When building your home, you’ll want to make sure it stays the perfect temperature all year round. For those with extreme changes in climate over the seasons, heat management is vital. While thinking of your construction plan, you need to be aware of three heat management systems: the conduction of heat via thermal mass of insulation material, the control of airflow, and moisture management. If you ignore these key values while building your home, you’ll reduce the energy efficiency of the entire property and drive up the electricity bill. By keeping these concepts in mind while you build your house, you can ensure the structure will moderate changes in climate. Be aware of the direction of your house to the sun and minimise open spaces to maximise your home’s natural temperature management.
Heat Transferal Aka Thermal Mass Density
Thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb heat. Building materials with a high density such as concrete, bricks or tiles take a large amount of heat to change their temperature. This means they have a high thermal mass. On the other side of the spectrum you’ll find lightweight materials like wood that easily absorb heat and change in temperature. Glazed windows can become resistant to thermal transfer and help to reduce extremes in temperature. The use of insulation materials in walls is also effective if you want to increase thermal density. During the cold months, the insulation material will resist the cold and trap warmer air within. In summer, heat absorbed by cement or other building materials will struggle to pass through the insulating layer, keeping the interior cool. It is imperative to strategically line all walls with undamaged insulation. Gaps or crushed insulation material will drastically reduce the effectiveness.
Small gaps in doors or between windows are your enemy. Once the temperature inside your house is managed, air from the outside will ruin your managed environment. While you are building, be meticulous in sealing each seam and fitting. During summer, you’ll be able to open windows and aerate the house, eliminating moisture problems and overheating. It’s wise to install a ventilation system to manage stuffy indoor environments during winter.
If warm, humid air is abundant in the house during winter, condensation on cold windows or surfaces will occur. Double glazed windows will separate the humid air from the cold glass, solving the problem and adding extra insulation.
When planning your construction, pay specific attention to where you place the windows. Even double glazed, they will always be the weakest point of insulation. During winter, they should point towards the sun for as many hours as possible, soaking up all the available heat energy. In summer, it’s a good idea to shade the windows – protecting them from the harshness of direct sunlight.
Open plan spaces have recently become very popular, but they are bad for heat management. Large open spaces are liable to massive changes in temperature and are vulnerable to draughts. If your mind is set on an open plan living room, make sure there are areas of the house that you can close off for an overall moderate temperature.
Once you have built your insulated home – taking into consideration the thermal mass of the windows and the walls – it’s time to add some extra help. Although insulation should moderate your home by a few degrees, excess systems should be installed. An energy efficient boiler is a great way to simultaneously heat the entire house during winter. If you can’t afford the luxury, then strategically placing dual purpose air conditioners throughout the house will do the trick.