There are many good reasons to change the current construction method for new homes. Fuel prices went through the roof over the last decade, and it has never been as important as it is now to design energy saving features into houses wherever we can. Everyone agrees that the energy we consume is harmful to the planet, so we must do something about it.
If you are about to undertake a self-build, you should look at the plans to see if there is anything you can do to improve the energy efficiency. It isn’t as hard as you might at first think. Here are a few ideas you might find useful.
The orientation of the house is vital. You might want to use the roof for power generation, in which case it must face the sun throughout the day. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the roof will get the most sun if it faces south. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true.
Most passive homes have huge windows or glazed walls. The glass allows solar radiation to warm the building even when it is cold outside. Think about using Solartex film to tint the windows if the room gets too hot.
Wherever there is an outside door, build an airlock system. When someone comes in from outside, they should enter a small hallway. Only when they close the outside door should they open a second one and enter the house. By using this system, you limit the amount of hot or cool air that you lose through the front door.
Install double or triple glazed windows for the best energy saving performance. Triple glazing is suitable for icy climates so it will perform better wherever you are. Modern uPVC frames have excellent thermal properties and draught proofing too.
It is vital that you insulate the new home well. It will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A heavily insulated building often Only needs the body heat of the people living there to heat it. Here’s a couple of areas to concentrate on.
- The Loft. Forget all about the recommended thickness for loft insulation and work on the rule that extra layers will save heat loss. If you have room up there, keep adding layers of whatever product you decide to use until it is a metre thick, or even more. If you can stop heat escaping through the roof, you will use less energy to keep the house warm. It is as simple as that.
- The Walls. Build insulation into the walls as you construct the house. Whatever the method of construction, there is a product to insulate them. As with the loft, the thicker the insulation, the better.
When you are happy with the efficient design of your home, think about generating your own power. Solar panels are expensive, but they will pay for themselves over time.
When you include these elements, they will work for you through the decades to come. That has to be beneficial for you and your family.