What is an energy efficient home? And why is that important? For many of us, talking about energy efficiency in your dream home isn’t one of the most thrilling parts of the building process, particularly when you could be choosing wall tiles for your bathroom or the cabinetry in your kitchen. But it should be! This important element of your design process is not just about energy consumption numbers and installing solar panels — by being clever in the design of your home, you’ll not only consume less energy and lower your bills, you’ll have a more comfortable home all year round. A more comfortable home equals healthier and happier occupants — and that’s exactly what you want!
At Hamlan, we have made it a priority to build more energy efficient homes, which is why we install the Bradford Solar ChargePark including Tesla Powerwall, with every home. We have also added double glazing as a standard inclusion. This is in addition to our adaptable floorplans that can really take advantage of your block’s orientation.
Hamlan draftsman Brodie Edge is Hamlan’s expert in energy efficiency and sustainable building design — an area he has been focusing on for the past two years. He says Hamlan is progressive compared to the majority of other large builders out there.
“We find that educating clients as to the positive effects of having an energy efficient home makes the decision a no brainer,” he says.
“We are finding a lot more clients are more conscious of their carbon footprint and are willing to go that bit further to build an energy efficient house. A lot of builders out there prefer to opt for the minimum requirements and focus on the ‘bling’ in the house.”
Energy efficiency in new homes
Did you know that all new homes need to meet an energy efficiency rating of six stars out of a possible 10? Which is why if you’re tossing up between building new or buying an existing home, building is the better option.
“Prior to 2006 there was no real minimum requirement that needed to be met,” Brodie says. “So an existing home is almost always starting off at a baseline and is quite expensive to fit items after the fact.
“Also prior to 2006 there was little emphasis on insulation, glazing or air tightness. Admittedly orientation was a large factor in building a house. Keeping this in mind the majority of houses built prior to 2006 would vary between 0-3 stars (energy usage = 700-300 mj/m²). The minimum rating for a dwelling in 2006 was 5 stars (energy usage = 180mj/m²). In 2011, the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme increased to a minimum of 6 stars (Approx. 135mj/m²).”
But why is all this important?
Brodie says that by focusing on passive solar design and combining all these elements, insulation, glazing, air tightness and orientation, you’ll reduce the need for heating and cooling. And if you go one step further and design a passive house — you could reduce running costs by 90 per cent.
“You’ll have a more comfortable home, improved sleep, proper ventilation (natural/mechanical), which helps with respiratory issues. Plus the correct orientation has an effect on sleep and mental health.”
How does Hamlan incorporate passive solar design into their homes?
Hamlan’s architecturally designed floorplans offer flexible designs that lend themselves to a passive solar designed home.
“Hamlan’s floor plans have been created to maximise the amount of solar heat gain living areas get and the zoning/grouping of spaces within the house,” he says “A lot of the plans have the adaptability of being able to flip living areas and bedrooms while maintaining the location of areas such as the garage to suit a range of orientations that blocks have.
“When presenting the plans in an early stage, a Hamlan new home consultant will offer the client not only the minimum required to meet 6 stars but will be able to show what level the house will be able to achieve if the client chooses to install a higher performing insulation or other elements that can improve its energy efficiency.”
Brodie says in addition to the standard double glazing and the Bradford Solar ChargePark including Tesla Powerwall, Hamlan’s standard homes reach the 6 stars regardless of the homes orientation. But he says there’s always areas where you can push your home’s rating higher.
“Depending on a lot of external factors you might be able to add a couple of stars by upgrading wall insulation, a couple more by upgrading roof insulation, a couple more by insulating the slab, furthermore by decreasing the size of windows on the south,” he says.
“You can also add shading to the east and west, increase glazing on the north, including ceiling fans to maximise air movement between zones. You can also upgrade to UPVC or timber windows and insulate internal walls to wet areas.
“Hamlan also tries to utilise the use of the electricity produced by installing an electric heat pump hot water service rather than a gas boosted solar hot water system, which still requires the use of the mains gas supply to heat water.”
These are all elements that you can speak to your new home consultant about early on in the planning process.
At Hamlan, we build energy efficient homes that keep its occupants comfortable all year round. In addition, an energy efficient home will keep costs down by requiring less heating and cooling.
Hamlan does this by:
- Offering architecturally designed, flexible floorplans that maximise the amount of solar heat gain that can be gained in living areas and zoned or grouped spaces within the home. Hamlan’s floorplans also have the adaptability of flipping the living areas and bedrooms while maintaining the location of areas such as the garage to suit a range of orientations that blocks have.
- Including double glazing and the Bradford Solar ChargePark including Tesla Powerwall as part of its standard inclusions.
- New home consultants present plans at an early stage that show how the design meets the six-star minimum but also how the home can perform even better.
By building an energy efficient Hamlan home, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and guarantee yourself a more comfortable home for a healthier and happier life!