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Designing a sustainable home

 Posted on: 16 April, 2015
 Mario Figliomeni

 

The following tips will improve the star rating of your home, as well as save you money and help the environment.

  1. By reducing the amount of external wall area of the house you can minimize the loss of heat.
  2. The careful selection of roof, walls and floor materials can help to avoid unwanted heat loss or gain, blocking extreme variances in temperature.
  3. It is important that the living areas and private open space face north. The north windows will receive maximum sun in winter, keeping the space nice and warm.
  4. Create zones. Keep rooms with similar functionality in one zone and use doors to separate each zone. This will permit each zone to be independently heated or cooled.
  5. Adding a door to any living space connected to the entrance creates an airlock, a buffer zone that minimizes the attraction of unwanted heat, cold air and drafts.
  6. Careful selection of window size, shade and orientation will help to keep your home a comfortable temperature. For example, north-facing windows are so important that 25-50% of the north face of the house should be glass. They will work collecting winter sun, keeping the house warm and comfortable.
  7. Grey water is water that comes from your bath, shower, basin and laundry. It is basically any wastewater that hasn’t come into contact with toilet wastewater. By the installation of a grey wastewater system this water can be recycled and used to irrigate gardens.
  8. By installing a solar photovoltaic system which transfers the energy of the sun directly into electricity, you will generate sustainable energy to power your home and save on electricity bills. You might be able to obtain a government refund and support to help you with upfront costs or even be able to sell your excess energy to your electricity provider.
  9. By installing a solar hot water system in your home you can reduce your hot water bills by up to 75%.  The system works using the energy of the sun to directly heat water.
  10. Installing the right type of insulation with the right R-value will make your home more comfortable, keeping the heat out in summer and the warmth in in winter. R-value is a comparable measure of resistance to heat transfer. The higher the R-value the more resistant is the insulation material.

Note that some of the information above will apply on designing strategies for the Perth climate only. The manner on which you plan your house will change according to the climate zone you are building in.

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