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Whether you are designing a new home from scratch or simply making renovations to help you become more energy efficient, here are some of the ways your home’s design can affect its energy efficiency.
If you are constructing an entirely new dwelling or even making an addition, one bonus you will have is in choosing the location and orientation of your construction.
This can affect the amount of power you will need to heat your home as you could select an area where there is plenty of unblocked sunlight to warm your home in the winter and minimise overheating in summer.
North-facing windows get the most sun in winter but are easy to cover up in the summer to keep your home cool, reducing the amount of temperature control you will require.
A north facing orientation will also help maximise the efficiency of a solar water heater as these are able to produce more energy when the tubes are in direct sunlight.
Shape and space
A square building has less heat loss per square metre than a rectangular building of the same size as there is a smaller wall area.
When deciding on the plans, see if you can make use of the space more efficiently by reorganising what you already have rather than adding extra additions.
A smaller house is going to be easier to keep cool in summer and warm in winter so they will use less energy.
Choosing energy efficient appliances
Renovating may be the perfect chance to upgrade your appliances to newer models that use less power and less hot water.
Even though once you have that hot water system installed you will not need to worry about running out of hot water!
Efficient washing machines, dishwashers and water-saving showerheads can help to lower your power bills – as well as your carbon footprint!
Remember, if you use all the water in your tank, your household will revert back to water heated by electricity, so the less you use, the cheaper your bills will be.
Aim to use the sun to heat as much of the water you use as possible and you will use less electricity and reduce your impact on the environment.
Windows and doors lose more heat than walls, particularly if the walls are insulated. If you have children and pets who frequently walk in and out of your doors, it could be worth installing a vestibule with an inner door to keep the heated air in during winter and chilled air from escaping in summer.
Your windows are best placed in the direction that best allows them to capture the warmth of the sun and should be glazed as this can reduce the amount heat escaping.
It is also essential to have shading such as curtains or blinds in the summer to protect from the sun and provide protection from the harsher elements in the winter.
Your outdoor area should also be included in your plans when you think about creating a more energy efficient space.
When making landscaping decisions, ensure any nearby plants will not not grow overhead and create unnecessary shading, as this could prevent your solar hot water system from heating at its peak.
An evacuated tube solar hot water system is a great way to ensure you are using the sun to heat your water, but you need to make sure the tubes can receive adequate amounts of sunshine!
Apricus solar collectors are extremely resilient, and are rated to 1″ (25mm) hail stones, but consideration should also be taken toward falling branches/debris from trees when designing your home’s landscape, as these can prevent these systems operating to their maximum efficiency.
Evergreen plants can provide shelter from winds and strong sunlight and have minimal leaf fall in autumn so you will still be able to reap the benefits of constant hot water heated by the sun.
You may also want to allow space in your outdoor area for a washing line so the sun can dry your clothes as well as heat your water.
Remember, Apricus are here to support you throughout your home design process, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your individual needs when installing a solar hot water system in your home or business.