Chilly winters and searing summers in the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney can land householders with expensive bills for heating and cooling. If you are building a new home you will have the opportunity to look at ways to maximise energy efficiency and help reduce your heating, cooling and water bills.
Three things to keep in mind to make your home a comfortable and affordable place year round:
- Thermal mass – Thermal mass is a measure of how efficiently materials absorb and store heat energy. High-density materials like concrete, cavity brick walls and tiles have a high thermal mass, which means it takes a lot of heat energy to change their temperature. In summer these high-density materials gradually absorb heat, storing it until the evening when the air is cooler outside. In winter they absorb the heat from north facing windows and release it back into the building as the overnight temperature drops. By combining these materials with more lightweight materials inside the home (like timber and plasterboard) the room will be able to warm up and reduce the temperature quicker and more efficiently.
- Windows – In winter up to 40% of heat in your home can escape through your windows. In order to make the most of your energy spend look for the WERS energy rating on windows. This rating provides useful information about how well these windows retain heat as well blocking external heat from entering. Skylights are terrific for brightening up dark spaces in your home however they can turn a room into a greenhouse in summertime. Try to build into your budget money for skylights that open to release heat from the room in the hot months of the year. Double-glazing has been used in European countries and the UK for many years and is very effective at helping to reduce the amount of heat that disappears through the window.
- Window coverings can play a large part in keeping heating/cooling costs to a minimum. When ordering curtains and blinds look for those that will keep your rooms cool in summer and help to retain heat in winter. External awnings and shutters can also provide a good way to regulate the amount of heat entering a home in summer and allowing the sunshine in to warm the house in winter.
If you are looking to build in Blue Mountains, Penrith and surrounding areas contact the staff at Woodford Homes to discuss your building needs.