Everyone wants their brand new home to be comfortable, but Tasmania is a state of extremes. From single digit temperatures (and even less sometimes!) during the winter to the occasional day in the high 30's or even low 40's. Ensuring your home is an enjoyable place to live can be a challenge. Read on to discover what you can do to make your home as energy efficient as possible and a place you want to be in.
Insulating your home is the primary way to ensure your home is comfortable all year round. From keeping the warmth inside during the cooler months to keeping the heat out during the warmer periods, using the right insulation dramatically impacts the temperature within your home.
Glass wool insulation is the most common form of insulation used in Australia. There are various other forms as well including (but not limited to) rockwool (yes it is made as a by-product of molten rock. For those interested in technology search YouTube for videos on how rockwool is made. It blew my mind the first time I saw it), wool, polyester and reflective. The types of bulk insulation (excludes reflective forms) are generally formed in to batts of varying thicknesses and widths. However, they are generally designed to be fitted between the studs in your walls and joists in your ceiling or floor. The insulation not only provides temperature control but noise reduction as well.
A type of other insulation used is a combination reflective and bulk insulation commonly referred to as builders blanket. This type of insulation is laid over the roof battens and underneath the roofing sheets. This product helps immensely with condensation control as well as providing noise reduction especially in those stormy nights! An added benefit of this product is increased protection from bushfire ember attack. It is used as one element to meeting any bushfire requirements for your new home.
Windows and Doors
The next major element in a home for heat loss or gain is through the windows and doors. The larger the window or door, the more heat loss or gain will be attributed. The orientation of the window will also affect the performance. North facing windows in to living rooms are the ideal scenario as these will be more susceptible to receiving all day sun. But what about during the summer months when you want to keep the house cool? Larger eaves, awnings and shutters are all options to keep the sun off the windows and the heat out of the home.
Windows and doors have two different statistics to rate the window. U-Value and SHGC. The U-Value is related to the amount of heat a window can transfer. Where as the SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) is related to the amount of solar radiation a window will allow to be transferred inside. In the cooler climate of Tasmania, you want a window with a low U-Value and a high SHGC.
Double glazed windows and doors typically have a lower U-Value than single glazed doors. They are also great for noise minimisation. Putting greater air gaps between the two panes of glass also increase the efficiency of the window. There are also windows that put different forms of gas within the window cavity to increase the efficiency. There are so many different window manufacturers and different ways of manufacturing the windows that there is never a one size fits all scenario.
R - Rating - What is this?
No, it's not a movie that you don't want your kids to be watching!. In easy to understand terms, an R value is a measure of the resistance to heat flow through a piece of material. In very basic terms, the thicker the product is, the more resistance to heat transfer there will be. When looking at insulation batts for example, an R6.0 batt will be considerably thicker than a R1.5 batt.
When looking at the overall energy efficiency of a home the total R value of the wall, roof and floor is assessed. This will mean that the different combinations of wall cladding can impact the total heat resistance of the home. Many suppliers of various cladding types provide different scenarios showing the total R value of the wall system, providing greater options for the end consumer, you. The same applies to different roof construction and floor styles.
Recently that Australian Government has introduced a common way of measuring the energy efficiency of a home. This is measured on a scale of 1 to 10 and is referred to as a star rating. The National House Energy Rating Scheme (NATHERS) governs how a star rating is calculated. This organisation accredits various software providers that produce software to measure the energy efficiency of a home.
It is a requirement in Tasmania that all homes be assessed using an accredited method. This is most commonly done by utilising software that looks at the design of the home, the orientation, the forms of insulation used, the claddings, the windows and doors and what forms of heat escape may exist (flues, downlights etc). By plugging in the various factors a rating can then be produced. Tasmania has as a minimum 6 star requirement.
Energy Efficient Homes by Rainbow
Rainbow Building Solutions use double glazed windows as standard. All of our homes are already rated to at least a 6 star energy rating, meaning that there are no extras depending on the siting of the house. We are one of the state leaders when it comes to energy efficient homes and are in constant communication with the varying suppliers of energy efficient products.
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