Design for the future and reduce your carbon footprint

Design for the future and reduce your carbon footprint


renovation ideas

So you’ve decided to renovate. As well as planning for more space, a new kitchen, bathrooms and finishes, would you like to reduce your carbon footprint, too?

By Linda Haefeli

Buildings contribute around 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. If all new and renovated buildings were designed to encourage users to live an ecologically sustainable lifestyle, which includes the elements of passive and active design, recycling of waste, consideration of the type of transport used and food gardens, a considerable decrease in our carbon footprint can be achieved.

Questions to Ask


• How big should the renovation be?
• If you are efficient with the size of the renovation, can you save money which can be used for PVs, water tanks, ESD features?
• Have you designed for durability and reconfiguration?

Site analysis
• How will you affect the neighbours by this renovation?
• Can you keep significant features of the local ecosystem such as trees, rock outcrops?
• Have you minimised the disturbance of the existing ground?

Passive design
• Can the orientation of internal and external living rooms maximise solar access, daylight?
• Can you maximise cross-ventilation utilising cooling summer breezes and ceiling fans so that air-conditioning is not required?
• Can zoned areas be closed off when not in use to avoid the need to heat and cool the whole house?
• Does the roof design allow the hot air to escape in summer via a thermal chimney?
• Can thermal mass be provided to absorb winter sun then release the heat when the sun moves away?
• Have you considered the most suitable type of construction for your location?

• Can you conserve energy by using maximum daylight so that lights do not have to be turned on? Be aware of where energy is being used. Turn off standby switches, computers, appliances at power points.
• Have you considered the most suitable type of construction for your location?
• Do you shade windows with eaves, awnings, external blinds, external louvres to minimise heat gain in summer?

• Has the design of the renovation minimised the need for air-conditioning through passive energy design principles — orientation, thermal mass, wall and roof construction, insulation?
• Have you considered hydronic heating — water-reticulated pipes in wall-mounted radiators or placed into the floor? Heating can be through a gas boiler or solar panels or heat pump.

• Are you aware of the different sources of energy-efficient lighting available now? Dimmers reduce the lighting levels and power consumption. Movement detectors are usually known for external lighting control but can be easily employed internally.

Sustainable materials
• Consider selection of materials with regard to embodied energy used in production, transportation kilometres — FSC timber, recycled timber, locally produced materials, selection of materials with minimal offgassing and toxicity — low VOC paints, boards, adhesives, sealants, insulation.

• Insulation is one of the most important considerations to achieve thermal comfort in your home. The standards required are modest. If more high-performance insulation is installed in the walls, roofs and under floors, your house will perform so much better that the need for air-conditioning could be eliminated.

Waste reduction
• Will building waste be recycled on site?
• Have you allocated space in the garden for composting waste?

Salvage and recycling
• Can elements of the existing building be reused?
• Will demolition materials be separated on site and then taken to recycling depots?

Renewable energy
• Will you install Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof for the electricity needs of your family? You can become your own power provider and with the feed-in tariff be reimbursed for that electricity.


Sanctum Design