Energy efficient home

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Energy efficient home tips

When planning the build or renovation of your home, consider the orientation and design.  The following tips can help improve the energy efficiency and ongoing costs.  For more detailed information visit Renovating and Building.

Orientation

  • Living areas and rooms you spend lots of time in should be north-facing to catch sun and light for the longest part of the day.
  • Bedrooms should be positioned on the southern side so they are cooler and more pleasant to sleep in at night.

Eaves

  • Eaves over north-facing windows can keep unwanted sun out in summer and let the sun's warmth in during winter.

Living areas

  • Although open plan designs are popular, they can be difficult and expensive to heat and cool, and can be quite noisy. So make living areas more enclosed to keep heating and cooling costs down.

Zoning

  • Creating 'zones' by grouping rooms with similar uses together – such as living rooms, bedrooms and wet areas – can allow for more efficient heating and cooling.

Trees

  • Trees and shrubs can be used to block out the harsh morning and afternoon sun on the eastern and western sides of your home during summer.

Verandas and pergolas

  • Paving directly under north-facing windows reflects heat into the house, so adding pergolas or verandas in these areas can provide extra summer shade.

Glass

  • Too much glass can make your home very hot in summer and cold during winter.
  • Limit the number of windows on the east and west sides of your home.

Natural cooling

  • Position windows to maximise cross-ventilation, allowing breezes to flush out warm summer air that's built up during the day.

Internal temperature

  • In warmer climates, elevated flooring and light construction materials can help keep the home cool.
  • Metal roofs effectively reflect sunlight and keep internal temperatures down.
  • Solid materials such as brick, concrete and stone used in the right areas can provide sufficient thermal mass to absorb and store heat during winter.

Insulation

  • Ceiling and wall insulation can help maintain a quieter and more comfortable home all year round.
  • Curtains or blinds with pelmets that sit snugly in the window frame can improve the insulation of your windows.

Lighting

  • While natural light offers the cheapest solution, fluorescent lights are also great as they save energy and last longer than standard lights.
  • LED lights can save as much energy as fluorescents and can last three times longer or more. While they are more expensive, technology is improving so they should become more affordable soon.

Colour

  • Your exterior colour scheme can have an impact on indoor comfort, so ensure walls and roofs are light-coloured. This way, they can reflect heat and help keep your home cool in summer.

For more ideas, read our booklet, The energy sense home (PDF 4.9 mb).

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