Building for energy efficiency

by Sekisui House on 04 09 2017 in Tips & Advice

A few things to consider:

Solar orientation           
How your home is placed on your land is very important. Ideally, your home will have the daytime living areas facing north, with the long axis of the house running east-west. In the real world, this is fairly rare, but the good news is that variations on the orientation can be up to 30 degrees to the east and 20 degrees to the west of true north, with no major impact on the solar advantage. Our home designs have been created with the sun in mind and we provide options for most land orientations, so ask your New Home Consultant which designs may be best for your block. ​

Design and layout
Your home's design and layout can also play a significant role in reducing energy costs. For instance, having daytime living areas facing north captures the winter sun. When you tile these areas, the rooms warm up even more in winter – while effective eaves and blinds keep them from being too hot in the summer. Having an open plan style of home will also help. This makes the best use of all available space, and should also allow light to penetrate easily, and air to circulate freely around your home. However, you should be able to close off areas to contain warmth when needed.

Insulation
Wall and ceiling insulation is another effective way of minimising the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer. Up to 40 per cent of winter heat can escape through a non-insulated ceiling and about the same amount of heat can be prevented from entering the home during summer.  

Windows and shading
While north-facing windows and doors let in the winter sun, in summer you may need suitably designed eaves or pergolas to keep the harsh summer heat out. In areas of extreme heat, external blinds or shutters are a great idea. In the cooler months, homes lose the majority of their heat through windows and sliding doors. Close-fitting drapes, blinds or internal shutters trap a layer of insulating air between them and the glass, and can make a big difference to how much heat escapes.

Landscaping
In your garden, we recommend planting shady deciduous trees to help block the summer sun. In the winter, when they lose their leaves, they allow the sun through to warm and light your home. Ideally, you should place trees as far from the house as possible so you still get shade - but don't need to constantly clean out your gutters or create bushfire danger. It is also important when planting trees to refer to your Guide to Home Maintenance brochure provided at Handover to ensure you are positioning the trees in suitable locations, so not to disrupt your footings with the tree roots when they grow. If you've built pergolas, plant them out with attractive vines that, again, will allow sun through in winter.  

Heating and cooling
Lastly, the heating and cooling devices you choose for your home will have a major impact on your energy efficiency and your bills. Choose a gas heater or high efficiency reverse cycle air-conditioning system. If the system has adjustable louvers, adjust them towards the ceiling when cooling, and towards the floor when warming.

Got questions about energy efficiency?

Call 13 74 22 to speak with one of our experienced consultants. We’re here to help.