• Sustainable Building Design for New Construction

    2 Feb, 2016 | 126 views

    You think you’ve considered all of the possibilities when it comes to your new construction, but have you factored in the affects of climate change? Governmental reports indicate the alarming effects of global warming could be particularly harsh in Melbourne over the next decades, making it important for today’s builder to plan for tomorrow. While decreasing rainfall, increasing temperatures and shorter Winters are likely to bring substantial changes, there are steps you can take during the building process which can help to mitigate some of the worst effects.

    Sustainable Building Decisions
    Before you begin any work on your new home or commercial property, it’s wise to start factoring in sustainable building choices from the outset. Everything from the land you choose to the design of your structure can be optimized for the coming changes in climate. Balancing your vision of a dream home with more sustainable practices can make all the difference. While open floor plans have been a prevailing trend, for instance, there are a few reasons why they may not be ideal for day-to-day living. In addition to increased noise, climate control in open floor plans can be more difficult and expensive. During the design phase, consider plans with separate areas and standard-height ceilings. They’ll be more cost-effective to cool and more energy efficient.

    Consider building orientation for passive energy conservation, allowing for maximum natural light during the day by situating living areas along the north-facing side of the home. Bedrooms, on the other hand, can be cooler during the evening and night hours when they’re south-facing. Limiting the number of windows on the east and west sides of a structure can prevent excessive temperatures throughout the day, though trees and shrubbery along these sides can help to block the afternoon and morning sun. Likewise, elevated flooring can reduce the overall temperature of your home. Even seemingly simple choices, like double-glazing windows, can help you to create a more comfortable and sustainable home.

    The construction materials you choose will also have a substantial affect. Thermal mass provided by stone, brick and concrete can retain heat, while lighter materials contribute to a cooler home. The right insulation is one of the more obvious factors, but one of the more surprising building choices which can impact the overall temperature of your home is the exterior color scheme. Considering light colors, including a light-colored metal roof, can make a very real difference. In fact, dark colors can absorb up to ninety percent of the sun’s radiant energy. This directly translates to increased temperature, while light or cool colors will retain much less heat.

    Bringing It All Together
    Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, and you’ll want to plan for the foreseeable future when making building and design decisions. Just overseeing the product and design choices can be a full-time job, then you’re still faced with making sure work is progressing and up to all relevant standards. Balancing costs and standard building techniques with the demands of a changing climate is essential, but can also be an overwhelming task.

    Working with a professional building inspection company can help to alleviate much of the pressure. A knowledgeable and reputable building inspector can not only make sure all of the work on your property is progressing at a reasonable pace, but also that it’s being completed properly and in keeping with standards. You’re able to spend your time choosing the best building materials and most efficient products, while a professional oversees the building process. Making informed decisions can be one of the most important parts of creating a comfortable, sustainable property capable of seeing you through the coming changes. Take the time to learn about building design and products while your project is being monitored through stage construction inspections and periodic evaluations. Together, you, your builder and a building inspector can ensure your new home is ready to weather even the most extreme changes in climate.