and make a difference by connecting people, making a community, and creating future ways of living.
Borgelt & Craig Architects design houses for livability and sustainability with a strong focus on the environment, culture, and personalization. Their solutions are resilient and vary for each of their projects encouraging clear communication and interactions between clients, architects, and builders to achieve successful results. The main purpose is to design a sustainable house through passive energy design and 3R management: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Their main design approach can be labeled as “biophilic design” known as a connection to the natural world.
When designing the house, architects are looking at criteria such as the orientation of the house (location and topography) and building materials. The passive energy design uses natural sunlight, thermal gains, ventilation, and connection to green spaces to ensure the comfort of living. Awareness of the sun's position is important for where the solar panels will be situated and for natural light in the house. By using elements like sun, natural light, shading across windows, breezes, insulation, and cross ventilation, houses reduce a considerable amount of energy. These effective principles mean that no air conditioning is required and is used to counteract wasted energy. Key initiatives are the use of as much renewable energy as possible, water tank storage through rainwater harvesting, and other technologies to encourage sustainable practices. Material selection is also critical because it is cost effective but should be still luxurious. The firm reuses building materials. The material is carefully chosen in order to avoid any use of toxins that could possibly find its way into waterways. They avoid plastics and work with builders inspired by the quality of timber the builders can provide. Their materials are sustainable and from local manufacturers.
In Brisbane, they were a lot of timber buildings from the early 1900s that were demolished. Julie and Deborah thought that it was a tragedy to waste such good materials, to destroy the history, memories, and for the materials to go to a landfill. So, they had an idea: to reuse and repurpose the material from those houses.
Borgelt & Craig Architects, their innovation has an overall positive impact on the areas of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. They impact the environment around them every day as they use renewable energy, recycled with no plastics materials, and increase water use efficiency. Thanks to their business they create sustainable communities and create awareness of sustainable ways of living.
Julie believes that the impact of the innovation on their business is the successful business and satisfied clients. Her business spread out successfully by word of mouth from client to client, by use of their website, and the look back of the projects that they have completed.
The social benefit of the innovation includes connecting and creating community feelings between people that are looking for sustainable healthy buildings and have environmental worries. Thanks to the community connection, Julie and Deborah spread out the awareness of the impact. The sisters do volunteer work in the environmental learning center, tutoring work for the Universities in Brisbane, and give talks at Green forums where they continue to share about local and global sustainability. Through these activities, Julie and Deborah provide female role models and promote Gender equality in a heavily male construction workforce. The sustainable homes are also a good choice for clients with allergies and cancer who are conscious of the use of materials with the connection with green spaces which improve good physical and mental wellbeing.
The architects source sustainable and recycled products in order to have a positive impact on the environment and reduce their carbon footprint. Statistics show the energy reduction, less use of water that contribute to improved efficiency and productivity. One of their projects shows 50 percent less water use than the average household and 90 percent of its power comes from clean renewable energy. Reusing of the materials also reduce landfills. Julie said, "Affordable clean energy, clean water sanitation, all these small changes can be easily achieved in order to have a positive impact on the environment.“
Julie Borgelt, Co founder
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Brisbane, Queensland, AU
Business Website: http://www.borgeltcraigarchitects.com/index.html
Year Founded: 1995
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Borgelt & Craig Architects is a small architectural firm that creates sustainable and liveable house designs. Their main approaches are passive energy design, “biophilic design," and 3R management of reduce, reuse, and recycle.