See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

Note: The estimates on power usage of appliances in this section are general guides only. All appliances are different and energy use can be impacted by elements outside of the appliance itself including environment, house wiring and other variables. This information is not a guarantee of power saving. Always consult the appliance manufacturer or a registered electrician if you have concerns about your appliance’s power use.

Are you in the process of building your dream home, or getting stuck into some serious home-renos? This is a great opportunity to include energy efficiency right into the design of your home, helping you save power in the long term.

Choose the area you build carefully

Different parts of the country have different climates, weather patterns and these can impact the decisions you make around your house design. Whilst you won’t want power efficiency to be your deciding factor on where in the country to live, you should consider the property and part of the region you’re building in and how it will help or hinder your energy efficiency. For example, if you pick somewhere that gets a cool wind consistently, you might need to consider how that could impact your heating costs.

Designing for a sun-friendly aspect

Regardless of where you’re building, it’s a good idea to work with your builder and architect to determine the best aspect of the house. Aspect means the way the house is naturally facing based upon its floor plan and window placement. If a home’s living areas are facing north, you’ll be able to make the most of sunlight across the day and you may find that you spend less on heating and lighting as a result.   

East-facing homes will get the benefit of great morning sun but will lose it in the afternoon. On the other hand, west-facing homes can be colder in the morning but warm up in the afternoon as the sun comes round. South-facing properties can struggle to make the most of daylight. 

Thermal considerations within the foundation and design of the home

Building standards today demand a fair bit from homes around heating and insulation. This is good news for home builders as these requirements typically have a positive impact on the need for powered heating and cooling. Decisions should be made around things like the quality and layers of floor, wall and ceiling insulation. High quality insulation will not only save you money in the winter but will help manage a cool temperature in the height of summer as well.

The layout of the home should consider how natural airflow could be passed through - where are the natural winds most likely to come from? Would opening the home up create easy flow of air without creating pockets of air that slam doors shut?

Then think about the materials used to build the home - will a particular cladding choice create easier heating later on? Whatever you determine for building materials, make sure to check its rated weather and thermal features before going ahead.  

Floor plan that allows natural heat transfer

Often some rooms, like the living areas will be heated more than others, because they enjoy the solar gain during the day or because it’s more practical to have heating operating in the main living area.  

This doesn’t mean that you need to lose heat in other parts of the home. Nor does it mean you always need to have different heaters elsewhere in the house. If designed carefully, you can create natural heat transfer from the living area into nearby rooms as well. Sometimes this can be made easier through heat transfer systems, which duct rooms together and allow warmth to be moved around the home with ease.

Incorporate a ventilation system

Speaking of ducted systems, ventilation is one of the best ways to keep a control over temperature and power costs. These systems involve installing vents in rooms around the home, which are connected to a central filtration system which captures dust, allergens and other materials that make a home harder to heat, and less comfortable to live in. Clean, dry air is something that you really notice when you have it - and when you don’t again. Building a home is the best time to investigate ventilation. Together with double glazing and good insulation, you’ll notice low to no condensation with a ventilation system operating.

LED lights

This is pretty much standard in any new build, so while it’s not something you’ll need to make special arrangements to get, it’s still worth specifying LED lighting across the home - and outside too. LEDs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs, requiring lower energy draw and typically a lifespan of much longer - so there are savings on replacement as well as electricity usage.

LED lighting comes in so many different formats that you can configure lighting arrangements in a way that presents the home its best and doesn’t use bulbs that are larger than needed.

Ensure windows and doors are designed to keep any draft out

The modern aluminium joinery is typically robust with good quality trim and latches that reduce the amount of moisture that can get through. Double glazing panes are the most important element here - they include two separate panes of glass with a gas in between them, creating an excellent thermal barrier between the inside and outside of the home. This makes warming up the home quicker and cheaper, but also assists with cooling it down. And once you’ve achieved a desired temperature inside, good double glazing will maintain that for longer than single glazed windows would.

Smart home features and timers

A new home gives you the chance to add in some ‘smart home’ features which can make life more convenient and save you power costs too. Some examples of smart homes working to make your home more efficient include Wifi controlled heating, oven timers, automatic blind/curtain drawings attached to a timer, lights that switch off automatically after periods of inactivity in the room, and hot water control through a central console.

Building a new home is definitely a good time to get smart features installed, but make sure you do your homework as some smart home features may be more relevant to you than others. 

Strategically placed heat pumps

Think about your home’s floor plan - where will the heat pumps be placed? This is worth thinking about to ensure that you get maximum coverage in the home with as few units as possible. Considering heat pumps at the same time as design your floor plan is a good approach.  

You’ll also need to consider where the outside unit of the heat pump is situated so that it works to bring warm or cool air in and out of the home. Whilst ducting can help create some distance between inside and outside units, you’ll need to consider how multiple heat pumps will work with your exterior. Some options allow different inside units to feed into one outside unit. If you’re unsure of the best approach, speak directly with a heat pump specialist who can do an assessment of your plans and provide you with expert advice.

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