9 Key Principles of Energy Efficient Home Design

Using good design principles can save energy, water and money, while creating a more enjoyable and comfortable home. All new homes, home renovations, alterations and additions need to comply with the 6 Star requirement in the National Construction Code. Increase your rating just one star, however, and you will reduce your heating and cooling energy needs – and your energy bills.

1. Block Orientation

When choosing a block for your home, make sure it will allow you to place the living areas where you spend the most time on the north side of the house, so the absolute perfectly orientated block here in Perth in my opinion is to be South facing. This will allow you to take advantage of the winter sun to the private living spaces of the residence, keeping these rooms warm, light and bright. Avoid or minimise windows facing west or east and make sure they are well shaded for summer, and minimise south facing windows as these don’t get any winter sun. If your residence has a view, this absolutely takes priority but requires a custom home design to suit the location while needing to take advantage of passive solar design to achieve the best outcome while keeping energy rating requirement costs to a minimum. Only a custom home will be the best viable long-term solution in this instance. Ask our Architect for advice about taking advantage of natural light.


2. Solar Power

Installing a Solar PV System will allow you to generate renewable energy and reduce your electricity bills. This will pay itself off over time, so a definite worthwhile purchase if you’re planning on staying in the residence long term. There are battery storage solutions now available, such as the Tesla Powerwall, but these still have long term return of investment (ROI), but if you purely believe in reducing your carbon footprint over ROI, this may be a viable decision for you to make.


3. Window Frames, Glazing and Shading

Smarter window design and external shading can make your home bright and comfortable all year round. Double glazing, which has become less expensive, will reduce heat losses from your home, and reduce heat gain through your windows in summer. Energy Efficient Windows can reduce heat losses through the window by up to 50 per cent compared to a single glazed window. Low-E glass is another popular alternative with benefits over standard single clear glazing without having to opt for double glazing expenditure in certain circumstances.


4. Insulation

Insulation is a one-off cost that will benefit the lifetime of your house. Insulating your home’s ceiling, walls and floors can save you up to 45 per cent on the cost of running your home.

Therefore, adding as much insulation as possible, while making sure it is installed correctly with no gaps and proper waterproofing, is a sound investment.

Often, an ordinary builder will only install what is required to achieve 6-Stars to meet the NCC minimum requirement. Only a Custom home builder will be able to provide you with the best advice for your upgrades. Speak with our Architect to gain the best solutions while maintaining an eye on the budget.


5. Draught Proofing your Home

Up to 25 per cent of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage, also known as draughts or uncontrolled ventilation.

Not all custom home builders will have this mindset or quality home supervision in mind during construction- this comes second nature to Weststyle.

To save money and energy by reducing air leakage:
ensure proper building techniques, including proper installation of insulation and sealing holes during construction
use good quality weather sealed external doors and windows
install self-closing extraction fans to cut heat loss
avoid downlights as they require holes in the ceiling and disturb the insulation, or use approved downlight covers to reduce the risk of fire and protect insulation


6. Ventilation

Building your home to reduce air leakage (uncontrolled ventilation) needs to be coupled with well controlled ventilation to replace used internal air. Both windows and exhaust fans can help control ventilation to maintain air quality while minimising air leakage.

Windows work best in bedrooms and living rooms, and exhaust fans work best in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, toilet and laundry, because they remove pollutants, odours and moisture.
Good ventilation, coupled with good building techniques, will ensure your home keeps your family healthy, saves you money and stays comfortable.


7. Zoning and Efficient Heating and Cooling

Designing zones in your home will allow you to efficiently heat and efficiently cool rooms individually. Doors are a great way to zone areas of your home, for example between corridors and bedrooms or living areas. This way you don’t need to spend money heating or cooling rooms that you are not using. Sliding doors will be less effective as they have large gaps in the recess, which allow the air to flow freely.


8. Energy Efficient Appliances

When choosing fridges, televisions, washing machines, dishwashers and so on, choose energy efficient appliances with the highest energy ratings. Even if you pay a little more for these appliances, they will save you money over time.


9. Water

Save water by considering water recycling systems and choosing water saving fittings and appliances.

Custom design homes & luxury home designs Perth WA also often incorporate rainwater harvesting solutions which we can easily incorporate into your custom home design ideas.

There are a plethora of options available to create an energy efficient and sustainable custom home in Perth WA. A custom home is the best option to achieve the ultimate energy saving outcome for your property while maintaining the best upgrade options suited to you with a keen eye on your budget.

Schedule a consultation with Weststyle’s custom home design team and build your dream home today.

Contact us to obtain references or view some of our custom home designs.