There are lots of design concepts that will affect the energy efficiency of your new home, but one thing is out of the hands of the designers and falls right into your lap – colour choices.
Your colour choices will have a dramatic affect on just how energy efficient your new home is but unfortunately, colour choices don’t come into the equation with the way the energy rating is calculated (just one of its many shortfalls).
How Colour Can Have A Big Impact
When I was a teenager I lived with my parents in an old house in Applecross. It was always their intention to renovate the home and increase the number of rooms along with making it more modern. This process obviously takes time, so we lived in the old house for 6 months while plans were being drawn and government approvals were being given.
During that first 6 months, we endured a typical Perth summer. It was hot. Stinking hot. There was no air conditioning and no ceiling fans. Although we were close to the river, the sea-breeze didn’t come through the house and cool it down. It was typical of a lot of homes, built with no consideration to the elements.
The time came to renovate and my Dad and I helped out the builders by demolishing walls, stripping old wallpaper and countless other small jobs. After a few months the home had a complete face-lift. The original brown brickwork was rendered and painted white, the old brown roof tiles had been replaced with a wonderful new off-white colourbond roof and a few pergolas were added that were painted a bright blue.
I can only think my mother came up with the colour scheme after a visit to some Greek islands.
Once the renovations were complete, we moved back in. The home still didn’t have air conditioning, but our bedrooms did have ceiling fans. The biggest surprise of all was how little we had to use them! Our home was comfortable all year round.
It was the first time I realised;
A good home design built for its location, along with clever colour and material selection can make such a big difference to the comfort levels of those who lived in the home.
Most of us know these things and they’re fairly simple in theory. It’s also evident in nature all around us. Dark colours will absorb the heat and light colours will reflect the heat.
Take a look at this Chameleon to see this same colour principle in nature;
People around the globe understand these colour principles and the affect they can have on energy efficiency. Have a look at the cold weather extreme, Iceland. In this harsh cold climate, people use dark colours to naturally absorb the heat as much as possible.
So, given our environment in Perth – being hot and dry mostly, with a fairly short cold spell in winter, it makes sense to do the opposite to those in Iceland. Think about the colours you’re going to choose for the outside of your home and consider using lighter colours which will reflect the heat.
When you come to build your new home you’ll be required to meet 6 star energy efficiency. Colours won’t play a part in the technical calculations, but fortunately for you, you’ve read this article and now know how simple it is to make a few colour choices that can make a difference to the comfort levels of you and your family.