With energy costs rising and consumers becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, builders and renovators are looking for ways to save costs and ensure their own build is green.
Ask an Architect, the online building design, inspection and advice service, offers owners, builders and renovators some helpful advice that could not only save money but hopefully help save the planet. Here are their tips:
1. Quality based building inspections. One of the biggest trends in new homes and renovations is the introduction of quality based building inspections, which are aimed at ensuring homes with a six or more green star design will actually perform as expected. The six star building code rating only applies to the building fabric (floor/walls/roof) – how the owner lives in the home can bring the performance down substantially.
2. Site orientation. The first step in orientation is maximising the northern aspect, where exposure to the sun is best controlled. Eaves and pergolas can be precisely designed to block the summer sun, and still allow the desirable winter sunshine to penetrate. It is important to prioritise rooms based on access to views and solar penetration orientation. An open-plan kitchen and living area, for example, should have top position, while bedrooms or bathrooms require less daylight, as they are largely used for short periods of time, or at night.
3. Zoning. By zoning the home, unused areas can be closed off, and cooling and heating appliances can be designed for maximum efficiency and minimum use.
4. Additionally, Ask an Architect recommends the following:
- Insulate the ceiling
- Weather seal windows and doors
- Fit blinds, curtains or drapes
- Buy high star-rated appliances
- Install solar panels
- Replace single flush toilet cisterns with dual flush cisterns
- Upgrade your heating system to a more efficient design
- Put in a rain water tank
- Upgrade your hot water service
- Fit a grey-water diversion system
- Upgrade your windows using double glazing or other high-tech glass