How to design a sustainable house

A sustainable house begins with Passive Solar Design.  Our design team work with these principles and your brief to produce a design you will love, and that we think will perform well.  Our secret to getting very high performance is then to subject this concept design to a house energy rating software interrogation at this early stage, while the design is still fluid and can be changed.  This software is very powerful in that it can predict temperatures in the different rooms of the house throughout a simulated year.  We can then see how the design should perform, and more importantly, we can play with different design scenarios, insulation levels, building materials, window and eave sizes, etc., to optimise performance for each room of the house.  This is how we are able to achieve 8, 9, and 10 star designs.

It is worth noting that 99% of the building industry does not work this way.  They get the house energy rating done (as it is a requirement by law to achieve a minimum 6 stars), just before the building permit.  At this late stage the design is set, and all that an energy rater can suggest, is to upgrade insulation, and if that doesn't reach 6 stars, to start double glazing windows until the 6 stars is achieved.  As soon as 6 stars is achieved, the plans are stamped.  Unfortunately this is a recipe for minimum compliance and misses the whole benefit of using the software as a design tool. Furthermore, if high performance construction protocols are not followed, the as built house performance is likely to be much worse.

Once we have a home that is performing very well, we then incoorporate the broader elements of Environmentally Sustainable Design:


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