Designing a sustainable house [Quick Tips]
Phyllis, April 2015
A home is only as sustainable as the way it’s used. Who wouldn’t want a house that enables them to live more sustainably when it’s good for the environment AND the hip pocket? But there’s a lot more to creating a sustainable house than energy-efficient appliances and choosing fans over air conditioning. According to architect Craig Taylor, it all starts with design.
Think sustainably“When an architect sets out to design a sustainable house, they know they can control the design and the fabric, but they can’t control how the building is to be used,” Craig says. “Your building may be the most efficient building ever built, but if you leave windows open in winter, your heating costs will be high. If you use inefficient appliances, your bills will be high. If you run an air conditioner every day, irrespective of the temperature, guess what? – your bills will be high.” Craig says it is important to seek advice from your architect about which appliances, taps, toilets etc are the best to use. “The star rating labels tell you how much power an appliance uses or you can go to the government website energyrating.gov.au and compare appliances. With this information, you can calculate how much money you can save over a year of use.” Then there’s the building. “A well designed house does not need to be air conditioned, which will save you a lot of money,” Craig says. “Ceiling fans are significantly cheaper to run and, if they are reversible, then in winter they will push the rising hot air back down again, saving on your heating costs.
Be aware of your energy use“Another saving area is to be aware of what energy you are paying for. Does your home have an army of red lights on when you go to bed? All of those devices in standby mode are still using energy. Not a lot, but you are still paying for it, so turn them off when not being used.
[Tweet "The best designed home will only be energy efficient if you are energy efficient."] "Work with your architect and discuss ‘how’ you live and together you will create a sustainable house that is efficient and cost effective.”Craig Taylor’s architecture is known for blending natural environments with sustainable home design. More information: www.redblue.com.au.