If you are building a new home in the Northern Territory or renovating your current property, you may be wondering whether a whirly bird or solar roof ventilation is better. The first thing to consider is that it is not likely that a single whirly bird will provide sufficient ventilation. In fact, you will need a number of whirly birds if you want to make any impact on energy efficiency.
Whirly birds are a cheap option and they do not pose many problems when it comes to installation. However, the number of whirly birds that you will need to provide sufficient energy efficiency should factor heavily in your decision. Solar roof ventilation, on the other hand, is all but guaranteed to pay for itself over the long term.
There is no doubt that whirly birds are the most cost effective option at the point of installation. The problem is, when winter rolls around you will lose heat due to what is essentially a whirly bird design flaw. You will find that you end up throwing cash away on increased energy bills during the colder months because your whirly birds do an effective job of extracting much needed heat from your home.
Unfortunately, the same flaw does not translate to the summer months when you are suffocating from the heat. Whirly birds don’t always do a great job of cooling unless there is sufficient wind. When the weather is hot and dry, whirly birds can be next to useless for extracting hot air from the home.
All of these considerations will depend on how well your whirly birds are designed. If you pay more for whirly bird systems that are designed to compensate for periods when there is no wind. This type of whirly bird is known as “active” and is run by a turbine.
Solar Roof Ventilation
A solar roof ventilation system consists of small solar panels that are used to feed power to an exhaust fan that is nested inside the frame. Unlike a passive whirly bird, solar roof ventilation panels are actually activated when internal roof temperatures exceed 25 degrees celsius. That means the system is designed to work as efficiently as possible by only using power when things start heating up.
You won’t lose precious heat in the winter because the built in thermostat controls when heat is extracted through the turbine. This means that solar roof ventilation performs the same functions as whirly birds but more efficiently. You only need one solar roof exhaust vent for every 10 whirly birds, saving you a considerable amount of money in installation costs.
The bottom line is that solar roof ventilation systems are designed with energy efficiency in mind. You may pay more to install a solar roof ventilation system but you will get that money back with year round ventilation that effectively reduces your energy costs.
Both passive and active whirly birds can provide effective ventilation depending on the climate where you live in the Northern Territory. You will also need to take other passive design elements in your home into account when comparing whirly birds to solar roof ventilation. If the layout of your rooms provides effective air flow and your windows and doors are well ventilated, whirly birds may be the most cost effective option when the difference in roof ventilation is negligible. In all cases, consult with your architect or builder for further advice before making a choice.
For expert building inspections, speak to the professionals from Houspect in the Northern Territory. We provide detailed reports that are easy to interpret so you can relay any recommendations to your builder to help ensure a smooth build or renovation.