Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Save the Environment the GreenSmart Way

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Save the Environment the GreenSmart Way

Article excerpt

AS the weather starts to heat up, the first thing most of us do is turn on the airconditioning. Times are tough for you and the planet, but there are ways to make a difference to help save you money and save the environment. Building or renovating a home the GreenSmart way starts with the appropriate site selection to ensure that you can maximise passive solar design principles in your home. Getting the orientation right is the first step.

Orient your home for solar access

Orientation refers to the correct placement of the building on the block to allow sun to penetrate in winter and to minimise this in summer. The best site is one which provides enough room to place a house with the living areas facing north. Renovation projects can consider this by the relocation of rooms to improve passive solar access. The efficient design of eaves on the northern side lets the sun into the home in winter, warming it naturally and reducing heating bills. It also prevents the hotter summer sun - which is at a higher angle - from entering the home, reducing the need to artificially cool the home in summer.

Insulation stops big heat loss

Insulation should be seen as the first line of defence against the external elements after incorporating passive solar design as it reduces heat loss and heat gain through walls, roofs, floors and flooring systems. Ceilings can account for 25 - 35% of heat loss in winter so it is important to place insulation close to the ceiling to help reduce this. Floors can account for 10 - 20% of heat loss in winter, so timber floors and suspended concrete slabs used in cooler climates should be insulated. Walls can account for 15 - 25% of heat loss in winter. However, in cooler climates selecting suitable thickness of insulation can reduce the heat loss. The correct selection and installation of insulation in the ceilings, floors and walls in conjunction with using thermal mass can achieve significant reductions in heating and cooling costs.

Thermal mass saves heating costs Thermal mass refers to the ability of a material to absorb heat energy. High density materials such as concrete, rammed earth, bricks and tiles have a high thermal mass, which allows them to absorb heat, unlike timber which has a low thermal mass. …

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