Let’s build en­ergy ef­fi­ciency in right from the start ~ and cut on­go­ing costs.

Style Magazine - - Interior - — Ge­off Gib­son

With your plans start­ing to take shape, it is now time to con­sider some re­ally im­por­tant is­sues that will have a huge bear­ing on the over­all en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your great­est as­set, and its on­go­ing en­ergy costs. A very good web site to visit is www.nathers.gov.au. This site will give you an easy-to-un­der­stand out­line on what en­ergy ef­fi­ciency is and how to achieve it. Nathers is the pro­gramme de­signed by the CSRIO that is used to cal­cu­late the En­ergy Rat­ing on your new home us­ing a Star rat­ing sys­tem. By law, all new homes in Queens­land must achieve a 6 Star en­ergy rat­ing as a min­i­mum. To achieve this, some de­sign­ers sim­ply put a fan in the out­door area or PV cells on the roof — both of which equate to a one star bonus. Hardly ge­nius, and se­ri­ously, they must think their cus­tomers are dills. If so, it means the best your home will ac­tu­ally achieve is a 5 Star rat­ing, if that. Not much com­fort if your goal is to save on­go­ing costs for heat­ing and cool­ing.

You’ve got in­su­la­tion? Are you sure?

Cor­rect in­su­la­tion and its place­ment is vi­tal. You only get one chance to put in­su­la­tion in the walls — at the frame stage. Check your builder has al­lowed for the right kind of in­su­la­tion to be fit­ted in all ex­ter­nal walls. While talk­ing to your builder, check what type of foun­da­tions, built-in ter­mite pro­tec­tion and ter­mite-re­sis­tant ma­te­ri­als your frame will be made from. It’s im­por­tant. Even bet­ter is to do all this check­ing much ear­lier, at the quot­ing stage, be­cause build­ing quotes with­out the all-im­por­tant in­su­la­tion will ap­pear de­cep­tively cheaper. Mean­ing you’ll pay, and pay, and pay for it later.

Some so­lu­tions are easy and sim­ple

Sim­ple things like putting in­su­la­tion in the in­ter­nal walls of your garage will stop mo­tor ve­hi­cle heat be­ing trans­ferred through them, as well as west­ern Sum­mer sun. Breeze and weather seals on all ex­ter­nal doors will also have a large im­pact on heat loss and gain, yet are so cheap, sim­ple and easy.

Ther­mal Mass ~ the Holy Grail

The ther­mal mass of a home is gen­er­ally the con­crete slab the home is sit­ting on, be­cause of the den­sity of con­crete. It read­ily ab­sorbs heat and slowly re­leases it, help­ing to keep your home’s tem­per­a­ture more evenly bal­anced. In our Sa­tori, we’ve ex­tended this con­cept by in­cor­po­rat­ing a solid con­crete wall ‘heat bank’ within the home, re­tain­ing Win­ter’s heat en­ergy. In­creased ther­mal mass can also be con­sid­ered to in­crease your star rat­ings. Fi­nally, the right floor cov­er­ings can ei­ther de­flect or stop the heat from be­ing re­leased too quickly from the slab. As al­ways, you’re wel­come to talk to us about these things.

Not just a sim­ple in­ter­nal brick wall — this is a solid con­crete ‘heat bank’ wall ab­sorb­ing warmth dur­ing Win­ter.

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