Our 6 star, part J and DTS energy assessors at Energy Rating Perth have a range of advice to offer to both building designers as well as the home buyers who want to ensure their building gives them savings in the long run. If you are designing or building a home, it is best to include passive design measures into your building design at the initial building design stage.

Some passive design measures are as follows:

  1. Designing for the climate: It is important to understand the micro-climate of the region the building is placed in. A building might be placed in a hot and dry climate, some are located close to the ocean might want to take advantage of the sea breeze while those in the city might avoid letting the hot air, noise and pollution infiltrate into the building.
  2. Building Orientation and Shading: A north oriented building takes full advantage of the sun for solar heat gain during the winter and daylighting. In the summer, keeping the angle of sun into consideration, appropriate shading can help keep the harsh summer sun out.
  3. Glazing and Window Type: A perfect orientation, building massing and building envelope can completely fail if the glazing is not optimised. Glazing can be chosen for passive heating, passive cooling or both. By balancing out the U-value and SHGC, the glazing can aid and retention of heat gain as well as keeping the heat out through the values or the treatment of the window (low-e, reflective etc.). The window type also plays an instrumental role in the heat gain/rejection due to the way the window is framed but also determines the efficiency of natural ventilation due to its size, placement and opening mechanism which can greatly improve thermal comfort for warmer climates.
  4. Thermal Mass: Thermal mass can effectively be used for solar gain by retaining the heat and absorbing it in the winter from a warm interior (in the case of reverse veneer wall). Like all passive design strategies, this has to be done keeping the climate in mind and the overall target of the building.
  5. Building Envelope and Insulation: Choosing the correct building materials is crucial for maintaining a building envelope that has a good thermal performance. Factors like thermal mass, behaviour of certain materials, placement of windows, type of flooring all determine the heat exchange which will occur between the external environment and the interior. It is key to use insulation as it acts like a barrier to the heat flow by increasing the thermal resistance of the building. The selection of insulation depends on the climate while the efficiency of the insulation depends on the efficacy with which it is installed. Having a well-insulated and sealed building envelope ensures that all passive heating and/or cooling methods are fully effective as a constant internal temperature can be maintained.

For more information on how you can maximise solar passive benefits in your home or next upcoming project contact Energy Rating Perth today! Energy Rating Perth are your local 6 star, DTS, Green Star and Part J specialists.