When considering a house renovation look at sustainable energy efficient ways to improve your future lifestyle

Sustainable Home Renovations

Home renovation is an option for those homeowners who want to live in the same area but have a need to improve or add to the existing dwelling, and perhaps cannot afford a new build, or like certain features of their existing home.
Design for Seasons offers a home renovation service for Western Australia. Renovate and retrofit your home incorporating sustainable, energy efficient principles.

Renovating you home is an opportunity to improve on amenities, natural light, circulation, energy efficiency (incorporating thermal mass, improved ventilation, insulation and double glazing), and indoor/outdoor relationships.

Consider the basic passive solar design principles when renovating:

Living areas should be arranged to open up to the northern or north-eastern aspect of a site, taking maximum advantage of the northern sun and natural light. If this is not possible then consider an eastern outlook but keep in mind extra shading is required in summer in the form of covered decks or operable or removeable shading. This is where outdoor living spaces should be located with easy access to internal living, giving you that indoor/outdoor relationship. A southern outlook is not going to provide any solar gain, but if that is the only option then you can incorporate high level northern windows to capture winter sun and natural light, in raking or raised ceilings.

Renovating or retrofitting is an opportunity to improve the energy rating of existing windows and to add high performance glazing to any additions. High performance glazing can include low emissivity (low-e) glass or double glazing, both of which improve heat loss and heat gain. Tinted or “toned glass” could be installed to existing windows facing west that are exposed to high solar radiation, keeping the interior cool. Another option is to add permanent shading canopies or verandahs to windows that have too much solar gain.

Adding windows with opening sashes in strategic areas can improve ventilation and natural light.

Where windows in walls are not an option because they are party walls or hard up against another boundary wall, you could consider roof lights or reshaping the roof to incorporate high level windows.

Thermal mass
Renovating gives you an opportunity to add high thermal mass masonry walls to new living areas of an existing timber framed house. This could be in the form of reverse brick veneer, where the masonry wall is on the inside and the well insulated framed wall is outside. The outside cladding could match the existing cladding if you wanted a seamless addition. You could also consider a concrete slab floor to new living areas of a timber framed house, adding thermal mass to moderate internal temperatures. Feature stone or rammed earth walls can also add that beneficial thermal mass.

Simply adding insulation to existing roof spaces, wall cavities and suspended floors can greatly improve the energy efficiency of a home. Along with simply removing an internal wall to open up living spaces, and adding extra shaded north facing glazing to an existing house is a cost effective retrofit.

When renovating consider the position of opening windows and allow for cross ventilation, either opposite each other or diagonally placed. Consider high level opening windows to vent rising warm air, encouraging cool air from south facing courtyards. Add ceiling fans to living areas, bedrooms, and studies. This will provide air movement and cool the occupants. Use a whole of house fan at the highest point of the building to encourage cool night air into the house where cross ventilation is not possible because of the layout of the rooms. 

Sustainable home renovation will not only enhance your lifestyle and comfort, but future proof your investment as energy efficiency regulations increase and buyers look for the added value in sustainable energy efficient features.