Efficient house design and smart appliance choice are the most effective methods for reducing the electricity requirements of your new home. Simple concepts such as passive design, good insulation and natural lighting are great ways to reduce the heating, cooling and lighting electricity demand while also improving comfort levels. We can help you to choose efficient appliances – and identify ones to avoid.
Off-Grid Energy Australia consultants are trained in efficient house and passive design concepts and can provide you with recommendations how to reduce your energy requirements during the consultation phase. We see many homes requiring little or no heating or cooling thanks to the implementation of simple and smart design concepts.
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Passively designed houses take advantage of the climate and surrounds to provide a consistent, comfortable temperature inside the house with no ‘mechanical’ heating or cooling. A well designed passive house should be able to remain within 18°C and 28°C throughout the year in most locations.
Passive design ideas and techniques can be used in any house construction type and in any climate area of Australia. It is very important to consider these techniques when first planning your home as they are more easily incorporated during construction, rather than imposing them on an already built structure.
Passive design features may include:
The internal layout of your home will also help reduce heating and cooling requirements. The main consideration you should have in mind is allowing in the maximum amount of winter sun, and minimal amount of summer sun, into the high use areas of the house. The Northern aspect of the house will be the most comfortable area to be in meaning that all the daytime living areas should be placed on this side of the house. Areas such as bedrooms that require less heating can be placed on the Southerly side of the house, and any ‘utility’ rooms can be placed on the hottest, Western sides of the house.
These utility areas should be located close together in the house to minimize the amount of heat lost from hot water piping.
To help keep warm in winter and cool in summer stay in the highly used areas, these rooms may need to be ‘zoned’ together and be able to be separated from other areas of the house (i.e. with doors or corridors). Smaller floor plans, reducing open plan living, and reducing ceiling height (max 2.7m) can also help with this.
By orientating your home correctly on your site, you can improve how well the passive heating and cooling works. In most cases, the best orientation for a house is with the rooms used the most facing the North (with large windows is appropriate) and minimal windows on the East and West facings. If there is no additional shading around the house, it is best to have the longest alignment of the house within 15° east or west of north.