Simple ways to make your renovation smarter
North-facing living areas
If your renovation allows, orientate living areas where you spend the most time to the north, and rooms where you spend less time to the south. This will take advantage of the winter sun, keeping these rooms warm, light and bright. To guide your planning, follow the sun's path around your existing home to see which areas are receiving the most sunlight. Ask yourself which rooms are too cold in winter or too hot in summer. Can you improve this during your renovation?
Direct access to the north isn't always possible, due to the design of your existing home and block and the space available. Ask your architect or designer for advice about taking advantage of natural light.
Designing zones in your home during your renovation will allow you to efficiently heat and cool rooms individually. Doors are a great way to zone areas of your home, for example between corridors and bedrooms or living areas. This way you don't need to spend money heating or cooling rooms that you're not using. Sliding doors will be less effective as they have large gaps in the recess, which allow the air to flow freely.
Insulating your existing ceiling, walls and floors during your renovation can save you up to 45 per cent on the cost of heating your home. Insulation is a one-time cost that will last the lifetime of your house, provided it is installed correctly.
With ceiling insulation often installed prior to other trades having access to the ceiling space, gaps and areas of missing insulation can occur. This is especially the case if downlights are installed, as safety clearances must be provided to reduce the risk of roof fires. If you're ceiling isn't properly insulated you are wasting energy and money and reducing the level of comfort in your home.
Your walls are one of the weakest points thermally so it important to improve their insulation levels to keep your rooms comfortable. The removal of wall linings to add insulation is an opportunity that only occurs once every 25 years or more, so don't miss this opportunity if your renovation offers it.
Without floor insulation warmth can be lost underneath the house in winter. A common practice during renovations is to rip up carpet and polish floorboards – the perfect opportunity to add insulation and seal gaps and cracks between floorboards.
Up to 25 per cent of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage (also known as draughts). Seal gaps around doors and windows to draught-proof your home and save energy and money.
Renovating your interior with soft furnishings such as rugs, carpets, curtains and pelmets will keep your windows, walls and floors warm and cosy. This will add to your insulation and draught proofing and further reduce your energy expenditure and bills.
Energy efficient lighting is an important consideration for any renovation. Smarter lighting design will make your renovation contemporary and stylish while saving you money on your ongoing energy bills.
Windows frames, glazing and shading
Smarter window design and external shading can make your home bright and comfortable all year round. Energy efficient windows can reduce heat losses through window by up to 50 per cent compared to single glazed window.
Renovations provide an ideal opportunity to save water around your home. Consider designing water recycling systems and choosing water saving fittings and appliances.
Installing a solar PV system will allow you to generate renewable energy and reduce your electricity bills.
What else can you do?
There are many other ways to make your home more energy efficient during a renovation including:
- install energy efficient appliances
- reduce waste and recycling as much as possible
- detox your home by safely disposing of chemical waste
- learn to live sustainably, from shopping to your investments.
Learn from renovation profiles
Learn from the experiences of other renovators as they talk about their successes and challenges in our renovation profiles.