Energy Efficient Product Feature – The ECON WALL

econ wall canberra

In today’s post we are going to look at the ECON WALL, an exciting product available to help us build smart, affordable, energy efficient housing.

I first met Sanjiv Gosain, the inventor of ECON WALL a few years ago when we built his home in Canberra. This build was the first experience I had using the ECON WALL, and I must say it was very successful (the house won eco home of the year across Australia as an 8 Star home).

Now the time has come for Sanjiv to build a new house and demonstrate the capabilities of the ECON WALL by building Canberra’s, and Australia’s, first 9 Star rated insulated concrete thermal mass house. Let’s take a deeper look at the ECON WALL, what it is, how it works and why you might be interested.

By definition, “the ECON WALL is an insulated concrete thermal mass wall system which places the insulation on the outside of the concrete walls”. OK, so what does that mean? The ECON WALL basically differs from your standard wall by putting the insulation on the outside of the wall so there’s space to fill the inside with concrete. The green benefits are in the ‘thermal mass’ generated from this technique as well as the ability to maximise the use of recycled materials – e.g. concrete mix with high recycled and fly ash content.

We have gone over insulation in previous posts and will detail thermal mass more in the future, as a brief summary, the ECON WALL allows us to substantially increase the thermal mass in a building, meaning energy can be stored and released to help cool and heat the building at desired times of the day. The end result is a home that either needs very little additional heating and cooling, or none at all. We anticipate another surge in the popularity of the ECON WALL following the 9 Star build later this year, to learn more search ‘ECON WALL’, visit the website – http://econwall.com/ or talk to us!

Cheers, Dennis

Stay warm in winter and cool in summer with insulation

Insulation_wall

Insulation is extremely important in achieving an environmentally sustainable and comfortable home.

In a home without insulation, the heat will flow into the home during summer and out of the home during winter which means you will be heavily reliant on non passive heating/cooling, e.g. powered heating/cooling. Insulation is basically a barrier between you and the outside world; it protects your house from the elements, makes a house more comfortable, use less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures and can also help control moisture. Effective insulation can cut around 40% of heating and cooling bills! So with less mould and damp, increased comfort and huge energy savings, lets assume you are on board with insulation and we can move on and look into it a little more.

All Element Homes are completely insulated and use the highest quality products and R ratings available on the market at that point in time. This might sound extreme, but this is necessary to achieve an EER 7 or 8 home. There are many different types of insulation; fibreglass, wool, polystyrene, foam, blanket, batt, roll and blow in. The choice of insulation will come down to the design of the home and the environmental conditions as well availability, cost, renewability and technology.

We often get asked in which areas leak the most energy or benefit the most from insulation. The answer to this question is the ceiling. The ceiling has the largest potential for gains with approx. 30% of heat loss in winter going through the ceiling. The next best area for gains is the walls and windows. In Summer, the ceilings and the windows both contribute about 30% of heat gain in a house without insulation.

One final point the importance to take into account passive design techniques, things like air leakage and shading, otherwise all your insulation could make the house like an oven, holding on to built up heat! We will discuss passive design more in future posts, the takeaway here is that insulation is crucial and well worth the investment, there’s many types available but the main point is that you get the best R rating you can, and finally, insulation should be coupled with other smart design principles to achieve optimal efficiency and ultimately the most comfortable home possible.

Thanks for reading, Dennis.