Tips for Building an Energy Efficient Home on a Budget
29 / 03 / 2019
With the ever-increasing cost of electricity, many new home builders are now looking for ways to make savings where they can. Building an energy efficient home goes beyond just installing solar panels, it requires careful thought and planning when it comes to choice of building materials and design features.
New homes are now required to meet the Energy Efficiency provisions stated in the National Construction Code, and achieving a 6 star rating is a commendable goal. To help you on your journey, we’ve prepared a short blog post with some tips on how to go about this on a budget.
What is an energy rating?
The nationwide house energy rating scheme involves a thorough review of your home, starting with the construction shell. Everything from your flooring through to roofing, walls and windows will be examined, along with the layout of your home, building orientation, shading from the sun and breeze to determine the thermal comfort of your home.
The maximum possible rating is ten stars, but all new homes and renovations should aim to exceed 6 stars. Achieving this means that your home is well protected against extreme heat and cold, which reduces your energy consumption from cooling/heating systems.
Stretching the Budget – Helping your $$ Go Further
Building a home is a big undertaking, and you always need to keep a close watch on your finances. As registered quantity surveyors, Section 94 can help by accurately costing your materials and project completion costs.
It is important to make savings where you can, and it always pays to shop around for your building products. Instead of opting for brand new materials, why not check out eBay and your local trading websites to see if you can find any surplus building supplies? Also keep an eye out for any clearance sales, as suppliers are often keen to move unsold or slightly damaged stock at very attractive prices.
Try to look for an architect/builder who is reasonably priced and has experience in green-home design and building, as they will be able to steer you in the right direction. Every architect will have different ideas, and not all of them will be efficient. When it comes to building an energy efficient home, it is important that you place a priority on function over form. You may need to sacrifice some architectural aesthetics, but you’ll be glad you did when you see the massive reduction in your energy bills.
What should I do in order to increase my rating?
If you want to increase your rating, it’s a good idea to:
- Try to avoid (or reduce) the number of east/west facing walls and windows. West facing windows will overheat your house during the afternoon, and East facing windows will make your house hotter from midday through to around lunchtime.
- Put some of your budget aside for double glazed windows – they will help to keep heat out during summer, and in winter they will keep it in. Poor quality windows are a big contributor to inefficiency, so don’t skimp in this area!
- Ensure that you have adequate roof ventilation as well as quality insulation within walls and inside the roof cavity
- Install ceiling fans in every room
- Increase shade cover wherever possible through the use of awnings, trees and broad eaves
- Instead of opting for dark roof and wall colours, look to lighter alternatives which do not conduct as much heat
Keep Track of Costs – Contact Section 94 Today
Reducing your greenhouse emissions and environmental footprint is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your wallet. Building an energy efficient home doesn’t need to cost a fortune. All it takes a little bit of knack, intelligent use of materials and adopting some thoughtful design principles.
Starting a new build is an exciting journey, and we would love to help you along the way. The team of registered quantity surveyors at Section 94 are standing by ready to assist with everything from section 94 reports through to construction cost reports, bank prefunding reports and progress claims. Know exactly where you stand and help your money go further – contact us today.