Well, join the club!
Most of us live in homes – and work in buildings – that…well…leak like the proverbial sieve.
That’s because they have been designed and built with little thought to energy efficiency. No Passive House for us.
In Australia, we have only had a minimum efficiency requirement for homes since 2003
And that energy rating only applies to the building design for new homes.
The Australian home energy rating scheme doesn’t apply to the actual construction or how the building is operated…or to housing built before 2003. What materials and technology are used, how they are installed, and your own behaviour can make a tremendous difference to how energy-efficient building is in practice. (Update: The scheme is updated from time to time and now considers materials and typical usage patterns. It still does not consider actual construction details, finishes, appliances installed or actual usage.)
And it’s in practice that matters. Because that’s when we feel too cold or too hot and turn up the heating or cooling…and turn up our energy bills.
So now, as we head into the coolest (or the warmest) part of the year, it’s a good time to check your home and office for opportunities for unwanted movement of heat into or out of the building.
The aim is to only heat the inside of your home – not the air outside. (In summer the same basic principle applies during the heat of the day.)
First, check your insulation:
- Is there any?
- Is insulation that is there still all in place?
- Is bulk installation still fully lofted…or has it become compressed? The aim should be to meet – or preferably exceed – the current minimum recommended insulation rating for your area.
- Do all your windows have close-fitting, insulating window coverings?
Second, check for air leaks through gaps and cracks where any two surfaces meet in the shell of the building. Look around:
- skirting boards
- built in cupboard
- pipes going through the wall…
In other words, check for any openings that can lead to the outside (no matter how small) – and seal them. And you should do this on the inside and outside of the building. 😉
Doing just these two things will dramatically improve the ability of your home or workplace to remain at a comfortable temperature…without costing the earth.
Remember that the best energy for the planet and your hip pocket is the energy you don’t use.
What’s your biggest challenge to make your home or workplace more energy efficient? Just leave your comments in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.
Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!