In the first of our environmentally sustainable building design posts we are going to look into why energy efficient homes are so relevant for Canberra.
For Australian standards, Canberra has a dry climate with warm to hot summers and pretty cold winters. Rainfall is reasonably evenly distributed throughout the year but even in a small landmass like Canberra, rainfall varies significantly with much higher rainfall occurring in the ranges to the west of the city and less rainfall to the east. Canberra is also very sunny, with average daily sunshine of 7.6 hours/day. In summer the average daily sunshine is around 9 hours/day dropping to around 5-6 hours/day in winter. Canberra generally is not very windy with, on average, 25 days of strong winds a year.
So what does this all mean? Basically it means that due to extreme temperature fluctuations, Canberra homes require substantially more energy to achieve thermal comfort and are therefore perfectly suited to energy efficient design and building practices. It means that our homes need to take advantage of insulation, orientation, passive heating and cooling, glazing and thermal mass, but more on this in future posts!