With the onset of summer temperatures are increasing around Australia as is the need to stay cool at home, and Archicentre Australia says this can be achieved without the need to incur costly power bills.
The national architect’s advisory service says incorporating “passive solar design” principles freely available from natural site attributes into new-builds and home extensions or renovations is the ideal way to stay cool as the mercury rises.
These can even result in eliminating the need for costly air-conditioning, Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev says.
“The principles of energy efficiency have been with architects for centuries as they utilise natural site attributes to make the built form work more effectively and efficiently for the benefit of occupants.
“Passive solar siting and sustainable elements can be included in any dwelling, taking advantage of location, climate and site aspects.
“For residential sustainability, natural attributes can be enhanced in the design phase by zoning, orientation, shading, glazing, insulation, ventilation, construction materials and heating/cooling.”
Peter Georgiev says the simple and age-old design principles such as incorporating eaves and verandahs appear to have disappeared from today’s residential dwelling agenda, with lack of space given as a reason along with architectural aims of pursuing cubic and clipped built forms.
“Rather than size and cost being the driving forces of today’s approach to residential construction, these common-sense principles are just as important now as they were in traditional Australian homes.”
Eaves provide sun control to windows and walls minimising sun penetration into habitable and non-habitable spaces while also delivering rain water away from external walls.
Similarly, the use of verandahs was considered a necessity in most Australian homes built up until 50 years ago, particularly in the hotter parts of the country, as they prevented the sun from penetrating into buildings especially living areas.
Peter Georgiev says other simple features such as maximising built control of bulk insulation in light weight constructed walls, ceilings/roof and floors, and effective double-glazed systems, are devices that work for now and into the future.
“Externally, the design should consider attributes such as shade, climate and house orientation.
“Your Archicentre Australia design architect will consider in detail matters such as site orientation, people circulation, energy efficiency and sustainability, furnishing, cost and many other attributes.”
While these design principles should be incorporated into every Australian home, the Archicentre Australia director says there are other simple measures that can be implemented by all Australians to keep cool.
These include insulation, awnings, cross-ventilation and vegetation around the home.
With the majority of heat transferred through the roof, Peter Georgiev says effective roof insulation acts as a barrier to resist the transfer of heat into the building.
“Awnings or window hoods provide shading to glazing in summer, which can be invaluable when it is considered that a window being hit by the sun can give off as much heat as a radiator.
“Cross-ventilation can more effectively exchange hot air inside the home with cooler air from outside and this can be achieved by opening windows or doors to enable air to pass through the house from front to back or side to side. Clerestory windows can assist by means of the Venturi effect – sucking hot air out at height.”
He says the use of vegetation externally can help cool the house, as plants can be used to provide shade to walls and openings while the use of garden beds instead of paving reduces reflected sunlight.
“Plants transpiration can cool breezes as they pass through foliage, similar to the effects of evaporative cooling, and planting large trees to the west will help block the harsh afternoon sun.”
He concludes: “Rising power bills mean living in an energy efficient home has never been more important and the benefits extend beyond saving money on energy bills, including increased comfort, making homes more resilient to changing climates and raising the value of homes.”
For more information go to www.archicentreaustralia.com.au
This media release has been written and distributed by:
Peter Georgiev, Director
Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,
Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102
Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950