Building a new home or extending an existing home is an excellent opportunity to include energy efficient and environmentally sustainable design features. These features will make your home more comfortable, environmentally friendly and can significantly reduce your ongoing energy costs.
Here Are The Tips On Making Your Home Energy Efficient:
1. North Facing Living Areas
Rooms you spend most time in during the day as living rooms and kitchens are best if they face north, because they get the most sun in winter and can be easily shaded in summer, reducing the amount of heating and cooling you need. Windows and doors that allow for cool breezes in summer can keep your home cooler.
2. Internal Doors and Rooms
Open plan homes will need more energy to heat or cool. Installing doors will allow you to close off areas, so that you can just heat or cool the rooms you are using and reduce your costs.
3. Thermal Mass
Materials that can absorb heat, such as tiles, brick and concrete, can help with your heating and cooling needs. For example, in winter they can store heat during the day and release it at night.
4. Insulate and Draught Proof Your Home
Insulation is any material that reduces the amount of heat transfers to or from your home through the ceiling, walls and floor. Insulation is measured by its R-value. When installing insulation, the higher the R-value the more effective it will be. Draft-proofing involves sealing up gaps around walls, floors, doors, window frames and other fixtures. A well-insulated and draught-proofed home will help to keep the temperature inside comfortable and reduce the amount of heating and cooling you need.
5. Windows And Shading
In winter, let the sun shine into your home for free heating. In summer use shading especially on north, east and west windows to keep your home cool. The right sized eaves can provide fixed shading, while adjustable shades, awnings and deciduous trees can shade in summer and still allow the sun to enter the home in winter. Double glazed windows or thick curtains with pelmets reduce heat transfer through windows.
6. Heating And Cooling Appliances
Heating and cooling appliances are the largest energy users in the average Australian home. Choosing the most energy efficient and appropriately sized heating or cooling appliance will help to reduce your home’s energy use.
f you are considering down-lights, holes will need to be cut in the roof insulation for the down-light fitting in the roof, reducing the insulation performance. Consider alternatives such as pendant lighting or ceiling mounted spots. While skylights provide more natural lighting, they can also increase heat transfer through walls or ceiling. If you need a skylight, consider one that is well insulated.
8. Water Heaters And Other Appliances
When choosing household appliances, make sure you choose energy efficient appliances that are the right size for your household’s needs. Major appliances like fridges/freezers and TVs have an energy rating label on them to show how much energy they use. Use the labels to compare similar-sized appliances. Alternatively, the Energy Rating website provides a comparison service for appliances with an energy rating label. The more stars, the better. When installing a new water heater or replacing an existing one, choose an efficient model such as a solar, high efficiency gas, or heat pump system.