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A practical guide to building an energy-efficient home


Melting ice caps, bushfires, floods and droughts. Scientists say the world is in the middle of a climate emergency, and our historical reliance on fossil fuels may cost us our future.

In the midst of this, homeowners are coming around to the idea that they can say goodbye to expensive utility bills and power their homes at a far more economical price.

Investors are also waking up to the reality that energy-saving solutions are starting to appeal to the broader market, and this demand has the increasing opportunity to boost the resale price of a property.

There are lots of practical steps you can take to help make your Australian home more energy-efficient and more comfortable at the same time.

While some of these fixes do increase upfront costs, others are very affordable, and they will save you money on your power bills, and impact the resale value of your home in the long term. Let's take a look at some sustainable design principles to consider when you're building your new home.


The first consideration when creating an energy-efficient home should always be the orientation of the building on the block. North-facing aspects are popular due to the seasonal movements of the sun.

In winter, these walls and windows receive the most sunlight, warming up your home. In the summer, your east and west-facing walls will receive the most sun exposure, meaning your north-facing windows can keep out the heat while still allowing plenty of light to enter your home. Choosing good design centred around the correct orientation is going to make your home more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run.

Solar power

Harnessing the sun's abundant source of free and clean renewable energy to supplement heating and solar hot water systems is not only affordable, it's also smart.

There is a range of highly efficient solar power systems on the market that can reduce your home's carbon footprint and your energy bills. Keep an eye out for government rebates, offered at a federal and state level depending on your location.


Airtightness has a considerable impact on the energy efficiency of a home and should be a consideration when selecting building materials. 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 should lower energy costs, keep internal temperatures consistent and reduce the hassle and additional cost of trying to fix it later.


A properly sealed home needs to balance that 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 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.


While on the subject of windows, opting for high-quality double-glazing will help to boost the energy rating of your home. The sealed gap between the two panes acts as an invaluable layer of insulation, reducing the amount of heat escaping during winter and keeping the cool in during summer, and resulting 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.

Lighting design

Correct orientation of the building and its windows will help make the best use of natural light, but some rooms will still need added brightness. Choosing energy-efficient lighting is the fastest way to go green and shrink your bills, with LEDs being by far the best choice. They last longer, use less energy and have lower running costs. Timers, dimmers and sensors all help, 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. Minimising heat loss through walls, floors and ceilings can be achieved 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.

Get in early

Thinking ahead always works best. 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 retrospectively. Getting the right advice 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 the planet, too.

If you'd like to speak to a Metricon expert about how we implement energy-efficient options in our home designs, contact us here.