Closet = climate. Clothes = weather.

Closet = climate. Clothes = weather.

  1. We have a selection of clothes in our closet to according to the climate that we live in.
  2. We wear clothes according to the weather.

Now, with that in mind,how do we design a house? Do we design according to the climate or according to the weather? Imagine choosing one clothing ensemble to wear every day of the year according to your climate regardless of the weather. This choice is easier if you live somewhere that is cold all the time or somewhere that is hot all the time, but if you live in a mixed climate that has seasonal variations you have a dilemma.

We need to design houses with the climate in mind and according to the weather. A recent failure caused by not following this approach has been the ‘hot house’ syndrome. This syndrome occurred in Victoria where houses were assessed for energy efficiency with the primary focus being on a winter-time heating dominated climate. By ignoring the summer cooling load many people began to complain about their homes over heating. Consequently people installed air conditioning systems to combat the heat.

Strategies such as removing eaves and making the roof black to gain more stars in an energy rating have proved to be a bad idea for summer conditions…..go figure.

We now have a new clause in the energy efficiency requirements that stipulates a maximum cooling load. This will frustrate some consumers as they will possibly have a lower star rating to allow for the cooling load. However, this also highlights the fact that as designers, assessors and builders we need to better understand the ‘building physics’ in order to produce higher performing houses. A fundamental understanding of the basics is what we need.

For a start, Click here to go to my main blog page where a range of these topics are addressed. Things are a lot easier to do when you know what you’re doing.