Top tips for building a more efficient home
The number of people who choose to build their own home is growing. November 2014 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that in trend terms, there was a 0.2 per cent increase in the amount of finance granted for the construction of new homes compared to the previous month.
If you're someone who likes the idea of building your own property, the chances are you'll want to make sure it is as energy efficient as possible. This will not only ensure you pay the lowest electricity prices possible, but also helps you do your bit for the environment.
We've put together a list of some of the main ways in which you can make sure your new-build property is as environmentally sound as it can be.
Use natural heating and cooling to your advantage
The way in which your new home is positioned will play a crucial role on how it is heated and cooled. The trick is to maximise the use of sunlight in the areas where it's most likely to be appreciated.
For example, positioning your kitchen and laundry room facing away from the side of the house exposed to sunlight is a wise move. Instead, save this part of the home for living areas and bedrooms.
You can also reduce heat loss from pipes by grouping together rooms that use hot water - typically the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.
Install solar panels
Generating your own electricity has many benefits, not least because it can have a positive impact on the amount you pay for your energy. Solar power usage is increasing in Australia - a trend that's not expected to stop abating any time soon.
ARENA predicts that solar energy use will increase at an annual rate of 5.9 per cent, eventually reaching 24 petajoules by 2020-30.
Once installed, solar panels require little maintenance and should meet your new home's energy needs for decades to come.
Avoid high ceilings
Although high ceilings can appear attractive, they are also highly inefficient. The amount of heating and cooling needed in your home will be dramatically increased, so it's a great idea to keep them as low as possible.
You might also want to consider insulating your ceilings. This has the dual benefit of being able to keep your property cool when it's needed and warm when the winter months come around.
Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett