How To Design A More Sustainable House
One of the easiest ways to save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint is by using clever design principles to maximise your home’s sustainability. Here are some tips for building a sustainable home.
Start Planning Early to Make Your Home Sustainable
It is far more economically efficient and logistically easier to plan to incorporate sustainability into your house at the building stage, rather than trying to add things in later. Talk to your builder about the importance of making your house energy efficient and how this can be incorporated into the overall building design and construction.
Maximise Natural Light and Ventilation
Facing your living areas to the north or north east will maximise the amount of sun you get in the winter, reducing your heating bills. For the summer months, plan for additional shading over those north facing windows and outdoor areas to keep the house cool. Reduce the size of the windows facing the other directions (west and east) and keep your window sill heights raised.
Strategically placing windows on either sides of your home will allow you to open them and capture the breeze to give fresh air ventilation in summer.
Reflective and bulk insulation will reflect the sun in the summer and retain the heat during the winter, lowering your overall energy costs all year round.
Plan for a strategic door to separate your main living space from the bedrooms and rest of the house so you can heat and cool in the zones you are actually in. That way you don’t need to be wasting power trying to unnecessarily heat or cool the entire house.
Use Solar Energy
Installing solar photovoltaic panels on the northern part of your roof will allow you to capture the sun’s rays and convert it into energy to power your home. Once installed, any electricity you use during the hours your panels are operational will be offset against your overall power bill. Any additional energy captured by your panels is sent back to the grid and you may receive a further discount or credit on your bill. A typical home only requires a 1 to 1.5kW system.
You can also opt for specific solar hot water systems to use within your home.
Think About How You Use Your Appliances
Opt for energy efficient electrical appliances and LED lights to reduce your electricity bill. Here is a good guide to the types of star ratings you should be looking for on your household appliances:
- 2.5 stars or more for electric air conditioners;
- 3.5 stars or more for refrigerators;
- 4.5 stars or more (energy and water) for clothes washing machines;
- 7 stars or more for televisions.
For more information on designing a sustainable home, please refer to the Harpley Design Guidelines.