Researching & Designing your Sustainable Home.

By Flynn Skerke-Erwin

What insulation do you use?

Insulation is a material or a combination of materials that limits the amount of heat being transfered through an object. Some examples of insulation is the roofs colour, ceiling insulation, cavity wall insulation, heavy curtains, double glazing and concreate block insulation.

Lighter coloured roofs reflect the most heat and limits the heat transmitting through the material. Ceiling insulation such as fibreglass batts and loose rockwool, contain pockets of air that provide insulation. Cavity wall insulation is a foam that is sprayed inbetween the inside and the outside of the wall to reduce heat transfer. Heavy curtains trap air inside them. Double gazing is the use of two sheets of glass in windows. The air is trapped between the windows. Concreate block insulation is similar to double gazing, it traps air in the walls.

Will you use for electricity? What type of electrical appliances will you use?

In a energy efficient house the energy you would normally use is solar power, wind power and water power. Solar power is orbited through UV rays from the sun during the day. During day the power is stored up, a bit of the power is used during the day and the rest is used during the night. Solar power is probably (in my opinion) the best type of electricity to use for an energy efficient home. I believe this because if there is no wind during the day wind mills won't be able to produce wind power. If there is a drought water power won't be able to work because there is no water. Solar power keeps on going because the sun is always producing UV rays, the solar panels draw and attract UV rays. Also unlike water power and wind power solar power makes no noise at all. Electrical appliances you should use if you are building an energy efficient home is energy saving light bulbs and energy saving washing machines etc.

How will you make sure your home is water-efficient?

Water is not just precious, but very important in everyday life. Showers, washing machines, dishes and most importantly drinking. We all need water to live, but there is only a certain amount of it in this world. Everyday there is less and less water on the earth so we need to build water efficient houses to slow down the rate of water loss. Some ideas and appliances water efficient houses use is greywater system and rainwater storage tanks. The greywater system is a system which enables you to re-use greywater from your home, reusing water that would normally be lost. Rainwater storage tanks are tanks that store rainwater and is then used in water appliances. Rainwater is mainly used for showers, taps and washing machines, these are the main and maybe only appliances that use rainwater. This is because the water is not purified so it wouldn't be recommended as drinking water. Another way to have a water efficent house is to install a water efficent shower head. This gadget works by reducing the amount of water over time coming through the shower head if you are taking a long shower.

How will you allow for convection and air flow?

To allow for air convection and air flow in an energy efficient home you should install an air vent. For this to be most effective the air vent should be installed near the celling. The reason for this is because warm oxygen is much lighter then cooler oxygen, therefore heat rises and cold lowers, or drops. Another way to allow convection and air flow in a energy efficient house is to rise the celling. The reason behind this is the higher the celling is the higher the heat will rise. Keeping the lower part of the house cooler.

How will you orientate your house?

Depending on the climate you are building your house in depends on which way you face the house. If you are living in a cool climate it is best that you face you living room, kitchen and bedroom North, North West or West for warmth. Since we are in the Southern Hemisphere the sun still rises in the east and sets in he west but the sun is on an angle going a bit closer to the North. The suns rays would beam into your home keeping it warm. If you are in a warmer climate you should face your house East, South East, or South to keep your house cool.

How will you design your garden to incorporate shade?

Ways to design your garden so it incorporate shade is to plant deciduous trees. deciduous trees leaves fall off during winter and grow during summer, allowing shade in summer to keep the house cool and sunlight during winter to keep the house warm. Another way to design a garden to incorporate shade is to plant trees near your main rooms like the living room or the kitchen. It will keep the house cool during summer but would not keep the house warm in winter (although some trees can, like the deciduous trees).

Any other ideas you have?

Some ideas I have is to use left over bath water to water plants, turn sprinklers off when it is raining, have a quick 1 to 2 minute shower and also open windows to let the cool air in when it's summer to save energy instead of turning the aircon on or the fans.

What size windows and doors will you have?

The size of your windows in you house does effect the overall temperature. Study shows that homes which are built in cool climates generally have smaller windows reducing heat leaving the house. This is because heat particles move a lot faster then cooler particles. The heat particles are attracted to cooler particles therefore they move through materials to get to the cooler particles. Energy (Including heat and cool energy) have a harder time transmitting through solid objects, and have an easier time transmitting through glass. So if you were living in a cool climate you should build a house with small windows preventing heat escaping and in warmer climates build a house with big windows to let the heat escape.


Transferring and transforming energy, (2013) Viewed 10 November 2013. Page 330.

Transferring and transforming energy, (2013) Viewed 11 November 2013. Page 329.

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