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Efficient House Design

Efficient House Design: Windows, insulation & more

May 2, 2011 | Green Rate

Orientation and Layout:

• A north facing orientation is highly beneficial
• Locate non-habitable rooms to west (e.g. bathrooms, laundry, garage) and main living and kitchen zones to north
• Consider the location of the house in relation to adjacent buildings

Building Size and Design:

• Minimise external wall area – simple designs often perform best
• The bigger the house and the higher the ceilings, the more difficult to get higher star ratings


• Avoid high window to floor area ratio or choose energy efficient windows
• Maximise north windows
• Minimise western windows, and to a lesser extent eastern windows
• Minimise or eliminate southern windows
• Double glazing is generally more effective than low-e or tinted glazing in Victoria
• Timber, UPVC, or improved aluminium window frames provide higher star ratings than standard aluminium


• Insulate ceilings (R3.5+)
• Insulate all external walls (R2.0+)
• Insulate suspended floors (R2.5+)
• Insulate internal walls connecting to non-habitable rooms (e.g. bathrooms, laundry, garage)
• Insulating a slab on ground or the use of a waffle slab can often add around half a star or more in Victoria


• Use appropriate shading for windows
• Important to maximise solar access to northern windows in winter, and shade western windows in summer


• Provide draught/weather seals to external doors and windows
• Use self-sealing exhaust fans, dampers on chimneys and flues, and sealed roof lights

Where can you find further information?

For design advise to maximise the star energy rating of your new home, call Green Rate on (03) 9439 1167.