Energy-efficient design attracts plenty of headlines, but all the information out there can be a bit overwhelming. The good news? There are lots of practical steps you can take to help make your home more energy efficient and more comfortable at the same time.
 
While some of these fixes might increase upfront costs a bit, others are very affordable, and hopefully they can save you some money on your power bills in the long-term.

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Orientation

The first concern when creating an energy-efficient home should always be the orientation of the building on the block. By getting the positioning of your home and its windows right, you can maximise the use of passive solar energy in winter while reducing oppressive heat gain in summer. That’s going to keep you cosy and drive those power bills down.

The power of the sun

Harnessing the sun’s abundant source of free and clean renewable energy to supplement heating and hot water systems is not only easy and affordable, it’s also smart. There are a range of highly efficient solar power systems on the market which, when installed, will reduce a home’s carbon footprint and your energy bills.


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Airtightness

Airtightness has a considerable impact on the energy efficiency of a home. Proper sealing of joints, sills, vents, doors and ducts is vital, as this will significantly reduce both your heating and cooling costs in the long run. Getting this right at the build stage will reduce the hassle and additional cost of trying to fix it later.

Ventilation

A properly sealed home needs to balance that airtightness with efficient ventilation to remove pollutants, odours and moisture, especially if you rely on heating or air-conditioning most of the year. There are a range of solar and mechanical ventilation fan systems to choose from in your bathroom, toilet, kitchen and laundry. Slatted, tilting louvre windows can also help increase airflow by providing excellent cross-ventilation in living rooms and bedrooms.

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Double-glazing

While on the subject of windows, opting for double-glazing is an ideal energy-efficient choice. The sealed gap between the two panes acts as an invaluable layer of insulation, reducing the amount of heat escaping during winter and even keeping the cool in during summer. That means less wastage inflating your bills. Double-glazed windows also have the added benefit of minimising noise.

Lighting design

Correct orientation of the building and its windows will help make the best use of natural light, but we can’t always rely on the sun. Choosing energy-efficient lighting is the fastest way to go green and shrink your bills, with LEDs by far the best choice. They last way longer and use less energy. Timers, dimmers and sensors all help, and there are ENERGY STAR-qualified outdoor solutions with automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.

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Insulation

Insulation is the most cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. Minimising heat loss through walls, floors and ceilings can be achieved with non-toxic foams, wool and even newspaper. You can save a tonne of money by opting for this at the planning and construction stage.

Get ahead of the green game

Thinking forward always works best. It’s easier to design and build a well-insulated, efficiently lit, correctly orientated and efficiently heated building than attempt to improve it retrospectively. Paying attention to local climate and geography and planning your home accordingly pays dividends in the long run, creating the most energy-efficient solution, saving the planet and your pocket.

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If you’d like to speak to a Metricon expert about what energy-efficient options might be available to you, contact us here.