Energy efficient

Buying or building a home is usually the single biggest financial investment most people make.
And with rising energy prices becoming a real concern it makes a lot of sense to build a house which uses that expensive commodity in the most efficient manner possible.
It also makes sense to reduce the base energy needs of a home by taking advantage of the free energy provided every day by the sun.
Days like the Sustainable House Day – held across Australia on September 16 and featuring a number of Hills homes – are a great opportunity for prospective home builders or owners to educate themselves about the simple design changes they can make to a conventional home to make it far cheaper to run … and a much more pleasurable place to inhabit.
This is not the domain of the wind chime, mung bean, kaftan wearing fraternity.
The advantages of living in an energy smart house have become clear to many more “mainstream” members of the community.
The beauty is that wiping thousands of dollars off a home’s annual energy bill can cost very little.
Simple design changes such as orienting the home to face north and having large windows on that side to let in the winter sun can make a massive difference.
Other tips like not having windows facing west to avoid the blistering afternoon summer sun and allowing for significant cross ventilation from south to north to allow in the cool summer evening breezes need not add significantly to the overall building cost, but can save you plenty.
Having a solid concrete slab to absorb the energy from the sun and release it into the home as the temperature cools means entering a smart home on a winter afternoon feels like walking into a house with the heater on.
In reality it has been … but the heater is the sun – and it’s completely free.
Such advantages are available to all new home owners who are willing to spend a few hours educating themselves.
Of course, not all housing blocks are ideal to take full advantage of the sun. If so, don’t buy it.
It is important to note the resale value of an energy efficient house is likely to outstrip the initial extra investment … and they’re much nicer places in which to live.