SUSTAINABILITY ARTICLE FOR THE WEEKENDER HERALD BY LIDDY DOLMAN OCTOBER 2013
‘DESIGNING YOUR SUSTAINABLE HOME – The Key Considerations’
So you have decided to build a new home, an exciting prospect and one that holds so many possibilities.
In this age of rising energy costs and resource depletion issues, it makes sense to make sustainability one of the important objectives on your list of criteria for your new home.
Sustainable homes require intelligent design, well thought out and detailed specification and a builder who is on the same page as your designer in respect to sustainability.
The key considerations are: Choosing your designer – This is the most important decision you will make so take the time to get it right. Do your research on Architects/Building Designers who specialize in sustainable/energy efficient building design. Short list and interview 2 or 3 and select a designer who is in line with your values and philosophies on the subject of sustainability. Orientation – Where possible, follow the principle of ‘living areas to the north and sleeping areas to the south’ Construction Materials – The choice of materials has as much to do with the thermal qualities and their environmental lifecycle as it does aesthetics so select materials that provide you with the right balance of all three. Insulation – It goes without saying that insulation of the roof, walls and flooring is an important factor in the thermal performance and ultimate comfort of the home. Zoning – Open space living may appeal to your aesthetic sensibility but balance that out with the challenges of heating and cooling the spaces. Ventilation – Configuration of the rooms and intelligently placed windows and doors can provide the ventilation required to greatly reduce the need for mechanical cooling devices during those hot summer months. Shading – Encourage your designer to take a holistic approach to the design of your home to incorporate the outside shading opportunities to improve the thermal performance of the building. Glazing – Would you willingly toss 30 percent of your energy dollars out the window? Surprisingly that is how much of a typical home’s heating and cooling is lost through its windows and doors. Put it on your list of queries for your designer. Heating and Cooling – This part is easier if you have addressed all the other key considerations successfully. Do the research and talk to the professionals with your acquired knowledge to find the right solution for your needs.
There is so much more we could discuss on this subject, but only so much space. Come and speak to us if you are keen to find out more.