AN ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME

IS A COMFORTABLE HOME

AN ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME IS A COMFORTABLE HOME

The benefits of investing in the thermal performance of our homes are well understood in Europe, Canada and the US. We aim to change the way we design and build houses in Australia & New Zealand, too.

BLOCK ORIENTATION

SHOULDN'T BE OVERLOOKED

We always make sure we position our homes to take advantage of natural heating and cooling, where possible. We design out overheating in summer, by suggesting the appropriate amount and location of windows and any necessary shading. We also take care to calculate the path of prevailing breezes for passive cooling.

Considering these factors early in the design process is common sense and good building science.

Energy-efficient house that is off-grid as a visualisation of an ecokit home

BLOCK ORIENTATION SHOULDN'T BE OVERLOOKED

We always make sure we position our homes to take advantage of natural heating and cooling, where possible. We design out overheating in summer, by suggesting the appropriate amount and location of windows and any necessary shading. We also take care to calculate the path of prevailing breezes for passive cooling.

Considering these factors early in the design process is common sense and good building science.

SUPER INSULATION

WORKS IN COLD OR HEAT

By following the ‘fabric first’ approach, we maximise the performance of components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of additional mechanical or electrical systems.

Insulation is a one-off cost that will benefit the lifetime of your house. Proper insulation can save you significant costs in running your home. Therefore, using as much insulation as possible, is just a common sense.

  • Thermal U-Value of ecokit wall & roof: 0.12 W/m2K
  • Blown-in insulation: 240mm (approx. 6.6 R-value)
A process of applying a very effective insulation to the passive house in Jindabyne during its construction

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SUPER INSULATION WORKS IN COLD OR HEAT

By following the ‘fabric first’ approach, we maximise the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of additional mechanical or electrical systems.

Insulation is a one-off cost that will benefit the lifetime of your house. Proper insulation can save you significant costs in running your home. Therefore, using as much insulation as possible, is just a common sense.

  • Thermal U-Value of ecokit wall & roof: 0.12 W/m2K
  • Blown-in insulation: 240mm (approx. 6.6 R-value)

AIR TIGHTNESS

PUTS YOU IN CONTROL

We design and build our homes air-tight. The indoor air quality is maintained through a continuous supply of fresh air either by a heat recovery system or by an automated, sensor based ventilation through the Velux skylights.

Air tightness is one of the keys to energy efficiency – in a typical Australian home, more heat is lost through air movement (drafts) than by other means.

The energy and cost savings resulting from air tightness are essentially “free,” because building a tight home is more about careful workmanship than adding additional materials.

  • Airtightness of ecokit homes: up to 2 ACH (air exchange @50Pa)
blower door test

AIR TIGHTNESS PUTS YOU IN CONTROL

We design and build our homes air-tight. The indoor air quality is maintained through a continuous supply of fresh air either by a heat recovery system or by an automated, sensor based ventilation through the Velux skylights.

Air tightness is one of the keys to energy efficiency – in a typical Australian home, more heat is lost through air movement (drafts) than by other means.

The energy and cost savings resulting from air tightness are essentially “free,” because building a tight home is more about careful workmanship than adding additional materials.

  • Airtightness of ecokit homes: up to 2 ACH (air exchange @50Pa)

NatHERS ★★★ rating

WHAT DO THE STARS ACTUALLY MEAN?

Australia has a star rating system, administered by the Federal Government, known as NatHERS. A house energy rating is used to assess a design before construction, and the star rating of a design simply predicts the heating and cooling energy needed to keep a house comfortable. The less energy predicted to be used for heating and cooling, the higher the star rating.

However, NatHERS assumes something that is virtually never tested and has NO direct relationship to the amount of energy a house will use in operation.

Although houses designed with an ecokit construction system can achieve 8+ stars out of the box, we prefer to measure the performance AFTER the home is built. This is achieved by a ‘blower door testing’, measuring the amount of air being exchanged within a given timeframe.

NatHERS stars rating showing ecokit among the top houses with more than 8 stars r-rating.

The reality of a real life

A recent CSIRO report highlighted this issue in an assessment of the air-tightness of buildings in Australia: the Housing Energy Efficiency Inspections Report from December 2015. According to this report, 15 air changes per hour at a pressure of 50 pascals is assumed by NatHERS for its rating calculations. In short, this is described as 15 [email protected], or simply 15. The Passive House Standard requires a 0.6. That means the NatHERS house assumption is 25 times as leaky as the Passive House Standard requirement.

And were the real results? Canberra 14, Hobart 8, Perth 25, Sydney 21, Adelaide 9, Brisbane 11, Melbourne 20. All houses averaged 15.4.

So, while you pay extra for every additional star above the current minimum of 6, you are still getting a very leaky home.

READ MORE ABOUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY ON OUR BLOG

ENOUGH TALK,

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