8 Essential Design Secrets SUSTAINABLE BUILDING ENHANCED LIVING
Know your climate zon e
You can minimise the energy usage within your home at planning stage by designing from the outset a home to take advantage of the natural energy flows from the elements to maximise your comfort year round. Unless you grew up or have lived in the area you plan to build your new home check the zoning online at http://www.yourhome. gov.au/technical/fs10.html Read up & become familiar with the recommendations for your climate zone.
Location As the agents say its all about location but not entirely the way they interpret this. Choosing your home site should be based on more than keeping up with the Jones family, decisions on views, prevailing breezes, recreation, transport requirements and future needs will greatly impact on your requirements for a functional home and energy efficient lifestyle. Location in regards to public transport, sporting & recreation areas may save you a bucket load or see you spending more time fueling up to hit the freeway than actually feeling free & enjoying your new life
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consider your building envelope This refers to the external elements effecting a buildings thermal performance including the thermal mass of the floor, roof materials and colours, walls, windows and any screening, shading or curtains required. Dark colours absorb heat whilst light colours reflect, so a darker roof will require more insulation in a tropical zone. Glass windows and doors are the single biggest cause of heat transferance in the modern home and need to be well located to maximise the benefits for views and ventilation. The ratio of glass in the house is a critical calculation to be done by experts to ensure the house allows winter sun and minimises summer heat gain from the sun.
increase efficiency Increase efficiency of heating & cooling systems by correct sizing & installation locations. Other items to consider include:
• Solar air cons installed on the shady side • Whole of house fans • Louvres over cooling ponds • Venting rangehoods to the outside to minimise trapped heat in summer and reduce odours year round • Isolate fridge freezers from heating appliances & cool with ducted air.
decrease en ergy requirements
Decrease other energy requirements such as lighting, use motion sensors & timers, microwave & gas cooking along with solar hot water system. Reduce water useage, a dripping toilet is annoying, wastes water & uses energy for the pressure pump to regularly maintain pressure.
Install energy generation equipment such as Solar PV & even wind generators in rural areas to not only reduce your energy bills but cancel them out completely.
clever landscaping Landscaping is not just for aesthetics and can have many benefits to improve the building envelope thru shading and screening for protection from the elements and privacy. Gardens can be incorporated to provide fresh produce or in the case of wall gardens add an interesting design feature. Roof gardens are also very popular in some countries but are difficult and expensive to install if not incorporated into the home at design stage.
We hope this has helped to give you some insight into the importance of the need to preplan your new Eco Home from the ground up. This is what we specialise in and look forward to helping you with the complete design/build process. For more information call on 5443 3780 to discuss or visit our website www.optam.com.au. Please consider the environment before printing this document