Nov 2022

Sick of being cold? Four steps to building a warm house

Take matters into your own hands with these core principles if you want your new home to be warm.

Image of a persons hands holding a warm mug, and the title text Four Steps to Building a Warm House.

“I’m so sick of being cold! How can I make sure my new build will be warm in winter?”

 If this is you, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands.

Put simply, the building code isn’t going to help you. Australia’s Building Code isn’t enough to get your home to a point of optimal comfort, health and integrity in the build.

Australian houses are often like tents: they might keep the rain out but they’re cold, leaky and full of condensation. If you want to know how to build a warm house, follow these four steps.

How to build a warm house for winter comfort

 At Powerhaus Engineering, we know how to build comfortable homes. Europe, America, and New Zealand are already doing this – and you can too.

Here’s how…

1. Increase the amount of sunlight in your living areas

In short: your living areas need north-facing windows.

North-facing windows receive sun all year round. Sun entering your home in winter is just like turning the heater on, it warms everything up. Plus, it’s free. Having direct sunlight in your living room will not only lower your energy bills, it will make you happier too.

North-east and north-west facing windows can also be helpful, but you’ll need to make sure they can be shaded in summer to limit overheating.

2. Make your home airtight

Insulation is useless if you can’t control the flow of air through the building. You can increase the airtightness of your home with effective planning in your building design. There are also some great (and cost-effective products) that will help make your home more airtight. Read our guide to airtightness for new builds if you’d like to learn more.

3. Make sure you insulate properly.

Insulation is like the good stuff that keeps the heat trapped in your coffee thermos – it keeps your house at the right temperature on the inside. Use quality and properly placed insulation in your roof, walls and floor.

Insulation in the walls or under the floor can be a pain to retrofit properly, we highly recommend getting this right when building.

4. Choose good windows

Double-glazed windows are the same as an uninsulated brick wall – they’re going to be the main source of heat loss in your building. Not what you want when you’re building a warm house!

Double-glazing is a great place to start. You might think all double-glazing is the same. It’s not. We see a lot of people still using aluminium frames, and aluminium is a great conductor of heat. This means you’ll lose heat, and create condensation and moisture problems on your frames, if you don’t manage internal humidity. If you’ve got 100m2 of glass, you’ll have up to 10m2 of aluminium loosing heat. This is a huge drain on the performance of any house.

Instead, use thermally-broken frames or uPVC (these are definitely our favourite) to maximise the benefit of your double glazing.

Want a custom dashboard to help you figure out how comfortable your design will be? We’ve built Australia’s first energy-efficiency app to help you build smarter. Contact us to find out how our energy efficiency optimisation process can help you. 

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