Environment industries archive
Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.
Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.
Dale Alcock Homes is a WA leader in home building and in environmental initiatives. Two such initiatives have been a demonstration passive solar-designed home with a booklet of guidelines, and trialing the crushing of site solid waste for roadways and other purposes. Trial results have been promising with up to 75% of such waste being recycled.
Dale Alcock Homes was established in 1986 and is, by volume, the leading residential building project company in WA, the most competitive project home market in Australia. It employs 120 staff (including 20 on-site supervisors) from its head office at Osborne Park, 30 at its Bunbury branch office and, at any time, 400-500 sub-contract trades people.
As part of its continuing commitment to improvement, Dale Alcock Homes became a member of the PATHE (Partnership Advancing the Housing Environment) leaders' group. PATHE is an initiative of Environment Australia and the Housing Industry Association.
The company has gained a great deal of experience over the years in the area of passive solar design and environmental practice. Its first project in this area was a project display home in 1991. While ahead of its time, the home illustrated to the public and to the industry that passive solar techniques could successfully be applied in the project home market. The home was featured in 'Cool House/Warm House', by Choice Publications
Dale Alcock Homes is a committed participator in making the housing industry sustainable and encourages other industry leaders to do the same.
The company undertakes design and build projects for most types of residential building, including individual homes, units and blocks, but not high rise buildings. Most work is to customer order for private clients or developers, and little is speculative.
Organisational processes and activities include estimating, design, customer service, project management and site supervision of works, employees and contractors.
The company has been undertaking a number of cleaner production and eco-efficiency initiatives in recent years.
Passive solar design
In the area of house design the company has undertaken various initiatives, building on experience gained from the earlier project home. These include:
2K passive solar home - front elevation
Mezzanine - view from lower level
The company has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle construction waste:
Trials have covered sixty sites and included consideration of optimising use of crushers. For initial sites, a small crusher was provided for each site. In many situations a site crusher will not be economical or acceptable to neighbours and a central crusher is more suitable covering a few, or even many sites. Crushed material is then stockpiled for use where it is needed. Trucks hauling waste for crushing can then be used for delivery.
Recycling bricks and similar material - note the designated area and tidy site
Potential energy saving estimates for the design home have not yet been developed. These are difficult to predict with any precision since they will depend on the home being used in an energy efficient way - for example on the manner of use of air conditioning and heating systems, lights, blinds, curtains, doors and windows and other system elements. Passive solar design does not create savings by itself but offers the potential for significant savings from these other things while at the same time providing a comfortable building. If the design of a building is wrong, other system aspects cannot be used optimally. Applying passive solar design principles need cost no more than conventional design but optimal application may involve additional costs, for example for insulation.
The solid waste trials have shown promising results. For the trial sites, up to 75% of the relevant waste is being recycled. Because the trials are still continuing, however, it is too early to quantify costs and benefits. The potential savings are in waste disposal and aggregate costs. The costs are in crushing and transporting materials between sites and crushers. The economics presently depend on optimising the logistics of numbers of crushers against volume of waste generated and required by sites, against transport distances. Although there have been no significant cost benefits so far, significant savings might be achieved when recycling is more widely implemented and if landfill costs should rise significantly.
The main incentives have been Dale Alcock's commitment to environmental improvement, and recognition of potential market opportunities and cost savings in environmental homes and building practices.
Dale Alcock has found it to be a balancing act trying to combine environmental practices, affordable housing and financial viability whilst maintaining competitiveness in the mainstream marketplace. The main barrier to uptake of passive solar design is lack of customer awareness and demand. This is being addressed through staff training in educating customers and through simple guidelines. The main barrier to construction waste recycling has been devising solutions which are economic relative to the cost of landfill disposal. This is being addressed through the trials.
The company is continuing to develop energy, waste and other environmental initiatives.