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Green Smart Magazine : 2009_new
greensmart 9 5 Designing your home to suit the climate means understanding your climate zone and making the most of passive solar design principles. n order to maximise the environmental performance of your home it is important to first understand the core principles of designing and building to suit your local climate. By incorporating design elements into your home that respond to this climate you can help to maximise the thermal performance of your home all year round. The national building regulations classify Australia into eight climatic regions which determine what thermal performance a new home needs to have. These climate zones are based on whether the local climate creates a need to cool the home during summer (a cooling climate), heat the home during winter (a heating climate) or have mixed climates where both heating and cooling is required (a mixed climate). Design and structural elements ORIENTATION AND SHADING Appropriate orientation and shading helps to reduce the need to artificially heat and cool a home. When choosing a block of land, consider the orientation so that you can design or renovate a home to make the most of the local climate. I design designing for your climate story > Janine Nechwatal WHEN CHOOSING A BLOCK OF LAND, CONSIDER THE ORIENTATION SO THAT YOU CAN DESIGN A HOME OR RENOVATION TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE LOCAL CLIMATE > For cooling climates -- Position the home to exclude the sun in summer by using fixed and adjustable shading for walls and windows, and locate doors and windows to maximise cooling breezes. For cooling and heating climates -- Place habitable rooms, such as lounge, living and rumpus rooms, on the northern side of the home to receive passive heating in winter, and place bedrooms on the cooler south side. In built-up areas, consider the surrounding buildings and vegetation and minimise any negative impacts by adjusting the design. FLOOR CONSTRUCTION The floor construction dictates a home's connectedness with the earth. Based on the climate zone the floor can make a significant difference in the thermal performance. For cooling climates -- Elevated homes allow cool breezes underneath and provide opportunities for controlled air entry into the home. For cooling and heating climates -- Concrete slabs provide a connection with the earth, and can be further insulated in extreme cold to utilise the stable temperature of the ground. On sloping sites, insulating raised floors or enclosing the sub-floor area can improve thermal performance in winter. GLAZING The correct selection of glazing for your climate, orientation and design of the home will help to increase the home's thermal efficiency which can control heat gain and loss. Photo courtesy Natural Lifestyle Homes