Do you live in a home that chews up energy, a home that needs the air conditioning on all summer and heating in winter, a home that gets no natural light? Not everyone is in a position to design their home from scratch, incorporating passive solar solutions to create a perfect ‘green home’. Don’t worry, these simple, relatively inexpensive fixes can help make your existing home green and save you energy, save you money and help you to save the environment!
Green home tip #1: Shade your windows
External shading will cut down the temperature inside your home during summer. You can add retractable shading, or install awnings that are designed to suit the angles of the sun, allowing the sun to penetrate in winter and providing shade over windows in summer. Internal blinds or curtains can help to reduce the heat of summer and they can retain warmth inside your home over winter and prevent heat entering in the summer. So, if you aren’t using a space during the day close the curtains and blinds to help insulate the room.
Green home tip #2: Bring in natural daylighting
Ensuring that your home receives enough natural light can remove the need to use electric lighting during the day. A great way to add light to your home is to add skylights. Skylights that are positioned to bring natural light into rooms that don’t get enough light can dramatically reduce your use of electrical lighting during the day. Installing double glazed skylights helps with heat insulation, and integrated blinds reduce glare in summer and help with insulation. Even a small skylight can make a dramatic difference.
If you are able to install extra windows in your home this is a great way to move towards a green home. It’s important that you make sure that north facing windows have sufficient shading for the summer months. Windows facing south are fantastic for providing light as they don’t have the same issues with heat transmission in summer as north facing windows. Avoid western facing windows as the heat loading in the afternoon and evening can be overbearing, with eaves and awnings providing no shade when the sun is lower in the sky.
Green home tip #3: Maximise natural ventilation
Aim to get cross breezes through the house by opening the windows and doors to bring in fresh air. In summer open the higher windows in your home, as, when the hot air rises, this will help to take the heat out of your home. Installing a ceiling fan can help to move the air through your house on still days and creates a wind chill effect making the room feel cooler. You don’t need to use air-conditioning!
Green home tip #4: Planting for light and shade
How you plan your garden will help you to keep your home naturally cool in summer and allow light and warmth to enter in winter. Plant deciduous trees to the north of your home, they will shade your home in summer and when the leaves fall off in the colder months, light will be able to enter. If you have a pergola to the north of your home you can grow deciduous vines across it for the same effect. This will provide a cool outdoor oasis for you in summer and a warm outdoor space that can still be enjoyed in winter. Position evergreen trees to the south and west of your home. They will filter the harsh afternoon sun and protect your home from strong winds all year round. For extra ‘green home’ effect grow vines on the western walls of your home to help insulate from the harsh afternoon sun.
Green home tip #5: Paint your house in light colours – inside and out
Light colours absorb less heat than dark colours so painting the exterior of your home in light colours will keep it cooler in summer. If you have the opportunity to do it, then installing lighter coloured roofing materials will make an enormous difference to heat absorption in your home, although this is an expensive option. Painting your interior walls and ceilings light colours brighten up the spaces by reflecting the natural light, reducing the need for electric lighting during the day and less lighting will be needed at night – a simple way to save on your energy bills.
Green home tip #6: Weather seal your home
Homes can loose up to 20% of their heat due to drafts around windows and doors. There are a few simple ways that you can reduce this heat loss. Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors that leak air. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or wiring come through walls and ceilings. And installing curtains and blinds can also help to reduce this loss of heat.
Moving towards a green home can be relatively cheap. By utilising these simple methods you have have an enormous impact how much energy your home consumes.
With tailored, step-by-step guidance, it's simple to start the process of designing your Perfect Home. We will work with you to create exactly what you want, in the shortest time-frame and of the highest quality. Whatever you need we are ready to help you, because everybody deserves a beautiful home.