Building a new house in Melbourne? There are plenty of ways to optimise your home, starting before you even choose your block of land. We’ve compiled a list of the five most important factors to consider when building that will ensure your home is energy-efficient and as sustainable as possible.
Reduce your impact on the environment and save money in the long run with these energy-saving, sustainable building practices and products.
5 Steps To Build an Energy-Efficient House in Melbourne
Location, Orientation, & Design
Building a sustainable home in Melbourne starts with the site, the orientation of the home, and the design process. The ideal build site would be one that’s relatively flat and has low exposure to harsh weather. A big factor to consider is solar access. If you can, choose a site that is in full sun for most of the day.
House orientation is all about harnessing cool breezes, avoiding intense heat in summer, and harvesting sunlight. Solar panels generally collect the most light on a direct southern-facing roof. In the southern hemisphere, your cool breezes will generally come from the north-east. Make sure you discuss house orientation with your builder and designer to make the most of your build site.
Another thing to discuss with your designer is the flow-through of the house. Are you making the most of natural cooling and heating? You can design your home to capture breezes and allot extra shade to areas that will be exposed to intense heat throughout summer. Discuss your options with your designer to make the most of your environment.
In Australia, we’re fortunate enough to have plenty of sun year-round. This makes solar a great option for sustainable energy. Solar panels can power everything in your home, from lighting and air conditioning to your electric appliances and even your hot water system.
While installing solar panels can be expensive, there are often government rebates in place to encourage sustainable energy. Check with your local government before you purchase as you may be able to save hundreds if not thousands on your install.
Insulation, Glazing, & Shading
Want your home to be cool in summer and warm in winter without running the air conditioning non-stop? Insulation, glazing, and shading can play a big part in maintaining a comfortable temperature year-round.
Quality roof and wall insulation will effectively block out heat in summer and trap in warmth in winter. In saying this, having poorly insulated windows and doors will essentially act as a hole in your insulated wall. To combat this, you can generally go one of two routes. First, glazing and insulated windows are always an option. If you would like to have warming sun stream through during winter and be able to block it out in summer, perhaps go with simple shading and screening solutions.
In the height of summer and depths of winter, you may not be able to avoid using air conditioning. In these instances, there are ways to keep your home as cool or as warm as possible while using minimal energy to do so.
First, ensure there are no draughts or air leakage. Aside from making sure all your doors and windows are relatively airtight, this can be done by using solid doors to close off zones in your house as opposed to sliding doors or open hallways. You can then heat or cool specific, closed in areas of your home without wasting energy on heating or cooling a large space.
Try to choose energy efficient-cooling and heating systems. Discuss these options with air conditioning experts who are aware of your climate needs.
Lighting & Appliances
Lastly, even the smallest details such as your lighting and appliance fixtures can impact the sustainability and energy-efficiency of your home. There are plenty of energy-efficient appliances on the market that will save you power. Installing energy-efficient lighting not only uses less energy but will also last you longer than regular bulbs. To avoid using lighting altogether, make the most of natural light throughout your home.
These five areas only cover the basics when it comes to building an energy-efficient house in Melbourne. A good builder and designer will be able to guide you through sustainable choices for your home. Contact Us to set up a meeting with a qualified builder in Melbourne, or check out our Blog for more building tips.