Tips To Making An Energy Efficient Home
Don’t make the biggest investment of your life without thinking about this. When you buy a car you consider the mileage per tank. When you buy a fridge you look at how many star energy ratings it has. When you purchase, build or renovate a home do you consider the Energy Rating? – I sure hope you do!
Most Victorian homes rate a measly 1.8 stars out of a possible 10. – Scary thought isn’t it!
This equates to:
- Many more dollars spent on heating & cooling bills
- Stifling hot summers & freezing cold winters
- And, much more carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.
Here are some simple tips to ensure the home you purchase, build or renovate is as energy-efficient as possible. I’ve decided to steer clear of things like the use of thermal mass because I believe it must be used correctly and in the right location. I also haven’t mentioned solar PV or energy efficient appliances because they’re pretty obvious and at SHM we consider them ‘bells and whistles’ that can compliment an energy-efficient home.
This is simple stuff that’s been overlooked for many years. Insulation is (one of) the most affordable ways to ensure your home is super comfy and energy-efficient. Consider the example of a freezing cold night, going to bed and hopping under a toasty warm duvet. We all know how warm and cozy that can be. On the flipside, we all know that if our little toes are hanging out the end of the duvet you’ll start to feel cold real quick. A home’s insulation works in the same way. Some people, much smarter than I, Building Scientists I believe, determined that just 5% of gaps in insulation reduces its efficiency by 50%. I cannot overstate the importance of ensuring a continuous layer of insulation around your home.
If you’ve lived in Melbourne for any length of time you’ve no doubt visited one or lived in one of these leaky old Melbourne homes. The airtight sealing of homes in years gone by was not the done thing and even today is approached with trepidation. The assumption is that homes need to breathe, and when you’re not managing moisture levels correctly this is true. However, the construction industry today has progressed greatly in the area of moisture management and airtightness in recent decades. Therefore in today’s age there’s no excuse for a leaky, drafty home. An airtight home lets you dictate when to welcome in a cooling breeze and when a home should be sealed up from the elements.
There’s a saying that goes ‘If You Think Good Design is Expensive, You Should Look At The Cost of Bad Design’ – Dr. Ralf Speth. I couldn’t agree with this more. A home MUST be designed with its specific environment in mind. Taking into consideration; nearby buildings and structures, sun and wind direction, gradient of the site and its surrounding area and many other factors. There’s no cookie cutter approach to achieving the best and most energy-efficient outcomes for individual home’s.
A principle often used is passive solar design, meaning; a home should use the sun to heat in winter months, yet block the sun out in summer months. Further to that the home’s design should also allow for cross-flow ventilation enabling cooling breezes on a summer’s evening. With the correct passive solar design principles applied to your building site this should take a load off mechanical heating and cooling, and save you money and carbon in our atmosphere.
Applying the 3 principles above;
- Continuous insulation layer acting like a blanket surrounding your home
- Ensure your home is airtight and doesn’t have any unwanted drafts or air leaks
- Applying the correct solar passive design principles to heat and cool your home passively.
Will ensure that you’ll have a beautiful, comfortable, sustainable home. Please do contact us if you’d like to talk about how we can do this for your home.
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