Renovating to Improve Energy Efficiency - All Innovative Building
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Renovating to Improve Energy Efficiency

Renovating to Improve Energy Efficiency

Home energy efficiency performance is about ensuring your internal and external designs promote energy efficiency. Your exterior should comprise of a weatherproofed façade which protects from local elements while the internals should promote efficiency through clever layout and design choices.  

Energy efficiency is measurable so we definitely recommend undergoing a professional energy audit prior to renovating. Professional audits comprehensively highlight a properties energy efficiencies and deficiencies. These findings make life easier guiding owners where to focus renovation efforts to mitigate energy bleed.

An option available to property owners in NSW (or a requirement if renovations exceed $50,000 in value) is to undertake a Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) assessment.

The assessment measures your energy and water efficiency and considers your location, house orientation and widow sizes to benchmark your buildings performance against energy efficiency requirements set by the NSW government.

For renovations not exceeding $50,000 or in pool/spa installations of less than 40,000L in capacity you may elect for a DIY energy audit.

DIY guides will take you through a checklist of things to check around your property including your; insulation, ventilation, lighting, appliances and air leaks.

The flaw of the DIY approach is the lack of diagnostic measurement tools at your disposal. This increases the chances of underestimating issues, especially within your buildings structure. Ultimately if you make the wrong call you could decrease your new renovations energy efficiency potential.

Whether you choose the professional route or the DIY approach your findings should point you in the right direction of which energy efficient renovations your property may need

Common energy efficient improving renovations are likely to include;

Simpler Weatherproofing options

  • Resealing windows, doors and cracks to promote air tightness and reduce moisture.   
  • Service your HVAC system or replace faulty old systems with newer energy efficient models.
  • Replacing old weathered stripping surrounding your windows and doors.
  • Increase your air sealing in key locations to promote airflow.
  • Minor roof restorations to repair the building envelope to improve performance.
  • Replacing your incandescent bulbs with energy saving options including compact florescent and smart bulbs.

    Structural renovations to promote energy efficiency

    Similar to the suggestions listed above; many of the structural energy efficiency renovations are the natural next steps depending on the scope of your build and your budget. This is by no means a definitive list, but rather a guide to the most common structural energy efficiency renovations.  

    • Increase/decrease spacing: Increasing or decreasing the space between your floor, garage walls or ceilings can optimise the space depending on the airflow and the climate your property exists in. Smaller or larger spaces both have their benefits depending on the positioning of the property and it’s wise to consider these structural changes to promote household energy efficiency.  

    • Complete insulation replacement or change: Depending on the condition and your accessibility to used materials (if you want to be environmentally conscious) replacement of existing insulation can drastically improve your property’s thermals.

      If you haven’t considered alternatives to regular insulation, you can substitute it with any of the following;

    • Cotton
    • Denim
    • Icynene
    • Sheep’s Wool
    • Aerogel
    • Polystyrene
    • Cellulose
    • Thermacork

    • Replacing or rethinking your HVAC system: You could consider a larger or smaller system depending on your space. If you can get away with it a smaller split system solution depending on your needs and space, it is strong recommended when it comes to minimise wasted energy.

    • Adding a secondary purpose to an existing system: This could allow for massive energy efficiency increase. For example if you can’t stand the “cold” of a Sydney winter, think about installing under floor piping to reduce heating costs. This idea lends itself from colder climates where households reduce thermal heating costs by utlising heating from their water piping system.
       
    • Complete roof replacement: A new material or a colour change can make a huge difference to a worn weathered roof. Research shows that light coloured roof tiles can lower the air temperature in your roof space by up to nine degrees compared to dark tiles. This can make a huge difference to your long term energy bill with reduced air conditioning requirements.

    Will energy efficient improvements hurt my wallet?

    Adding new additions or extensions to your home often requires a rethink of the existing systems listed above. Performance will change with a decrease or increase in your habitable space. Making the right choices now can make all the difference in the long run with some forward planning.

    If return on investment is your driving force and you’re working with limited budget, but know you need to increase your energy efficiency we strongly suggest checking out what government rebates or incentives are on offer.

    The government often has various incentives for households to adopt cleaner options which if otherwise not provide would cost you thousands to implement.

    The most popular of the rebates we’ve see related to household energy efficiency is the small-scale renewable energy scheme which can entitle households of rebates of up to $3,700 for the installation of a solar system.  

    If you’re interested in undertaking a renovation to improve your properties energy efficiency please contact us because we’d love to hear from you and help turn your visions into reality.

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