In the past houses were designed and then built on land to sit in the middle of the land and face the street. Bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms were positioned according to the plan, not where the sun tends to be or where the prevailing wind blows. Houses were built without insulation, and with very little thought of using the sun to light or heat the property.
As modern design techniques have been developed, and architects, builders and planners have learnt more, houses are changing.
There are three key elements to smart energy houses.
1. Energy-efficient design, building or alterations create smart houses. Houses and buildings that are designed for the sun, make the best use of light and heat, are insulated, and have solar water heating, save energy. These buildings ideally need to have permanent heating which makes best use of energy options. Features such as sky-lights, double glazing and optimal room size and internal doors are also major contributors.
2. Having a sustainability plan for alterations or new building is important. This is about using the right materials that will conserve heat and adapt to a range of environmental conditions. Design can ensure buildings don’t ‘leak’ heat, and those that do either in the short or longer term will use more energy.
3. Energy conscious interiors using appliances with high energy efficiency ratings are an important contributing factor is making the best use of energy. Heating and clothes and dish cleaning should be energy smart. Furnishings, in particular curtains and carpets, can be appropriate to the structure and the spaces within it.