Building your own home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, and gives you the opportunity to design a space which suits your lifestyle. Before you get swept away by paint colours, carpets and the size of the ensuite, take some time to discuss your energy requirements with your luxury home builder.
The price of electricity is constantly on the rise, and we all know some of our habits can have a negative impact on the environment. Making a few small changes to your design will make your new home more energy efficient…and save you money in the long run!
The position of your house can make a difference when it comes to regulating your heating and cooling. Try to situate your living areas to the north, allowing for large windows to give you sunlight during the day, and a soft breeze at night. Place smaller windows to the south and plant leafy trees to give shade to the east and west, which generally get hit by the blazing sun. Bedrooms placed to the south of the home will make for more comfortable sleeping during summer.
Have your plumbing installed close to the water heater to minimise heat loss as water travels through the pipes.
Solar panels can be costly, but if you are planning to stay in your new home long term, they will pay for themselves. In addition to solar for the home, include a solar powered hot water system in your plans. Insulation in the walls and ceiling will keep the heat in during winter, and leave your home feeling cooler in summer. Choose double glazed, energy efficient windows with thick curtains or blinds. Leave space for a rainwater tank, and a clothesline to avoid the temptation of having to use the dryer more than you should.
An angled verandah or pergola will offer additional shade and prevent the hot glare from the sun from falling onto your home.
Power and water saving appliances are essential when it comes to creating an energy efficient home. Find a heating and cooling system which will suit your needs, without blowing out the energy consumption. Ceiling fans are cheaper to run than air conditioners, and are a smart addition for those humid nights. Dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators all come with an energy / water rating which makes them easier to compare.
When choosing the colour of your roof, a lighter shade will keep your home cooler than a darker one, as it has the ability to reflect heat. Having lighter paint in the interior of your home will require less lighting, and you may even be able to switch off during the day. A house made from bricks may provide more insulation, as it has thermal mass properties. This means it is thicker than most alternatives and can retain the heating or cooling inside your home. This doesn’t mean that brick is the only option, chat to your local builder to discuss the solution which is right for your design.
It is important to remember that two storey homes and single storey homes will need slightly different strategies in ensuring energy efficiency. Early planning is essential, to get the right mix of performance and energy saving measures.