Insulation — the secret to cool summer living in your sustainable home

In the sweltering summer heat, we Queenslanders are constantly trying to keep our homes pleasantly cool. So when designing your new sustainable home, you want to ensure that achieving a comfortable, LIVEABLE space is as easy, affordable and environmentally friendly as possible. [See “10 Tips for Energy Efficient Home Design“]

Insulation plays a huge role in maintaining the right temperature within your house — but when it comes to choosing insulation for your eco home, what do you need to know? We’ve compiled a few guidelines…

Insulate your sustainable home against radiant heat AND conductive heat.

There are two different types of heat — radiant heat (the direct heat that comes from the sun) and conductive heat (the heat that flows through solid materials, and which can only be managed using insulation).

When designing your sustainable house, radiant heat can be directed away from the building by adding a special reflective material (called sisalation) under the roof surface and inside the exterior walls.

With conductive heat, insulation batts should be added to trap the flow of air between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Adding BOTH types of insulation to your eco home greatly increases their effects — enabling you to significantly reduce your air conditioning usage, and therefore your electricity bill.

Choose the right insulation thickness for your circumstances.

Insulation batts come in different thicknesses (called R-values). When deciding on the appropriate size of batts for your eco house, it’s important to remember that any insulation above 2.5 is designed for a cold climate — where people want to keep the heat IN rather than shut it out.

It can also be tempting to buy extremely thick batts and then squash them down to use in a small space, but don’t make this mistake! Remember — insulation batts work by trapping the air and keeping it there, so by compressing them you’ll just be reducing the effectiveness of the material.

Don’t rely exclusively on insulation — design your eco home to be naturally cool instead.

For nine months out of 12 we experience (mostly) warm weather, so it makes sense that our houses should be designed to keep us cool. For our climate, the perfect eco house design has a north-facing glass wall or glass patio doors. This lets in plenty of natural light and is cool in summer, yet warm in the winter months — reducing the need for insulation in that area of the home.

The ultimate sustainable home should have a combination of clever design and appropriate insulation — resulting in a comfortable living space, all year round.To find out more about sustainable home design visit


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