Why are more people choosing to build energy-efficient homes?
As Australians grapple with the challenges of climate change and rising energy costs, we’ve noticed that many of our clients are choosing energy-efficient home designs.
For those considering home alterations or new builds, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make, with the energy efficiencies of your home being one of them.
Understanding the features of energy-efficient homes and their benefits is a great place to start!
What is an energy-efficient home design?
An energy-efficient home design, also referred to as a green home or a sustainable home, is designed with a larger focus on including features and designs that will not only look great, but will reduce the energy consumption homeowners will require once they’ve moved in.
Here in Australia, we use a scheme known as the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) to assess homes and builds, rating the energy efficiency based on the design, construction materials and overall elements of the house.
Key features of an energy-efficient home design
As architects, we certainly love the challenge of incorporating energy-efficient elements into a modern style of home that looks like a dream and saves like a dream. They’re also a fantastic way to future proof your home.
When we’re designing an energy-efficient home, there are a number of sustainable architecture elements we will explore and recommend to our clients.
Insulation is one of the key elements that will improve a home’s energy efficiency. So we’ll ensure the design of the home starts off with effective insulation in the roof and the walls and double-glazed windows.
Insulation will help regulate the temperature indoors, reduce the transfer of heat and also minimise the need for internal heating and cooling, which costs our clients both money and carbon footprint.
Australian weather is perfect for solar panels, especially in North Shore designs. So if it fits the brief, we like to suggest solar panels to reduce the customer’s reliance on the grid, lower their electricity bills and also generate clean, renewable energy.
Increased water efficiency
Including features like rainwater harvesting systems and grey water recycling can help you reduce the consumption of water and incorporate better management practices within the home.
What other factors should you consider before you build?
We also consider several additional factors when planning a sustainable, energy-efficient home design that goes beyond what architects do.
This includes factors such as:
- The orientation of your home; does it allow us to design your space in a way that makes use of natural sunlight for warmth in winter, while also providing adequate shade during the summer months as well as capturing prevailing breezes and maximising cross ventilation?
- Location of the property; is it close to local infrastructure like public transport, to reduce the need for you to drive?
- Construction materials; are your builders buying and sourcing local materials from sustainable providers where possible?
Energy-efficient home designs have major benefits
By far, one of the most appealing benefits of an energy-efficient home design is the cost benefits and potential for saving money, both during design and afterwards. These cost savings come from a range of places, such as:
- Energy-efficient homes designed with insulation, double-glazed windows and efficient heating and cooling systems help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and encourage beautiful indoor/outdoor living while minimising excessive heating or cooling, which leads to lower energy bills.
- Government incentives, grants and rebates also encourage energy efficiency, such as the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme that provides financial incentives for solar panel installation to reduce upfront costs.
- Water-saving fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets to reduce water usage and lower water bills, with potential additional savings through rebates and incentives.
- Solar panels can generate clean, renewable electricity and earn credits or cash from excess power fed back into the grid through feed-in tariffs, which can offset your electricity costs.
- Some of our clients are now looking at hydronic or geothermal underfloor heating as more cost-efficient and comfortable heating options.
- Finally, choosing energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and LED lighting can also significantly reduce your electricity consumption, resulting in lower monthly bills.
Are you ready to go green?
When you consider the benefits and style that come with an energy-efficient home design, it’s no wonder we’re seeing more and more clients exploring and incorporating these features.
Contact us today to get the conversation started.