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

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

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.


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