How to build a home in Perth that stays warm in Winter

Winter is well and truly upon us! Has your home been designed to accommodate for seasonal changes?

Considering the orientation of your house in the design stage is vital to ensure your home stays warm in Winter (and of course cool in Summer!)

1. LOT ORIENTATION   

This is a big one, which will have a positive impact if you get it right from the get-go.
 
Good orientation, combined with other energy efficiency features, can drastically reduce the need for heating and cooling, meaning lower energy bills as well as knowing you are doing your bit for the environment.

So what is the best way to orientate my house in Perth?

Good orientation of lot designs considers both summer and winter variations in the sun’s path as well as the direction and type of winds, such as cooling southern summer breezes.

In Perth, ideally you want North facing back yards and living areas to make the most of Winter sun.

However, it is worth noting that during the hottest parts of the day in Summer, the angle of the sun is much steeper than in Winter, so when designing windows on the Northern side of your house, ensure you incorporate overhanging eaves or verandahs for shading.
 
What do I look for in a subdivision or new land estate?
 
At Pindan, when designing housing subdivisions, we will orientate as many lots as possible on an ‘east-west’ axis, permitting houses being built to be designed with living area windows facing North, making the most of Winter sunshine.  
 
For example, most of our titled lots at The Reef in Two Rocks are designed on an east-west axis or have a north facing backyard and living area.
 
It is worth asking the developer the question about lot orientation (mention the words ‘east-west axis’) before deciding on that ideal block of land.


 
What should I look for in an apartment development? 

Orientation of an apartment development can have a huge impact on not only the temperature of your new apartment, but also light coming in to the living areas.
 
Solar gain, building separation, breeze pathways, landscaping, seating help to add value to the energy saving features of an apartment block.
 
For example, at our Viridian, China Green development we looked at all opportunities and constraints for the site. With the longer dimension of the land being east to west, it meant we had great exposure to the north and we were keen to bring light as far as possible into the development. We created a break in the middle of the site so that more apartments had direct access to light and northern and eastern (City) views.

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2. OTHER ENERGY SAVING FEATURES IN A NEW HOME  

If you have got lot orientation sorted, there are a few other little tips that can help when designing and building a new home:
 
Windows
Keep window sizes to a minimum on sides of your home facing East and West, as this is where the angle of the sun is at its lowest during the hot Summer months.
 
Make sure you have plenty of windows to the Southern side of your home to allow the best opportunity to take advantage of cooling Summer breezes (particularly if you live near the Coast in WA).
 
Ventilation (in Summer especially)
Hot air rises, so allowing for high windows can really help with ventilation. Ceiling vents and roof ventilators are also a great idea to extract heat from your home.
 
Insulation
Roof and ceiling insulation is also a must in Perth’s climate and will help in both Summer and Winter.
 
Looking for more information?

The Australian Government has a great resource on all things passive design and energy efficient homes. You can find out more information here: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design
Source: Pindan

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