Updated: Apr 22
If you’re wondering how to design an energy efficient home, you aren’t alone.
Many Australians are incorporating eco-friendly design features in their new build homes, so here are some key elements to think about when you’re designing your home with energy efficiency in mind.
Consider Your Block’s Orientation
The orientation of your block and your home will affect how energy efficient your house can be.
North facing orientation is generally preferred for homes in the southern hemisphere, because it allows for maximum sunlight in winter and protection from the heat of the summer sun.
By planning your orientation well, you can reduce the need for extra heating and cooling by way of air conditioning and heating solutions.
This in turn leads to lower carbon emissions and savings on your energy bills.
Start With The Design
The design of your home from where you place the home on your block, to where you add external windows and internal walls will have an impact on your home’s energy efficiency.
Having longer walls of your home as north facing will maximise the warmth and light from the sun during winter but keep it protected from the harsh sun during summer.
Research your local climate to determine what temperature ranges you will experience, along with the common directions of cool breezes, hot winds and cold winds.
Use this information to assist you in designing your home.
Invest In Insulation
No energy efficient home is complete without insulation.
You can insulate many aspects of your home including the walls, under the floors and the roof.
Insulation helps to cool your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Just like your orientation, this will help you spend less on heating and cooling while also keeping your carbon emissions to a minimum.
Install Double Glazing
Double glazing is becoming more and more popular in Australia when it comes to new build homes.
It’s a great way to reduce heat loss in your home during winter and can keep your rooms cooler in summer.
Added benefits also include noise reduction from outside and extra security for your windows.
Incorporate Solar Energy
Many people these days are turning to solar energy as standard when designing a new home.
As we live in one of the sunniest countries in the world, it makes complete sense to harness solar power and use it instead of costly electricity.
Solar energy is more affordable than it’s ever been and with incentives from the government to install it, it’s a no-brainer when designing your energy-efficient home.
Use Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling Systems
If you’re adding heating and cooling systems to your new build, remember that not all systems are created equal.
Just as appliances like fridges and dishwashers have energy efficiency ratings, air conditioning and heating systems all perform differently.
Do your research and choose one with optimal performance for its energy efficiency.
Create Zones For Your Home
By creating zones for your home you can choose what area you want to heat and when.
With many houses having an open plan layout, this can often mean it takes much longer to heat areas as they are larger and connected to other rooms.
By adding elements like sliding doors you can close off whole areas like passageways to bedrooms. This allows you to just heat living areas instead of the whole house.
Install Energy Efficient Lighting
Lighting is a huge part of a home and can completely change the look and feel of a house.
It can also have a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency as light bulbs that aren’t energy efficient will cost a lot more to run, and won’t last as long either.
LED lighting is popular and cost-effective, making it an ideal choice for an eco-friendly home.
Choose Appliances That Are Energy Efficient
Appliances may be added to your home, and not technically part of the design, but they should still be carefully chosen when building a new home.
Always check the star ratings for any appliance in your home, from ovens and fridges to gas heaters and washing machines.
Use Trees & Shrubs To Create Natural Shade
Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to your house design – or should that be, outside the home?
Trees and shrubs are great for creating natural shading around your windows which in turn lessens your need to use expensive heating and cooling options.
Consider Water Saving Systems & Fittings
Being energy efficient isn’t just about saving gas and electricity. It’s about saving water too.
There are lots of different ways you can save water, including installing water saving devices like low flow shower heads, shower timers, dual flush toilets and grey water recycling systems.
Don’t forget to speak to your home builder about other ideas to make your new home more energy efficient. They could have suggestions that you haven’t even considered as well.
About The Author
John Kelly found his career beginnings in 1988, working locally as a carpenter. Creating a reputable name over decades of hard work, John established the JFK Construction family nine years ago and has grown to become renowned as one of the best custom home builders in Perth.
Coming from a hard-working Irish family of eight, John values the importance of family life and the significance of the family home.
This allows John to offer valuable insight into custom home designs that foster close family relationships while providing privacy and space when required.