The five must-have design features in an eco-friendly home
It is of fundamental importance every home built at Alkimos Beach and Alkimos Vista includes a range of eco-friendly features to reduce the carbon footprint of the community. Project partners DevelopmentWA and Lendlease are striving to deliver on their commitment that homes in the communities consume up to 50 per cent less energy compared to a typical Perth home. To achieve this, we begin by ensuring the position of the home considers optimal solar orientation. With balmy summers and wet, cold winters, the well-designed homes make the most of the local coastal climatic conditions.
Here are five core building features of a well-designed property according to Lendlease Sustainability Manager WA, Nadja Kampfhenkel. These features ensure each home can maintain a year-round comfortable indoor temperature without relying on potentially expensive heating and cooling technology options.
- Orientation of main living areas
To ensure living areas such as a living room, games room, study, and kitchen are cool in summer and warm in winter, they should be situated on the north side of the house. Large windows and glass doors with direct connection to outdoor spaces will further allow winter warmth and natural light in. Draught sealing around windows and doors is equally important to keep the cold out.
- Minimise east- and west-facing walls
To ensure the house remains cool on warm summer days, it is recommended the shorter sides of the home are east and west facing. By minimising the windows and walls facing east and west, the impacts of the hot summer sun will be reduced.
- Orientation of rooms used the least
Rooms that are used less frequently, such as garages or carports, rooms for storage, bathrooms, toilets, and laundries, are best placed on the east and west sides of the block. Ideally, bedrooms should be south facing as these are typically used the most at night time.
- Maximise ventilation with windows and doors
The orientation of an eco-friendly home does not just consider its position in relation to the sun, but also considers the best possible orientation for cross ventilation. Considered placement of windows and doors on opposite walls of the room allows for the flow of cool summer breezes to be maximised. Additionally, on really hot days, ceiling fans are a great alternative to air conditioning to help keep the house cool. Make sure your ceilings are high enough to allow for safe use, 2700mm ceiling heights are optimal.
- Inclusion of wide eaves and insulation
The inclusion of wide eaves around the external perimeters of the house is multifunctional. It provides shade for outdoor seating areas but also protects windows and walls from the high, hot summer sun. Including insulation in the roof, external walls, and under exposed floors is also critical in maintaining a comfortable year-round indoor temperature.