Energy Efficient Homes
At Civic Steel Homes We’ve Always Focused On Designing And Building Energy Efficient Homes, Long Before Today’s Requirements Became Legislated And Part Of The Building Approval Process.
Did you know that the most sought after features that our clients request don’t include finishes like timber floors, fireplaces and fashion statements? The most requested features for a new architect designed home are those that offer energy-efficiency, low maintenance materials and planning that works with our Queensland conditions. For our clients, it’s more about comfort, climate and sensible costs, rather than design frills.
The most effective designs are based on specific understanding of a site’s wind patterns, terrain, outlook, and solar exposure. Professional architectural design input can pull these all together for you.
For more information on energy efficient home design, download our e-brochure:
10 Tips for Energy Efficient Home Design
Our 10 Tips include information on orientation, microclimate, ventilation, insulation, power conservation and great site planning. These tips are the design principles that we include in every custom design to give you maximum livability and long-term enjoyment of your home.
What Is Passive Solar Design?
Passive Solar Design describes buildings that make the most of the local climate and sun’s energy for natural heating and cooling to achieve optimum ‘human comfort levels’ in a home. The ideal ‘human comfort level’ is around 22degC and involves achieving ideal levels of air movement and relative humidity. These are principles that are inherent in our design philosophy and in the experience of our in-house architect, so that you get the best, most efficient and most comfortable design to suit your needs.
Planning your home around the movement of the sun and local microclimate will give you the greatest enjoyment as your home will ‘warm in winter and cool in summer’. The way to achieve this in our SE Queensland sub-tropical climate is very different from the temperate climate further south or the dry heat inland.
Colder climates want to make the most of high thermal mass to radiate heat in the evenings, dry hot climates also use thermal mass to absorb heat in the day and re-radiate it on clear cool nights, whereas Queensland has only a few winter months where it’s desirable to release heat at night.
The design focus in Queensland is to reduce humidity, and breezes play the largest role in year-round comfort, so our designs are always focused on controlling and maximising our north easterly summer breezes. You want large, well-placed windows, and operable openings so that you can control and even increase the wind speed through your home.
What are Eco Homes?
An eco-house or eco-home is a home designed to have a lower impact on the environment, by using materials and technology to reduce its carbon footprint, toxic waste and energy needs. It goes a little further than passive solar design, in that it considers the life-cycle costs, emissions and environmental impact of sourcing and using various materials. It may involve using recycled materials or low emission VOC paints or sustainably sourced timbers and claddings.
Each of these options has an up-front cost associated with it and needs to be weighed up against the benefits and long-term cost savings, compared to standard industry materials. We are always researching and weighing up the costs and benefits of different options and can advise you on those offering great value, others that are beneficial but more costly, and some that become prohibitively expensive mostly due to labour costs – we may find a great recycled material, but the labour costs of working with a specialist or preparing finishes may weigh on your decision.
We are here to advise you and find the right balance for your design solution.
What are Sustainable Homes?
Sustainable home design goes one step further in that it’s looking at long term effects on the environment and public health, without compromising future generations’ ability to repeat the same level of productivity or output. It strictly refers to zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions. Sustainable Homes reduce the impact on the environment by using responsibly-sourced products and controlled use of natural resources.
Achieving a zero net energy balance is a difficult task and all fittings in your home from electrical wiring, porcelain fixtures, stainless steel fittings, plasterboard sheeting, and steel roof cladding are all using natural resources at increasing rates. Our focus is on providing quality fittings with longevity and less maintenance, so that you are not replacing fittings in the short term and producing further waste over the life of your home.
Sustainable development is also one area where we can contribute through in-fill and higher density housing in the inner city. Increasing the density helps to reduce further sprawling suburbs and clearing of natural habitat. Brisbane is one of the lowest density cities in the world and can do its part in making the most of a more efficient inner-city infrastructure.
What Are Green Home Designs?
The term Green Home Design is mostly used to refer to a reduced footprint on the natural environment including a focus on renewable energy sources such as wind, water, or solar; creating a healthy indoor environment; implementing natural ventilation; and using construction materials that minimise the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home.
The use of materials and resources that produce minimal environmental impact are key elements in green construction, as is the efficient use of water by appliances and shower heads, the recycling of grey water, and the reuse of rain water for landscaping.
Many of these above terms are used interchangeably, and while it is rare to find a building that is one hundred percent true to these definitions, at Civic Steel Homes we always aim to give you the best combination of solutions, practical suggestions and value over the long term. A great energy efficient design may cost more initially but save you many dollars and natural resources over the life of your home. Our goal is to give you our best advice and the best outcome for each custom design solution.
Download the 10 Tips for Energy Efficient Home Design
It’s everything you need to know to make your new home more energy efficient