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Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can be achieved in many aspects of the design and building process.

Energy efficiency can be achieved in many aspects of the design and building process.

Key elements of good design for thermal comfort is based on the following principles:

  • A northern Orientation is the basis of passive solar design, siting the house on the block, often using an elongated basic rectangle shape with the long sides facing north and south. Placing on the northern side the main living areas and even bedrooms to allow maximum penetration of the sunshine when required during winter as the suns path is lower in the sky, down to 40o at the winter solstice. At the same time we can include shading techniques to effortlessly exclude and protect the interior from the sun's heat during the summer months, when the sun's path is up to about 80o at the summer solstice.
  • Carefully selected glazing is also an important part of passive solar design, it can be designed to allow and trap the sun's radiant warmth in winter and to shade and reflect the sun's heat in summer. There is a separate page on glazing in the Education section as it requires more explanation.
  • The type of floor construction and/or covering is important to consider when aiming to achieve a desired level of 'Thermal Mass' to derive more benefit from solar passive design, this is done by storing solar warmth in the concrete or tiled floor (or walls) during the day with the radiant heat that penetrates the windows when required during winter. The thermal mass can also provide a 'heat sink' when we need the house to be cooler during summer. A strategically placed brick, concrete or stone interior wall will provide further thermal mass if they are positioned in such a way as to receive and absorb sunlight from the winter sun.
  • We all understand the importance of Insulation to resist and reduce unwanted heat loss during winter and unwanted heat gain during summer, through the walls, roof and/or the ceiling and even the floor and windows. When building a new home before obtaining building approval your application has to provide details of a minimum requirement of the proposed insulation to be installed in the walls and roof and/or ceiling. Over the last 20 years that minimum requirement has steadily and significantly increased and is expected to continue to do so. Therefore it makes sense to invest in above minimum requirement for insulation and it is much easier and cheaper and far more effective, to do this at the building stage. If you have elected to build solar passive, energy efficient home, it would be counterproductive to skimp on the insulation. There are so many great insulating products available on the market today and we as builders we have always installed well above the minimum requirement required by regulation in that particular year of construction. 
  • Ventilation is the movement of air that has been directed or deliberately controlled from the outside and through the building. This movement of air is required or needed to provide fresh air to cool the interior of the building and it's occupants. There are several techniques to achieve this, sometimes even undetected, as it is important that adequate fresh air movement is achieved to have a desired cooling affect on the people inside. The design and placement of certain types of windows is an integral part of directing air movement, by perhaps using louvers or casement windows to catch breezes from a particular direction. There are also devices that can be fitted to the walls, ceiling or roof, that can allow air flow and sunlight into the building.
  • Greywater Recycling Systems offers continuous supply of useable water. The main sources of grey water are from the bathroom and laundry. Modelling data suggests that more than 20% saving can be made with a 1000 litre tank collecting both bathroom and laundry grey water and only supplying both garden uses and toilet flushing. Further water savings will be achieved if rainwater harvesting is implemented. Rainwater tanks have undergone many changes and improvements in design and can now be positioned in spaces that previously couldn't accomodate an old style round tank.

Eco Concept Constructions

Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast.

Sustainable, environmentally responsible building practices

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