There are many wonderful things about Australia. Unfortunately the traditional home design isn’t one of them when it comes to energy efficiency.
A passive solar design which makes the most of the sun’s heat in winter but blocks it out in summer, is ideal but if you’re stuck with what you’ve got, then here’s how to keep the cold out of your home and keep your power bills to a minimum.
The easiest step is to weather seal your home – prevent air from leaking in or out though gaps and cracks.
“According to Sustainable Living Guide, weather proofing your house is important as draughts can account for up to 25 per cent of heat loss from a home in winter,” Peter Doyle, National Business Manager, Cowdroy Australia said.
Places to target are the jambs, faces or edges of doors and windows. You can get seals to eliminate draughts, dust, rain, light and sound, and you can also use a gap filler around door architraves and along skirting boards.
Or you can go all out and install the right windows, doors and furnishings.
“Windows are one of the most critical elements that contribute to the temperature inside the home,” Christine Evans, Marketing Director at Stegbar said, recommending double glazing.
“The sealed air (or gas filled) gap between the two panes of glass acts as an added layer of insulation. This extra insulation lessens your reliance on heaters, ultimately reducing your energy bills and improving your home’s energy rating.”
If your budget doesn’t extend to replacing your windows, then look at your window furnishings.
“Insulation is key to maintaining room temperatures, and a few small changes can help your home be more energy efficient and keep bills down,” Jenny Brown, National Marketing Manager for Luxaflex Window Fashions said.
As well as preventing heat from escaping, insulating window coverings can help regulate the warmer temperatures of the day.
“During the day, your windows let in more radiant energy than gets out; sunlight can enter through the glass, but the window is opaque to the infrared radiation trying to escape,” she said, adding that closing the blinds at dusk is ideal.
You can also buy doors that incorporate sealed frames, such as Corinthian Doors’ Enviroseal.
Athina Solomou, director of marketing at Corinthian Doors, believes that doors and frames shouldn’t be an afterthought from a design and energy efficiency view.
“Drafts from around doors can account for a quarter of heating and cooling bills, so it’s worth spending the extra money on solid doors and frames which seal effectively.”