Energy and money-saving home-building tips

2016-08-31 06:00
PHOTO: sourced  Solar powered garden lights are energy efficient, easy to install and attractive.

PHOTO: sourced Solar powered garden lights are energy efficient, easy to install and attractive.

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WHETHER you’re building your new home, renovating that turn-of-the-century cottage or adding on a room, making the right choices at the right time in the building process will make your home much more comfortable to live in and save a lot of money and electricity.

When planning a new house or doing alterations to your current home, it’s important to make the right decisions at the outset.

Eskom shares tips on how homeowners can build and decorate their homes so that they are more energy efficient:

Minimise heating and cooling costs

Although 40% of unwanted heat enters through windows, in winter, a lot of the heat, which homeowners would like to keep in, is lost through windows. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this from happening.

• Coat your windows with sun control film to reflect up to 80% of the incoming sunlight, or use a combination film to allow more light into the room.

Strategically placing large trees around your home can shade much of the roof and walls of the house from the fierce afternoon sun.

• Get the best performance from curtains and blinds are dense and of a light colour. Putting up such window treatments maximises the amount of sunlight that is reflected.

• Heavy curtains or blinds keep a room cooler, while exterior awnings protect windows that face direct sunlight. Retractable awnings can protect windows against the worst of the summer sun.

• Seal windows, doors, skylights and fireplaces to prevent draughts from sucking the warmth out of rooms in winter.

Draughts account for up to 25% of heat loss. By reducing them, you slash heating and cooling costs.

• A skylight in the roof allows natural light on sunny days and eliminates the use of artificial lighting.

Make sure that the sloping glass of the skylight faces­ north to get the most out of your skylight. - Property24.

Planning an energy efficient home

WHEN planning a new house or doing alterations to your current home, it’s important to make the right decisions at the outset.

• When building your new home, make sure that as many windows as possible face north. This will keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter.

• New houses should be built to minimise draughts by avoiding gaps at construction joints, between different wall materials and at ceiling and floor joinings.

• Follow an open-plan style and make the best use of all the available space while allowing light to penetrate easily and air to circulate freely around the home.

If you include open areas that can be reduced in size by closing doors, you will minimise the need for heating and cooling the space.

Coat your windows with sun control film to reflect up to 80% of the incoming sunlight, or use a combination film to allow more light into the room.

• In uninsulated homes, approximately 40% of heat loss takes place through the roof. Insulation slows heat transfer and makes your home up to 10 ° C cooler in summer and 5°C warmer in winter.

• Make good use of energy efficient building materials like concrete, tiled or slate floors. Apart from being easy to clean, they absorb heat in winter.

The floor must be able to absorb as much heat as possible during the day and then release the stored heat into the room at night. Carpets and rugs act as insulators, so the slab floor can’t absorb much heat.

Eco-friendly gardening tips

• Landscape the surrounds of the house and plant indigenous shade trees.

Solar powered garden lights are energy efficient, easy to install and attractive too.

Strategically placing large trees around your home can shade much of the roof and walls of the house from the afternoon sun.

Doing so will benefit you in the winter. Without leaves in the tree, homeowners can look forward to the warm winter sun.

• By carefully planning the landscaping around your home, you can also control the quality and direction of the breeze you allow to blow through it.

Breezes entering your house will be cooler if they pass through areas that have shade, pools, shrubs and lawns.

• Solar power can meet some of the energy needs in your garden like heating your swimming pool. It can also take some of the load off your geyser.

Solar powered garden lights are energy efficient, easy to install and attractive.

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