Did you know the number one way an energy efficient home stays warm in winter?
Well, it’s actually quite simple, but is often undermined by low quality and low attention to detail construction.
The answer is that an energy efficient home keeps the warm air in and circulating at just the right speed.
This is achieved by making sure the following things are done correctly during construction to ensure that your home is well sealed;
- Holes in the linings (plasterboard) and claddings (like Weathertex) are properly sealed to prevent air leakage
- External Window and Door frames are well sealed to the building frame (and ideally are uPVC and double glazed)
- Doors and Windows are supplied with gaskets and seals to prevent air leakage
- Ceiling hatches are intergrated, sealed units, rather than just a piece of plasterboard in a timber frame
- Insulation is properly installed without gaps or creases, and
- The house may use BioPCM (click here to find out more) to help retain heat
All of this helps to ensure that a home retains the heat it generates.
So what about actually generating the heat in the first place?
There are plenty of options, and below we have listed some of the more energy efficient ones;
- Passive Solar Gain (via correct orientation of windows which allow the suns radiation into the home, preferably to be cast onto a masonry surface)
- Fireplace – a correctly sized fire place can do more than just heating your home, it can heat your water and cook your meals. In addition if you couple your fireplace with an internal air movement system, it can be incredibly efficient to heat your home.
- Hydronic heating (linked to an electric heat pump and solar power system)
- Heat Banks (linked to your off-peak power and preferably solar system)
We will have more about each of these items above in the future. For now, we will discuss the last two as they both work on the principle of using energy to heat a thermal mass.
Hydronic heating and Heat banks use electricity to heat a mass that then slowly releases that heat over time.
Hydronic Heating uses the mass of the concrete slab of your home, in Europe, they are considered the norm and as they become more widely used in Australia their cost is coming down.
Heat Banks use the mass of special heat bricks which are heated using electricity, and then dissipate the heat, usually with fan forced assistance.
The beauty of systems like this is that their mass stores the heat generated from the electrical energy and then uses it to heat the house.
In numbers terms you could say that you would use electricity to “charge” or heat the system for 2-6 hours and get up to 48 hours worth of heat out of it.
This compares to an air conditioner for example. Once an air conditioner is turned off, there is no residual heating going on, air doesn’t have any thermal mass, so for 2 hours of electricity use, you only get a minor amount of residual heating. See the table below.
Would you like a more detailed look at great ways to efficiently heat your home in winter?
In our next blog we will give you the 5 tips for energy efficient building materials to use on your new home.
Click the link below to download the guide on great ways to efficiently heat your home!