When it comes to creating energy efficient and low carbon emission housing, Europe has generally been miles ahead of the Australian market. Fortunately, a growing concern about the environment and the desire to reduce energy costs has allowed many European innovations to begin to appear in Australia. This is exciting news for Australian homeowners and for those who are planning to build a new home in the near future. Here are two effective and money-saving features that you may like to consider for your home.
1. Double glazed windows
Double glazed windows have been in use for many years in European countries. They are beginning to appear more often on the Australian market and with good reason. Double glazing significantly reduces heat loss and heat gain through your home's windows, which means an equally significant saving in heating and cooling costs.
Double glazing works by using two panels of glass in each window casing instead of the single pane traditionally used in Australian homes. As well as the added insulation properties of the extra layer of glass, the space between the two panes also reduces the amount of heat transferred through the window. The glass is also coated with a specially designed film, which improves both the insulation properties and also makes the glass stronger and more durable.
2. Under-floor heating
Under-floor heating is another innovation that is hugely popular in Europe but has been seriously underutilised in Australia in the past. However, its many benefits and eco-credentials mean that this type of heating system is becoming increasingly popular with Australians.
Under-floor heating works by laying a network of hot water pipes in the concrete foundations of your home. As hot water flows through the pipes, the concrete heats up and gently warms your home from the ground up. Because heat rises, if your home's ceiling is adequately insulated it will contain the heat beautifully and create a warm and pleasant internal environment even during the coldest winter weather.
The main reason why this such an effective and low-cost way to heat your home is because of the thermal mass qualities of the concrete floor. In simple terms, this means that concrete holds heat for a longer time than most other building materials, so that even when your underfloor heating is switched off, the concrete will be passively warming your home.
Using innovations such as these makes sense. Not only will your home be far more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, it will also cost you far less to heat and cool.