It’s simple math, really, the higher the energy efficiency rating on a home, the less the power bill.
Although, the standard energy efficiency rating many new homes strive to achieve is 6 Stars, obtaining 8 Stars is easier than people may think, and research have proven that an 8 star home performs much better.
“8 stars is actually simple to achieve in our climate because it is so sunny. Even though it is cold in winter we still get that lovely sunshine,” says Award Winning Light House Architecture & Science director and lead scientist, Jenny Edwards.
Light house designs and renovates homes across Canberra, with a focus on sustainability through fusing architecture and science to achieve a higher-than-average energy efficiency rating on their projects.
“The main things we do to achieve an eight-star rating is orienting the house right – point it north in order to soak up that free warmth over winter, but ensuring the house is well-shaded over summer,”
Below are a few tips from Light House Architecture & Science (LHAS):
- The house should be insulated really well, and the building envelope must be relatively air-tight.
- Windows are also key to the building envelope and double-glazing is a must.
- The size of the windows are also important.
“Just because a wall faces north, doesn’t mean the whole thing should be glass, particularly in our climate, because although the windows will soak up the warmth as soon as the sun disappears you lose all that warmth.”
Jenny advises that smaller homes produce better energy efficiency.
“A lot of people don’t realise that energy efficiency rating is based off square metre, which means you can build a 300-square-metre home and although it is eight-star, it means you are using that amount of energy on every square metre,” she says.
Focusing on doing smaller houses, enables LHAS to not only ensure they are 8 stars, but they also use less energy per square metre.
“A lot of people don’t realise an 8 star house is predicted to require half as much energy for heating and cooling as that of a six-star,”
Light House clients seeking a home that was “small, smart and energy efficient” have experienced first-hand the benefits of lower energy costs in their architecturally designed home.
The Stray Leaf home in Forde (Canberra) as pictured below was completed in December 2014, after a six-month design process followed by a six-month build. It has an EER of 7.9. which only falls short of the 8 stars due to the decision to put up-side fences that encroached on the warmth of the afternoon sun.
The homeowner, Margaret and John say that since living in the home, the couple have saved a lot on energy costs. “Over the last 12 months we have used 33 per cent less than the average two-person home, but if we were a young couple and at work all day it would be even less again,” she says.
John says since living in the home, he’s noticed the difference and benefits of having a high EER.
“There’s usually about 18 degrees difference between inside and outside when we get up in the morning,” he says.
“It was 13 degrees inside the house this morning when it was minus five outside.”
Another bonus for homeowners is that homes that are more energy efficient have an increased market value. Ms Edwards advised that two homes she designed in Franklin and Curtin (ACT) had an eight-star rating, and both sold for more than 16 per cent above the market value.
“People have begun to realise energy costs have gone up, and people are putting more value on higher EERs.” she says.
At Stellar Thermal Assessments we to see the benefits of having a higher energy efficiency rating for not only will it save in heating and cooling costs, increase the market value of your property, but also reduce your ecological footprint.
A high ecological footprint means that your lifestyle leaves a strong impact on the planet – possibly one from which the planet may not be able to recover from. A low ecological footprint means that the ecology of the planet springs back from your lifestyle and use of resources.
At Stellar Thermal Assessments we are committed to lowering both ours and your ecological footprint.