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Building energy-efficient housing – Top Ten Tips

  1. Choose an architect who understands the design of low-efficiency homes
  • Ensure builders understand the low energy goals of your home
  • Choose a businessman with knowledge and experience in energy efficiency
  • Keep in mind that many architects/builders do not exceed minimum building standards and regulations, but the minimum is not the most effective.
  • Minimize heat loss:
    • Keep your home plan simple and compact – Compact and unextending houses will reduce heat loss due to reduced façade and roof area. Keep in mind that single-storey homes like bungalows are more likely to dissipate heat through the roof than houses on two or three floors, and the heat of the house will gradually increase before reaching the roof.
    • The exterior wall should have a high level of insulation
    • Ensure good control ventilation and wind protection
    • Your architect can provide energy calculations for the expected annual fuel costs
  • Maximize your solar heat gain:
    • Built along the east-west axis – an energy-efficient house will capture free energy from the sun to heat your home and water. Ideally, choose a place where the house can face the sun [external blinds can prevent overheating in summer] and avoid prevailing winds.
    • Houses in the northern hemisphere should be located on most windows on the south side, windows on the north side are reduced in size, and vice versa, houses in the southern hemisphere – most windows should face the sun side to benefit from solar gain. However, some windows must be on a non-sunny side to provide good daylight in all rooms in your home.
    • The kitchen and breakfast room are mainly used in the morning, so for the houses in the northern hemisphere, the morning sun will be used in the southeast. For houses in the southern hemisphere, the northeast will use the morning sun.
    • The lobby, stairs and bathroom are located on the under-sun side because of the lower frequency of use.
    • Find the living room and master bedroom in the sun-facing place
    • Consider making your bedroom on the lower floor [cool sleep] and your living room on the upper floor to further reduce your heating needs in a two-story house because of the warmth upstairs
    • Use the energy of the sun
      • Wind turbines can make full use of wind power
      • Heat pump uses solar energy – all renewable energy systems are complementary to energy efficient residential design
  • Install energy efficient heating and hot water systems:
    • Renewable energy system
    • solar water heaters
    • If using gas or oil, use a condensing boiler
    • Install easy-to-use controls

    For more information on these, please visit the Home Heating System and Solutions website.

  • Consider thermal mass
    • When considering energy efficient homes, keep in mind that using certain materials will also improve heat quality. Your house can absorb the sun's heat slowly during the day and then slowly release it at night – the common materials used for thermal mass are:
      • Adobe bricks [soil or clay bricks]
      • Rock and stone
      • Concrete from

        Best use of stone concrete ]

      This is because they have:

      • High specific heat – able to store large amounts of heat for long periods of time, such as hot bricks in the sauna
      • High density – basically weight [ from

        Piece Material related to its volume [ from

        Its size ] – the greater the mass per unit volume, the greater the density

      • Low thermal conductivity – slow absorption and slow release of heat
    • Thermal mass is not insulation, it is the specific heat that can be stored in the material [water has a high thermal mass by being able to store a large amount of heat]. The insulating material has a lower thermal conductivity to limit the flow and absorption of heat.
  • Insulation
    • The percentage of heat loss in a house is approximately:
      • 42% of the roof
      • IE browser
      • 12% unobstructed chimney and tow around the door
      • 24% of the wall
      • 10% floor
    • Therefore, when considering the construction of energy-efficient homes, it is the easiest and cheapest way to improve the energy efficiency of the home by installing insulation materials during the construction phase.
      • You can upgrade standard wood frame walls with 140mm studs instead of 90mm studs – this will make you more insulated. The masonry cavity walls can be improved by filling polystyrene insulation foam and using lightweight thermal blocks.
      • You should have at least 250 mm of attic insulation, 100 mm of insulation between the joists and 150 mm of insulation on top. Attic conversion requires special attention, especially if a skylight is installed, but high standards of insulation can still be achieved.
      • The heat loss of the floor varies depending on the type of floor. However, the underlying insulation is easy. A 125 mm polystyrene layer/sheet is typically used, which will increase if underfloor heating is applied to minimize heat loss.
      • Ensure insulation overlap between components, for example, between walls and attic/roof cavities
      • Ensuring that air gaps such as wall cavities have no debris that may be bridged, thereby damaging the insulating air gap
      • Ensure that the fiber insulation is not compressed [tightly packed] as this will ensure its ability to properly insulate
      • Ensure that all insulation is kept dry
      • Be sure to seal water pipes and gas pipes into all the holes in your home.
  • Windows and Music Academy
    • You will always lose more heat through windows rather than walls, especially single-pane windows. In order to reduce the heat lost through the windows, Low-E' all new homes should be fitted with double glazing.
    • Double glazing not only reduces heat loss, but also provides some sound insulation. For double glazing, the two panels are typically vacuum sealed. However, if you can afford it, you can get argon-filled devices [inflated] and triple-glazed, which are worth considering.
    • The greenhouse can save a little energy by capturing heat from the sun as a buffer between adjacent walls, thereby reducing the heat loss of the room separated by adjacent walls. In order to be effective, the greenhouse should be located on the side of the house facing the sun, preferably not covered by trees or other buildings.
    • A properly placed greenhouse should not require any permanent heating, but doors that separate the house from the greenhouse should be double glazed and closed when not in use.
  • Efficient home heating
    • A well-insulated house is a low-energy house, which means that energy-efficient homes require less heating than similar homes with poor insulation.
    • Your heating system should take into account:
      • Fuel source and availability
      • The time you will spend at home – fast or slow response system
      • Building materials – Wood-framed houses should have responsive heating, such as radiators or air heat pumps, because wood retainers have less heat than concrete, such as
      • Floor heating systems are not suitable for houses built from lightweight building materials such as wood frames because of their slower heating response
    • You can use a hydraulic floor heating [wet or water based] system in combination with a radiator. These are usually designed for floor heating downstairs and radiators located upstairs.
    • The solid screed flooring is ideal for floor heating. If you prefer softer floor coverings instead of tiles, you should consider using carpets instead of carpets for better heat transfer/output in the room.
    • Renewable energy systems, such as heat pumps and solar heating, are ideal for energy efficient residential design.
  • Ventilation
    • Ventilation is an important aspect that cannot be ignored because it provides fresh air and removes stale air and moisture. Remove moisture from pregnant bacteria and maintain a healthy living environment.
    • The kitchen must have an exhaust fan or passive stack ventilation [PSV]. The working principle of PSV is "rise". The warm air carries the old air in and out.
    • A mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery does provide filtered air and reduces noise interference as the windows remain closed. However, unless you use a renewable energy system such as photovoltaic [PV] or wind turbines, the power required to run the fan is characteristic of an energy efficient home. Moreover, in order for the heat recovery system to work effectively, the house must be well sealed.
    • All rooms should have turbulent ventilation – allowing air to enter at a turbulent rate to provide the required indoor air change rate [ACH] per hour.
  • Lighting and appliances
    • These should be low energy [low wattage], save operating costs, and help the planet by reducing CO 2 emission.

    So now you can save the planet and save on operating costs by building energy efficient homes.

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