Energy efficient home designing
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energy efficient home design by the butterfly
ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME DESIGN
Running a home requires huge amounts of energy, but do we ever stop and think about where this energy comes from?
The problem that we all face is that the energy that we use to run our homes today will only last for so long.
Fortunately, we are blessed with free and natural resources for our energy if we but choose to use them.
This article covers different ways that we can use our natural resources for more energy efficient living.
Most people choose styles and features of homes that they have previously lived in when purchasing or designing a new home, but this is not necessarily the wisest choice.
Up until the last few years, most architects and builders, have not been particularly environmentally conscious and, given a block of land, the home was placed onto it without much thought of where it would gain most benefit from our natural resources.
Thank goodness, this has changed dramatically and we can now have the home that we have always wanted but remain environmentally conscious while doing so.
When building your home, you need to address the following:
Window shade is an extremely important part of building an environmentally friendly home and a home which is going to be comfortable for your family year round.
Awnings on windows are a great way to go and can be had in many natural fabrics, waterproofed if you wish and lots of great colours.
They are very easy to use and give excellent coverage in the warmer months.
Another product that has become very popular is window glazing.
Glazing will keep the direct sun out, while still enabling the warmth to filter through.
MAKE THE BEST OF THE NATURAL LIGHT
There is nothing more depressing than a cold, dark home. If you are looking to build or buy an existing home, make sure that there will be large amounts of glass along the northern walls. This will give you the maximum range of natural light and by placing your living areas along these walls you will be using the natural light to your best advantage.
COOL SHADED AREAS AROUND THE HOME
We all like to be able to get outside in summer and enjoy the fresh air but it is important to be able to enjoy it in comfort.
If building a new home, take into account the need for an area out of the sun and incorporate a deck or verandah along the side so that you can relax with family and friends.
A fully covered area is the best way to go as the breeze can blow through this area and keep it a little bit cooler.
THE SUN’S ENERGY
The sun’s energy can be used for so many things, to power our homes, to warm our home and keep it at a comfortable temperature, to heat our water and even to power our outdoor lighting. By designing your home with a little bit more thought, you can take advantage of all these things without a major financial outlay.
NUMBER OF BEDROOMS
Take a look at your family’s needs today. You may have two children who are only quite young and they are the only people in the home beside you and your partner.
If you are building, you are probably building for the long term and do not anticipate moving for at least fifteen to twenty years.
As children grow, they need more space to branch out, maybe have a drum set or an organ and cannot put all these things into their own rooms. They will also be wanting friends over for the night so a spare room (or even two if you can afford it) will never go astray.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LIVING SPACES
If you are having a home designed for you, make sure that the designer is aware of your need for open living spaces. Little rooms, all separated from each other down a long hall used to be the way that homes were designed but with the way that we like to live today, open areas are much more practical, acceptable and in demand.
The best type of bathroom for the sustainable home is the three-way bathroom as it can be used to greater advantage by all in the home. If the budget affords it, an en-suite (at least a second toilet is essential in a home if you have two or more children).
DESIGNING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
While your home sits within the boundaries of your land the impact that it makes on the environment goes far beyond the gates.
Thinking in an environmentally sensitive way can help to make this impact as minimal as possible.
REDUCE YOUR USE OF RESOURCES
• Buy local where possible
• Recycle all waste
• Choose building materials and furniture that will last.
BUILDING MATERIALS AND FURNITURE
Many common materials such as paints, textiles and furnishings that contain, Styrene, resins and glues may give off harmful fumes.
Check with the supplier before purchasing, as to what kind of information there is on each of the products that you plan to use, health wise.
Use natural materials wherever possible: wool, jute, stone, rubber, cork etc.
Use solid wood over chipboard – either recycled or from sustainable plantations.
REDUCE YOUR USE OF ENERGY
• Use energy-efficient appliances
• Use passive design features
• Choose a home or block from where you can use public transport, walk or ride.
The best way to purchase energy efficient appliances is to go to your appliance store and look for the Energy Rating Label.
This label gives a simple star rating to show how energy efficient an appliance is. These star ratings can be found on most refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and air conditioners.
Higher star rating, more energy efficient the appliance will be.
Gai Evans is an Interior Design Consultant
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