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December 13, 2021
Sustainable House Designs Queensland
Humidity, heat and summer storms… Life in Queensland can be extreme on occasion and our homes are designed to keep us comfortable in even the toughest conditions. But how do we keep our homes sustainable as well and hopefully say goodbye to expensive utility bills without having to do without aircon? Metricon Homes at North Harbour has been creating homes to sustainable design guidelines for years and the team was happy to pass on some of their practical steps for sustainable house designs in Queensland.
It’s much easier to design and build a well-insulated, efficiently-lit, correctly-orientated and efficiently-heated home from the outset, rather than attempting to improve it after you’ve built. Getting the right advice from an expert builder, like Metricon Homes New Build Advisors, about your local climate and geography, and designing your home accordingly, will pay dividends in the long run – allowing you to save energy, money and do your bit for the planet, too.
While some of these steps do increase upfront build costs, others are very affordable, and they will all both save you money on your power bills now, and impact the resale value of your home in the long term. Below are some of the key sustainable design principles to consider when you’re building your new home.
When Metricon Homes is creating an energy-efficient home, the team always looks at the orientation possibilities of your home on your block. North-facing aspects are popular for good reason and due to the seasonal movements of the sun they are the first thing to consider when we’re looking at sustainable design in the Brisbane area.
In winter, north-facing walls and windows receive the most sunlight, warming up your home. In the summer, your home’s east and west-facing walls get the most sun exposure, meaning north-facing windows will keep out the heat while still allowing plenty of light to enter your home. Choosing good design centred around the best orientation will make your home more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run.
Harnessing the sun’s plentiful source of free, clean and renewable energy to supplement heating and solar hot water systems is not only affordable in the short term, it also saves money in the long term. There is a range of highly efficient solar power systems on the market which reduce your home’s carbon footprint as well as your energy bills. Keep an eye out for government rebates, offered at a federal and state level which are aimed at enabling more sustainable house designs to be built in Queensland.
Talk to your Metricon Homes New Homes Advisor about ensuring airtightness is factored into selecting building materials for your home. Airtightness has a considerable impact on the energy efficiency of your home and proper air sealing of joints, windows, doors, air vents and ducts is vital, as this will significantly reduce energy use as well as both your heating and cooling costs in the long run. Getting this right at the build stage lowers energy costs, keeps internal temperatures consistent and reduces the hassle and additional cost of trying to fix it later.
A properly sealed home balances this airtightness with efficient ventilation to remove pollutants, odours and moisture, particularly if you rely on a heating system or air conditioner most of the year. There is a great range of solar and mechanical ventilation fan systems to choose from in your build to fit into your bathroom, toilet, kitchen and laundry. Consideration of air flow and cross ventilation through doors and windows in living rooms and bedrooms to take advantage of breezes should also be factored in.
Popular in the UK and colder climates, double-glazing is also gaining in popularity in Australia as opting for high-quality double-glazing in your build will help to boost the energy rating of your home. The sealed gap between the two (double) panes acts as a layer of insulation, reducing the amount of heat escaping during winter and keeping the cool in during summer, which results in a more comfortable home. That means less wastage inflating your bills, so you save money. If you do choose to insulate with double-glazed windows, you will also gain the added benefit of minimising noise, both going out and coming in from outside.
Energy-efficient lighting is the fastest way to go green and shrink your bills, with LEDs being by far the best choice. These type of lights last longer, use less energy and have lower running costs. Timers, dimmers and sensors all assist in keeping costs low, and there are also outdoor solutions with automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.
Insulation is the most cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. We can minimise heat loss through walls, floors and ceilings with non-toxic foams, wool and even newspaper. You will save a tonne of money by opting for this at the planning and construction stage, so speak to your Metricon New Home Advisor for more advice on the right insulation for you.
For more advice on finding sustainable house designs in Queensland, talk to Metricon Homes at North Harbour.
Find North Harbour
North Harbour’s Sales and Information Centre & Display Village is open seven days a week, 10am-5pm (please note we are closed from December 23rd 2021 to January 4th 2022). Located on the corner of Buckley Road and Fraser Drive, Burpengary East, the Display Village showcases beautiful display homes with sustainable design ideas from some of Australia’s best home builders such as Metricon Homes. To find out more about North Harbour’s parks and community facilities including our regular events, sign up for our email updates and find us on Facebook and Instagram (@northharbourliving).