5 Ways to Boost Energy Efficiency in Your Building

Energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings is an important concern for builders and residents alike. There are many ways to improve energy efficiency as part of renovations. These ways help homeowners consume less energy and spend less on heating and electricity.

An energy-efficient design is also important from the builders’ perspective. Incorporating energy efficiency in commercial buildings and homes allows them to be keep up with current sustainability trends. More importantly, this kind of design is a prerequisite for many types of certification.

In 2019, the NCC (National Construction Code) presented significant updates which dictate new standards for compliance across the country. These changes affect Green Star and NABERS Energy certification requirements. For example, in commercial buildings, energy consumption should decrease by 35%. Residential buildings are covered as well. There is also a host of minor changes that will reduce energy usage in all buildings including residential properties.

All in all, higher energy efficiency in commercial buildings is necessary for compliance. The requirements can change or become stricter on a yearly basis, so it is important to keep up with the times.

The Methods

Builders have a wide variety of ways to improve energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings — some can be initially expensive but are actually cost-effective in the long run, while others are cost-savers from the get-go.

We should note that it is important to start planning early. Going back to alter construction elements can only increase cost and upset schedules.

Method #1: Add Exterior Insulation

Better insulation is the most obvious way to cut back on energy waste. By keeping the building warm in the winter months, you can decrease fossil fuel use. A/Cs are a significant energy sink too. Hence, proper insulation is just as important in the summer.

Before you decide on the best insulation for a building, consider the climate. Is keeping heat inside the top priority in your area? Or is the building located in a warm region? If that is the case, your main goal would be to keep the walls from transferring heat inside.

There are three major types of insulation you can choose from:

Bulk insulation uses pockets of air. These reduce heat transfer through the walls of the building. It works well in both directions, meaning it’s equally efficient in the summer and the winter. This form of insulation uses materials such as glass wool, polyester, polystyrene, and cellulose fibre. The thickness of the insulation is proportional to how well it works.

Reflective Insulation such as reflective foil laminates are mainly used in warm regions. This insulation reflects 95% of radiant heat. Along with shiny surface, there is a 25mm gap layer of air, providing extra thermal resistance.

Composite Insulation combines the benefits of bulk and reflective insulation. Foil-faced boards and foil-backed batts are excellent choices for external insulation.

Method #2: Change the Windows

Having the right windows is a crucial part of energy efficiency. They can be responsible for around 40% of heat loss in the winter months and 87% of heat gain in summer.

There are a few easy ways to make existing windows more energy-efficient such as eliminating air leaks and weatherstripping the windows. For non-operable windows, caulking is a great option.

Changing the window coverings can also make a considerable difference. Blinds reduce solar heat gain, especially if they are white. Even curtains can help reduce heat transfer.

However, these small fixes aren’t always enough – replacing the windows is often the best choice. The changes in energy usage can quickly make up the cost.

When deciding on the best windows, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Frames

Timber windows are well-isolated, but they are not durable enough and white aluminium frames are usually the better choice as they last longer. Louvre windows on the other hand are useful in controlling air flow.

2. Operating Types

Choose an operating type that offers low leakage rates.

3. Automation

Automation can be used to improve temperature and air quality. This is particularly useful in the case of hard-to-reach windows.

It is also advisable to look into glass and film options, as well as internal screens to help with your energy efficient building design.

Method #3: Install LED Lighting

LEDs are replacing fluorescent and incandescent lighting as they are products that last for decades without needing replacement. They also reduce your energy use by 75% compared to incandescent lights.

Sensors can be extremely useful especially in commercial buildings – lights in rooms can be automatically turned off when not in use.

Method #4: Improve the Building’s Controlled Ventilation and Passive Cooling Capabilities

Fans are considerably more energy-efficient than air conditioning, especially in the warmer months. But you should note that high-quality ventilation is an important safety measure for the winter months. It protects residents from the in-house emissions from heating.

Ventilating roof spaces is even more important than in other parts of the house. Using reflective insulation can cool down roof spaces. Consequently, it keeps the entire building much cooler.

In addition to installing fans, it’s important to consider passive cooling options as well. Some possibilities to keep in mind:

1. Use thermal mass in a way that preserves coolness (e.g. earth-coupled slabs)

2. Install solar chimneys

3. Make the best use of shading – protect windows, sunlit walls, and roofs

4. Position windows in a way that improves air flow

Note: It may be necessary to install air conditioners, but not in every room. It’s best to focus on rooms that are frequently used. Additionally, you can advise clients to prioritize smaller rooms.

Method #5: Add Passive Heating Options and Skylights

Passive solar heating and skylights are gaining popularity. These methods are low-cost. They’re appropriate for all climates that require winter heating. While orientation is important, these methods can be used on any existing building.

To achieve passive solar heating, it’s important to add large windows to the northern walls. Louvre windows can improve passive heating. In addition to large windows, moving living areas to the north side of the building is an easy option to achieve. On the other hand, for south-facing rooms, use materials that have low thermal mass.

Traditional skylights or roof lights are an efficient method of gaining energy. These devices capture sunlight and diffuse it inside the building. Even simple roof windows improve energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings by reducing heat loss and allow residents to save on lighting costs.

The Final Word

Energy efficient buildings are an increasingly important priority for builders to comply with the NCC and provide clients with comfortable living spaces.

At every part of the process, ask yourself if you are making the most energy-efficient choices. If you are unsure, speak to experts who understand the specific requirements for your region.

To maximize energy efficiency, choose top-of-the-line doors and windows. The design of these structural elements has changed a great deal over the years and have improved to benefit all kinds of buildings.

At Safetyline Jalousie, we know what types of louvre windows can positively impact the energy efficiency in different buildings. Our louvre windows guarantee airtight sealing and eliminate free flow infiltration. To know more about the energy-efficient solutions we apply to our windows, get in touch with our business managers today.

References:

1. National Construction Code – NCC

2. National House Energy Rating Scheme

3. Update or Replace Windows – Energy.gov

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Ali Asmar

Business Manager - VIC & SA

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As the most recent addition to the Safetyline Jalousie family, Ali is still coming to terms with the fact that a typical telephone conversation will often be answered with “You’re calling from Safety what”? followed by having to sound out and spell the name “ja-lou-sie” (it happens to us all). Born in Lebanon, Ali has moved around a lot over the years, living in Cyprus, Sydney for most of his Schooling, as well as China and Hong Kong. He currently resides in Melbourne where he spends a lot of time in his garden or doing some sort of work around the house. (Not too dissimilar to many other Melburnians following the onset of Covid). With a very obvious cultured background, Ali is warm and talkative and he’ll get you talking too.

Romile John

National Business Manager

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One of the Safetyine Jalousie originals, Rom (often mistaken for John) holds a great passion for the product. He says its “its innovative, a market leader and ever-evolving, very much like the company itself”. When you meet Rom, it is apparent that he is well-educated and well-travelled. Coming from a family of medical professionals, they moved around extensively and often. Last count was 125 countries. So nearly all of them! It’s really no surprise that Rom has mastered packing a weeks-worth of clothes and necessities into a carry-on bag. And when we say clothes we actually mean meticulously prepared outfits and accessories. When Rom enters a room, you’re sure to know it!

Adam Racomelara

National Manager – Partnerships & Strategy

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Adam is our strategist and big ideas generator whose somewhat reserved nature could have some mistake him as a bit of an introvert. But that’s only until this quiet thinker is given a whiteboard and a marker – and then there’s no stopping the dialogue! 7 Years in at Safetyline Jalousie, Adam is continually expanding on his knowledge of the construction industry and is incredibly driven in his pursuit to help create better buildings via the use of better products. When Adam’s not on his quest to improve Australia’s built environment he’s spending most weekends escorting one of his 4 young kids to birthday parties, sometimes multiple parties. He has some stealth survival tips for other parents currently in the same predicament.

Michael Cocks

Factory Manager

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Michael has become recognised at Safetyline Jalousie for his continually changing hairstyles (facial hair included). Buzz cut, undercut, dreadlocks, even a mullet. We’ve see it all. His current man bun could even be gone before we finish this sentence. Always up for a laugh, friends and colleagues love a chat with Michael, and his easy-going and approachable nature has earned him the respect of all staff. In fact, he even has a cohort of followers on the factory floor sporting his same hairstyles. Outside of work Michael has recently turned his attention to mountain bike riding. His very first ride ended with a pretty serious accident resulting in a deep puncture wound to his leg– it’s been a sore topic for his leg and his ego.

Jonathan Gueudinot

National Logistics & Production Manager

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Our South American Native, Jonathan is more simply and better known as “Chilli” (no need to try and guess his country of origin). After 16 years of military service, Chilli joined the Safetyline Jalousie team for what he describes as “a change of pace”. Although his average work day might look very different these days, there’s no doubt that Chilli’s previous experience has contributed in shaping a culture of commitment, community and comradery within the production team – the very important engine room of our company. Driven by a sense of accomplishment, in addition to running Safetyline Jalousie’s production line with military precision, Chilli has recently been studying hard to complete his Master’s Degree in Business and Logistics.

Mandy Saliba

Marketing Manager

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Mandy has been with Safetyline jalousie since day one so would technically be considered a geriatric in “Jalousie years”. Whilst her role has changed and evolved over her time with the business, one thing that hasn’t is the happy and fun, team culture that she says “continues to make each day at work a joy”. As a mum of two little ones, Mandy thrives on new challenges and a little bit of chaos. Although, as a self-proclaimed clean freak, she ensures that all forms of chaos are kept in a very neat and tidy manner. We’ve also observed that Mandy appears to have an inherent fear of colour and will almost only ever be seen in black or white (or sometimes grey if she is being really out there).

Lisa Spinks

Office Administration Manager

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As a busy mother of 4, Lisa is highly skilled in organising, delegating, and troubleshooting – the proficiencies which she also demonstrates in her daily management of the Safetyline Jalousie office. Lisa tells us that she lives by the saying “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger”. (No doubt she’s had to use this little piece or personal encouragement from time to time to deal with our infinite requests)! Always on the go, Lisa has a very active lifestyle and starts every day with a walk to the beach with her husband and two dogs. Of an evening she still has the energy to spare for star jumps and squats in her makeshift gym/ (our office) before heading home to her other full-time job as “mum”.

 

 

 

Nathan Rust

Founder & National Operations Director

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The younger brother of the co-founding sibling duo, “Nath” is the go-to for just about every technical, install, and manufacturing enquiry that comes via the business. Very early on, Nath’s product knowledge and problem-solving ability saw him organically take on the role of Operations, overseeing the design and management of Safetyline Jalousie’s behind-the-scenes work. When he’s off duty (and not answering a million questions), Nath enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 young kids. You’ll find him cheering on his son at weekend sports, enjoying the water somewhere along the Northern beaches and this lover of food is generally always planning his next big meal. Preferably a Lebanese banquet if anyone can suggest a restaurant he doesn’t frequent already.

Leigh Rust

Founder & Director

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Leigh aka “Wolfpack” is one-half of the driving force behind Safetyline Jalousie and comes with two decades of experience within the Australian manufacturing and construction industry. The multi-award-winning entrepreneur and father of three youngsters is a passionate advocate for supporting Australian-made goods and improving the built environment for future generations to come. Always up for a challenge, Leigh never sits still and is constantly pushing himself to test his physical and mental endurance. He’s given just about everything a go. From amateur MMA fights, triathlons, or personal development endeavours, Leigh stands by the motto, ‘I never lose, either I win or I learn’.

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3