Energy efficient house design

Energy efficient house renovation

Here comes the moment you should think about the Energy efficiency of your future house if building a new one or if your house needs to be renovated and namely how you can take an advantage on the energy that surrounds us coming from the sun, the wind, the air and the earth. The aim is to reduce the overall energy consumption in order to achieve a constant microclimate without any heating or cooling system. Observations indicate that the energy costs can be reduced up to 85% by using energy efficient technologies.

Here are some recommendations on energy efficient house designs from our practice in building:

When building a new house in Bulgaria

Solar design

If building a new house in Bulgaria – before you start a building project, the building site and its climate should be carefully evaluated to determine the optimum design and orientation for the house. Decisions regarding appropriate windows, doors, and heating, cooling and ventilating appliances a central to an efficient design. The typical house loses more than 25 percent of its heat through windows. Therefore your house should, in general have few windows on its northern, eastern and western sides.

Passive solar house designSolar house design

The house has to be designed so that the south facing windows absorb energy from the sun thus the premises that are used more often, living- and dining-room for example will use the direct sunshine as a heating source during winter months. It is very important that your house is facing to the south so ask your designer when making the project.

In summer months it is recommended to place some sun-shades over the windows or to find any other way of sun protection because overheating causes discomfort in the house.


Insulation reduces heat loss and it is an essential component towards achieving the best results for energy saving. A high standard of insulation materials built into the roof, external walls and ground floor is essential to achieve thermal comfort for the occupants. Insulation reduces unwanted heat loss or heat gain and will reduce the energy demands of heating systems. The level of insulation required will depend on the design calculations.

Heat Distribution

For full energy efficiency you may anticipate solar hot water heating, a whole house ventilation system with heat exchanger providing both heating and cooling of the air - fresh air may be brought into the house through underground ducts that exchange heat with the soil. This preheats fresh air to a temperature above 5°C (41°F), even on cold winter days. This is called passive preheating of fresh air.

Double and Triple Glazing

High performance windows are manufactured with exceptionally high thermal values. They normally combine double or triple-pane insulated glazing, low emissivity (low-E) coated glass, argon or krypton gas filled gaps, insulated glass spacers and specially developed thermally broken window frames. Expertly designed, assembled and installed those double or triple glazing windows will significantly reduce energy. The standard values of windows used in Bulgaria are about 1.8-2.2 W/m2K (U-value)


Blinds are of great use curtains for insulation, mainyly in the winter time. They are best for blocking the heat of direct sunlight in summer. South facing windows are are a great asset in winter months but can be such a pain in the hot moths. The best shading is external - overhangs and external blinds. Otherwise, blackout blinds with guide rails are very effective and internal blinds are helping too.

Energy-efficient house sample
Energy efficient house

Energy efficiency and Renoavtion

If repairing an old house - most of the foreign owners have bought old properties in Bulgaria in order to use them as summer houses. As the repair can be carried out without a project we would like to give you some practical advices how you can make your house more comfortable for living and how to avoid the summer heat without installing an air conditioner in the house.

Ceiling insulation

It is essential to properly insulate the ceiling. This is usually done by installing new ceilings of plasterboard and placing glass mineral wool above the plasterboards. Where possible the old ceiling can stay so the new ceiling is made under the existing ceiling that serves as a second insulation. A good ceiling insulation stops the heat transfer from the roof construction.

Inside insulation on external walls

Good wall insulation with glass mineral wool and plasterboard from the inside is more that required in order avoiding the heat penetration though the walls. Be aware that this could narrow the size of the room with 12-15cm in both directions so it is not always possible. The houses in the Bulgaria villages are usually having small sized room that is why we reccomend to glue the plasterboardswith the proper adhesive directly to the wall The air that stays between the two surfaces – the wall and the plasterboard - serves as an additional insulation (plasterboards are made of gypsum which is a insulating product itself) and for this reason the outside insulation on the external walls could be saved especially if the walls outside are plastered and are in good condition. PVC windows with double glazing are a must. Blinds or thick curtains are recommended to stop the direct sunshine coming through the windows

These are some of the major steps that are essential to follow if you wish to have a house providing a superior comfort even in the hottest summer days.

Dense evergreen planting next to the west wall will provide shade against the hot summer sun and a wind barrier against cold winter and will also make your property look more attractive.

Builder in Bulgaria - Contact You can contact us if you are looking for a Builder in Bulgaria. We are general builders covering all aspects of construction including Property Renovation, Repairs and Property finishes in Bulgaria. Click here to >> Contact us <<

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Eco building in Bulgaria?

Eco homes in Bulgaria?

Building Eco homes in Bulgaria?Problems associated with the climatic changes and the environment that are much discussed in recent years led to necessity of developing such projects that require the usage of the great variety of strategies for energy saving. This - from one hand and  decreasing the influence of the existence of these buildings over the environment – from the other and last but not least – forming resources for recycling of the building materials happens to be quite a big problem especially when renewing the building fund.

In this connection, the term “stable development” appeared meaning work in two directions – satisfying people’s needs and simultaneously keeping the natural resources for future generations or simply said – sensible and purposefully usage of the natural resources. This is one of the basic principals in the ecological way of living.

Thus the so called “ecological building” was born – a structure that is designed to create and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with all of the elements of its local ecology.
Obviously, this new ecological direction in building provokes a huge interest among both designers and home owners all over the world.  Different certificates to prove the environmental credentials of the buildings have been worked out which certificates by the way are all quite similar in their parameters and the stage of their certification.

In order that these new standards are being used in practice it is not enough to talk about them but it is very important to provide the needed resources, time, ambition and many efforts to build a whole system for stable development based on specific purposes and results. There are several certificates in the world that cover the new ecological standards. 

The UK certificate for eco buildings

The Breeam certificateBREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. Developed in the early 1990s, based on many years of construction and environmental research, it sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.

The version of the BREAM certificate for houses is Ecohomes. It provides an authoritative rating for new, converted or renovated homes, and covers houses, flats and apartments. Ecohomes balances environmental performance with the need for a high quality of life and a safe and healthy internal environment. Many of the issues are optional, ensuring Ecohomes is flexible enough to be tailored to a particular development or market.
BREEAM is used by  Clients, planners’ development agencies, funders and developers to specify the sustainability performance of their buildings in a way that is quick, comprehensive, highly visible in the marketplace and provides a level playing field.  
Property agents use it to promote the environmental credentials and benefits of a building to potential purchasers and tenants.
Design teams use it as a tool to improve the performance of their buildings and their own experience and knowledge of environmental aspects of sustainability.
Managers use it to reduce running costs, measure and improve the performance of buildings, empower staff, develop action plans and monitor and report performance at both the single building and portfolio level.

We can say that BREEAM is the leading environmental assessment method for buildings, with over 110,000 buildings certified and over half a million registered for certification. BREEAM is used all around the world and can be used to assess a single development or a portfolio of developments both within and across national boundaries. BREEAM has a particular benefit in that it can be readily adapted to local regulation and conditions.

Specific versions of BREEAM are available for the UK, the Gulf and Europe. BREEAM schemes can also be tailored for use for any specific country or region, and will address the following:

  • categories of environmental issues
  • environmental weightings
  • details of the construction methods, products and materials
  • references to local codes, standards and good practice guides

The objective of BREEAM Europe is to drive the construction industry in each country over and above the local building regulations. Even if the set of issues being assessed under BREEAM Europe is the same across the whole region, each building assessed under BREEAM Europe is compared against a national baseline. An Excellent building in Sweden may therefore be different from an Excellent building in Bulgaria.

Another major objective of BREEAM Europe is also to recognize local context and issues, and to give the opportunity to design teams in each country to have their local best practice codes and standards recognized. Country specific reference sheets are available alongside the BREEAM Europe manual to indicate any information or standards specific to the country of assessment. A process has also been put in place to allow the BREEAM International assessor and the design team to determine whether other local best practice construction codes can be recognized in the assessment.

Different countries have different climates which may impact on:

  • Weightings
  • Cooling strategy & energy consumption
  • Type of renewable technologies
  • Different infrastructures which may impact on:
  • Capacity to recycle waste
  • Capacity to cycle to and form buildings

It is important to know that the assessment proving the environmental credentials of a building in accordance with BREEAM certificate is made by independent assessors only who have the required training. Assessments can be carried out at different stages: at design stage, within the construction process or at post construction stage but the best option is at design stage because assessments could be carried out from the very beginning through the whole planning process thus providing more possibilities. As previously mentioned the valuation is made by independent assessor but the certificate is issued from the UK Company BRE Global.

In Bulgaria, still there are no BREEAM certificate trained assessors but probably in the near future this will happen because the company has already opened an office in the country. A BREEAM certified building has many advantages such as quality of life, planning and safety of the costs, increased quality of the property itself, positive effect on the environment, high level of security and last but not least considerably decreased  energy consumption and all running costs.


If we summarize all the above said perhaps here comes the conclusion that this is the future as seen by the former futurologists and that this ecological building is not just a new trend but a necessity and a way out of threatening global glow and decreasing of the resources world wide. More over, the raise of the cost of such building is more than slightly compared to the advantages it offers to its occupants as well as to the environment itself.       

Builder in Bulgaria - Contact You can contact us if you are looking for a Builder in Bulgaria. We are general builders covering all aspects of construction including Property Renovation, Repairs and Property finishes in Bulgaria. Click here to >> Contact us <<

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