Adela Apartments


  • Jost Architects


We recently completed the build of a low-rise, multi-story residential development in Elwood, which achieved its sustainable credentials by reaching an overall 8 star NatHERs Energy Rating. To attain building completion sign-off a sustainable completion report was submitted, which included a building user manual. We devised the idea of a Building User Manual that visually resembles an aircraft emergency card to encourage residents to take full advantage of the building’s environmental systems. This is accompanied by a short 3-minute instructional video in a format that is intended to keep the audience interested and engaged.

Key Features


The card is two-sided and provides the necessary instructions for a person to use their home efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively. By presenting it in the format of an aircraft safety card means that it can be universally understood, exactly the opposite of what everyone perceives a building user manual to be. They don’t realize their viewing one when reading it. It was important to us from a sustainability point of view that we provided a solution that was not just a box ticker to comply, but included information that was relevant, educational and very easily put into practice.


We have a strong philosophy in our practice that we as individuals need to make changes to our behaviour for the benefit of the environment. Surprisingly very few people know about how to use their houses efficiently and if we collectively made changes relating to power and water, this would make a difference not only financially and sustainably, but to their own health and comfort. To extend our reach to as many people as possible, the format is intentionally clear and attractive. It also reminds the reader that we are in a climate emergency and need to read and follow the instructions to try and start resolving it.


The Building User Manual and accompanying video is a unique initiative by an architecture practice to drive environmental change at a residential client level. We take care and responsibility for the buildings we design, and this apartment complex delivers a high-quality, high environmental performing building. We wanted to prepare an informative guide that uses easily recognisable graphics and humour to engage, educate and encourage long term utilisation.


This is a 8 star NatHERs Energy Rated building. For the building to meet its requirements long term, the residents need to understand and utilise the various environmental systems that have been designed for the building. We created a Building User Manual and accompanying video that is fun and engaging and maintains the resident’s engagement with the environmental goals.

We will be providing a bespoke BUM and video to every home we complete as architects, We are also releasing the intellectual property for this manual and video to allow it to be passed onto others to learn and use.


The physical card is accompanied with the video, as the card displays a website address and a QR scan code to take you to the directly to the video online.

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Youtube / Vimeo

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