When it comes to choosing a home design or creating your own, there are a few fundamental rules that are essential for creating a home that’s sustainable. Not only is it going to create better quality home living, it will reduce your energy bills and not to mention the reduction of your carbon footprint.
Orientation, Orientation, Orientation!
Just like real estate agents say location, location, location. As thermal performance assessors we say orientation, orientation, orientation. This is the most essential part of choosing a home or designing your own.
• Try to locate your living areas and kitchen to the north, with small aspects facing west and east.
• Avoid essential living areas facing south as this will result in these areas becoming cold and dark.
Into the zone.
Being able to close off areas in your home will keep your heating and cooling cost down.
• Positioning doors around living areas and bedrooms will seal off areas in your home that don’t need to be heated and cooled.
• By positioning doors in this manner will keep your main zones warmer and cooler and also create less pressure on your heating and cooling system.
Insulation does not just consist of the batts you put in your ceiling and walls, it is also made up of all your building materials. Generally most common building materials are reasonably good.
• The use of double glazed windows is great but can sometimes be unnecessary and even make your homes thermal performance worse.
• Be sure to research on building materials and don’t be afraid to change your materials from north to south.
• Always make sure your designer puts in R2.0 insulation in your walls and R4.0 insulation in your ceiling as a minimum.
Get into the cross flow.
Cross flow ventilation is very important when it comes to cooling a house after a hot day of sun. Opening windows on opposite sides of the house can move hot air out very quickly.
• The positioning of the windows to achieve cross flow ventilation is great when possible but not essential.
Seal the deal.
One of the most common ways a house will lose its cool in summer or warmth in winter is from air leaks. A lot of this happens from poorly sealed windows, unsealed exhaust fans and down light penetrations.
• Be sure to research when choosing your window manufacturer and find a good quality window that will keep sealed for a long time.
• Choose exhaust fans that are sealed and make sure to choose down lights that do not create huge amounts of heat such as halogen.
Here comes the sun.
Do you remember growing up in a home with no insulation and in summer it was like living in an oven? Most people remember this and design their homes to keep the summer sun out. The sun can be loathed in summer but loved so much in winter.
• Think of ways that the sun can reach your home in winter.
Eaves are great on the north facings but be sure they are not too big that they eliminate the winter sun.
• The summer sun sits high in the sky while the winter sun sits a lot lower. This is great to let the winter sun inside your home in the winter.
To find out more about sustainable building practices and energy efficient homes head to the Geelong Sustainability website below: