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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
    Posts
    13

    Default My new "Form before Function" house sucks when it comes to sun and rain

    Hey everyone,

    Just bought a house and I was wooed and dazzled by the solar panels, solar hot water and didn't realise until the 4th month that this house is pretty poorly designed.
    The eves are small and high up and the windows have no hoods or awnings so sun and rain just comes in unchecked. The western wall (pictured) bakes and cooks 2 bedrooms, the office and the en-suite, especially through that big glass window. The kitchen has gas stove/range and it heats up heaps. So essentially the living areas of the house (1st floor) suck to be in for most of the day.

    The positives are insulation under the roof iron, foil sarking under the hardiplank walls and a massive roof cavity which doesn't get really hot and downstairs which is usually pretty cool.

    I was planning to plant some tall thin trees on western side of house (not much land on that side) and some external screens over the windows. But the missus says why spend money on screens when the heat is probably getting through the whole wall, which is a fair point.

    So my question is - whats the best bang for buck things I could do to keep this house cool? Whirly birds? Screens?

    I'm hoping the picture link works or this is going to be a difficult conversation.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Most houses are poorly designed, this is from poorly trained drafters and housing companies just building to the block without any though of sustainable design.

    The house doesn't look that old, what year was it built? from that you should be able to see what the legal minimum insulation that was installed in that period.

    installing window shades/screens if there is airflow behind it and blocking the western sun will make a difference, it does depend on your insulation level.

    When it comes to choosing tree's, look at the height it will grow to and find something that will provide dense coverage.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Built in 2005. The plans say foil faced blanket is under the roof iron (R1.5) and there is reflective building membrane (foil) on the east and west elevations. That got the house a tick for "satisfying the building code of Australia Energy Efficiency Requirements". That foil stuff on the walls is R0.7 isn't it?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJohns View Post
    Built in 2005. The plans say foil faced blanket is under the roof iron (R1.5) and there is reflective building membrane (foil) on the east and west elevations. That got the house a tick for "satisfying the building code of Australia Energy Efficiency Requirements". That foil stuff on the walls is R0.7 isn't it?
    I don't have anything that has the standards back in 2005, someone may know.

    It all depends on what foil the builder used, it would have been minimum requirement at least for that time.

    There is minimum requirement and then there is best practice.

    Best practice add's stuff all, you are already paying for the installation, but as people have tight budgets don't care about whats inside the walls it's often minimum requirement.

    If it is foil, it is suppose to reflect 95% of radiant heat, so its better than nothing..

    An option is to make up some Angled shades/screens to still allow light from the North West, but still blocking the Western sun.

    Another option is to apply a reflective tint to reduce the heat from coming inside the dwelling.

    As, for the trees, you can go out every hour and work out were the sun is in relation to the proposed trees to see when they will apply shading.

    you could work this out with using your title plan using the latitude of the block and and applying a sun path, but its easier if the building is already there, to go out and check when the sun starts hitting the side and when it stops.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    used to live in Sydney, now it's Canada
    Age
    64
    Posts
    10,741

    Default

    Not knowing what your Council building rules are, could you screen the entire west facing wall leaving an air gap between the screen and the bricks?

    another option would be to keep the western wall wet on hot sunny days. Evaporative cooling would then keep a fair amount of heat out of the walls.

    replace the gas oven with an electric one. Keep the gas cook top. Install an exhaust fan to pull the heat, from cooking, out of the kitchen.

    lastly, air con run from the solar panels.
    regards from Canada

    ian

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Sydney,Australia
    Posts
    3,152

    Default

    If you go the tree screen process you will have to wait several years for them to get tall enough to give any benefit. You would probably be looking for some of the 'pencil pine' trees, planted about 60-90cm apart to get good coverage, height varies by species, some stop around 4-5 metres and some will grow to around 30 metres - just make sure the nurseryman is reliable, its a bit hard to take a 20 metre tree back and demand a refund in 15 years.

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