Despite the growing worldwide demand for energy-efficient buildings, Australia is failing in overall energy efficiency, according to a government-funded research report. The report reveals that a large number of buildings are failing to meet energy efficiency requirements under the National Construction Code, supposedly because many designers and contractors purposely undermine code compliance. These professionals were found not planning their buildings for energy efficiency, failing to orient their clients on energy efficiency and its benefits, and deviating significantly from approved designs.
Fortunately for our clients, we at Superdraft make it a point to comply with building regulations and standards. Laws are just one of the factors we consider whenever we build or renovate a home with energy efficiency in mind. Here are a few other factors.
Be sure to seek advice from an expert, or at the very least someone with experience building or renovating an energy-efficient home. Expert advice may spark good ideas and give you a better picture of what traps to avoid. Consult with an architect about energy efficiency, look at magazines for ideas, and talk to friends who have had renovations done.
If you’re looking into renovating your home to make it more energy-efficient, you can do a home sustainability assessment. The assessment will help you identify how you can improve the energy efficiency in specific areas of your house so that you can plan for specific changes and save more money. You can find an assessor, or we can help you find one.
Location and Building Orientation
If you are building an energy-efficient home from scratch, your architect should consider the positioning of your house. Well-planned positioning of your home allows you to take advantage of the sun’s direction, and placing your windows and exits in specific areas can help regulate insulation and light. So depending on your house’s orientation, the winter sun and reduced summer heat could help you save on heating and cooling.
Plan ahead on what kind of home you would want, and think of your floor plan carefully. Consider carefully the size of your house. Keep in mind that a larger house will generally cost more to furnish, heat, and maintain. If you have an existing space, think of ways you can reorganise and make the most out of your space before you decide to build an expansion.
Also, consider the openings indicated on your floor plan. Do you have windows on more than one side of your space? Can you put in high windows to get rid of rising hot air?
More importantly, make sure your floor plan indicates all the specifics of your home, and that these specifics are compliant with State or territory standards. Have your licensed building designer help you with this, be sure your state council approves the plans, and be certain that the finished project closely follows your plans’ specifications.
Building materials greatly affect the quality of your home and its overall energy efficiency, so choose long-lasting, low impact, and durable materials. Keep in mind that these materials do not need to be expensive. You can use recycled building materials and minimise waste.
Wood is a good building material, but you need to make sure that it comes from certified sustainably managed forests. Ask the Forest Stewardship Council, or you can have us help you source sustainably grown timber.
Paint can affect the lighting and heating levels inside your home. Using light-coloured paint can reduce the need for daytime lighting. And if you use low-emission paint, you contribute to reducing toxic fumes.