When it comes to designing a home, energy efficiency is a key player in contributing to a greener planet and minimising energy bills. This is especially important in a time where energy prices are rising. Below is a summary of 8 things you can incorporate into your home design to make it energy efficient.
One of the main foundations of an energy efficient home is properly installed insulation – but how does that make a home more energy efficient?
Insulation acts as a barrier that helps to maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. With a good R-value insulation, heat transfer is minimised, keeping the warm air inside during winter and cool air inside during summer. This lowers energy consumption and bills.
When deciding on which insulation material to use, opt for a high-quality material that offers optimal thermal resistance, such as glasswool insulation (e.g. Bradford Gold and Knauf Earthwool), polystyrene rigid foam boards or polyester insulation. Loose-fill insulation has its benefits, but it’s very messy and requires a roof insulation vacuum to be removed. Each has its own advantages, so consider all the options suited to your project and choose the one that aligns with your budget.
To maximise the benefits of insulation, it’s important to ensure thorough coverage. This means addressing not only walls but also ceilings and underfloors, creating a sealed envelope around your living space. We recommend hiring insulation specialists so that the job gets done properly!
2. Double-Glazed Windows and Sealed Doors
Windows and doors are not just openings but potential energy leak points. Opt for double-glazed windows and well-sealed doors to minimise heat exchange with the external environment. This not only helps to maintain a consistent indoor temperature but also reduces the load on your heating or cooling system.
3. Energy Efficient Lighting
Switching to LED bulbs is a small change that can make a big difference. LED lights consume significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last longer too. There are also a wide variety of types, including tubes, globes and candelabra bulbs. When choosing an LED bulb, consider factors such as the colour temperature (warm vs. cool light), brightness and the specific fitting (e.g. E26 or GU10) to ensure compatibility with your fixtures. Choosing the right LED lighting type can help you achieve your desired home aesthetic.
Beyond that, consider incorporating natural lighting into your design to reduce reliance on artificial sources during the day. A sky light is a neat feature that doesn’t require any electricity generation.
4. Energy Efficient Appliances
Investing in energy efficient appliances, such as ENERGY STAR-rated products, can lead to substantial long-term savings. From fridges to washing machines, these appliances are designed to operate optimally, using less energy without compromising performance. Plus, an appliance like a fridge is running 24/7, 365 days a year, so why not invest in it? Although they usually have a higher initial cost, you’ll save money in the long term from reduced energy usage.
5. Planting Greenery to save energy
Strategically planting trees and bushes around your home can provide shade during hot months, reducing the need for excessive air conditioning. For places like Canberra where the winters are chilly, some landscaping can create windbreaks, helping to shield your home from cold winds.
Consider planting a row of trees with a thick canopy and low branches to create an effective windbreak. Deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter) can also provide shade during the summer while allowing sunlight through in colder months. A row of shade trees with a thick, lush canopy is considered an aesthetic and pleasant design choice that offers privacy too.
6. Blinds, Shades and curtains for Energy Efficiency
Opt for blinds that offer adjustable slats or shades with varying opacity levels. This allows you to control the amount of natural light entering your home. During hot summer days, you can partially or fully close the blinds to block out direct sunlight, reducing the need for air conditioning.
It’s also very important to consider the colour of your blinds, shades or curtains. Light colours reflect sunlight, preventing excessive heat gain, while darker shades absorb more heat, which can be beneficial in colder climates but may contribute to increased aircon use in warmer regions. Blinds and curtains also look very charming inside a home if the colours and texture complement the surroundings.
7. Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Integrate rainwater harvesting systems to collect and store rainwater for non-potable uses like watering plants and flushing toilets. This reduces the demand on town water supplies and the energy required for water treatment.
8. Solar Power for Water Heating
In Australia there’s plenty of sun, meaning you can generate a good chunk of your electricity from a clean and renewable source. Solar panels, sitting flat on the roof, take sunlight and turn it into power, helping you cut down on regular electricity use. According to RenewEnergy.com.au, a one-kilowatt solar setup can lead to savings of about $400 annually. Therefore, if you have a 5-kilowatt system, you could expect to save approximately $2000 each year.
For an energy efficient home, use the sun to heat your water. Solar water heating systems use solar energy to provide hot water, reducing the need for electricity or gas. Just make sure you have a backup system for cloudy days.
How to Make a House Energy Efficient
An energy efficient home design incorporates smart technology, sustainable materials and renewable energy sources. Not only does it contribute to a more sustainable future, but it also ensures that your home is comfortable at a lower cost.
Insulation is one of the most important features of an energy efficient home design. Without it, your energy bills would be going through the roof, your home would be freezing in winter and hot in summer and there would be practically no sound barrier between the walls.
Amelior Insulation is a professional insulation installation company servicing Canberra, Sydney, Blue Mountains and surrounding suburbs. We prioritise clear communication, quality workmanship and comply with insulation standards in Australia. Our insulation services include:
- Roof insulation inspections
- Insulation removal and replacement
- Ceiling insulation installations
- Underfloor insulation installations
Please contact us on 0450 858 568 if you have any questions or would like to book in one of these services. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you turn your home into an energy efficient one!