Bryant Alsop considers
every project to have a
responsibility to minimise
its energy input and
output. This is primarily
solar design with good
orientation and planning.
This aims to maximise solar radiation in winter, and minimise radiation in summer. In Australia, living areas are generally oriented to the north, bedrooms to the east and north, and service spaces to the west. These general principals will be balanced with specific site conditions, and the local climate zone, to create an efficient house, with reduced running costs, and a greater level of comfort.
Buildings have differing seasonal demands placed on them, and in some climates these are more extreme. Our buildings aim to minimise the following climatically distinct effects;
- low-E glazing types help to reflect solar radiation
- wide eaves (especially to the north and west) provide shade to windows and walls
- good wall and ceiling insulation help to maintain more constant internal temperatures
- good cross-ventilation (selected types of openable windows) allows for natural cooling
- good ceiling heights allow for more air movement
- green spaces around the house externally help to cool the house (ie.minimise hard paving, deciduous trees, green foliage)
- possible use of pool to provide method of evaporative cooling onto the house if the local breezes can be caught
- double glazing to retain warmth
- the lower sun in the winter sky can still penetrate windows below wide eaves to the north and west, allowing for solar radiation to enter the house
- thermal mass (slab on ground, masonry/earth walls) are heated by the sun’s rays and trap heat inside the house. This is released slowly overnight helping to even out internal temperatures
- good wall, floor and ceiling insulation help to maintain more constant internal temperatures
- deciduous trees allow winter sun to access the house
- sealing of all draughts (eg. door stops, chimney dampers) can make a significant difference in maintaining constant temperature internally.
In addition to the design features listed, the following options are considered;
- material selection – energy required to create material (embodied energy), recycled content, recyclability, locally sourced, waste minimisation, longevity and durability
- fittings selection – low energy consumption fittings preferred, eg. LED lighting, water saving fittings & whitegoods,
- rainwater harvesting/ use of spring water and/or bores
- grey water use
- solar energy for power and/or hot water
- geothermal energy source for heating/cooling systems
- necessary use of additional heating/cooling systems
- use of ceiling fans
- zoning of spaces to allow for partial areas of buildings to be heated or cooled as required (also helps for acoustic zoning).