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Give your home the star treatment

Energy efficient home tips

Guest article | 24 August 2013

Energy efficiency - Stock Photo

Building an energy efficient home has numerous benefits

one of which is comfort and warmth regardless of the season...

Building an energy efficient home has numerous benefits, one of which is comfort and warmth regardless of the season with reduced waste. Whether you're renovating or building from scratch, there are a wide range of energy saving methods and materials you can use to reduce your home's impact on the planet and your pocket.


The overall design of your home can have a big impact on how energy efficient it is. If possible, take these points into account during the design process:

  • The longest wall of your home should ideally be aligned east to west, with the main living area pointing north. This allows maximum sunlight exposure in the winter months.
  • If the north facing portion of your house has windows covering up to 60 percent of it, the south wall 30 percent coverage, the east 15 percent and the west between zero and the south wall 7 percent, you will maximise capture of sunlight.
  • Horizontal shading or awnings can provide shade in the summer months, and these should be primarily focused on the north facing window.


Heating is a particularly challenging element for energy saving homes, because in the winter months it can get very cold. If you've followed the design rules listed above, you'll maximise the amount of heat your home gets during the winter. These additional tips will also help you retain heat:

  • Draughts can account for 25 percent of heat loss during the winter, so minimising them is an excellent way to keep your home warm. Seal any cracks in walls, ceilings, floors and doors, unused fireplaces and superfluous vents where heat can escape – particularly during the winter months. However, please check with a professional if you use a gas heater.
  • Combining a curtain rail with a pelmet reduces heat loss as these block the gap behind the curtain rail so hot indoor air doesn't come into contact with the cold window and lose heat.


Insulation is integral to regulating your home's temperature in both summer and winter. The majority of the heat your home loses will be through the roof, so if you have to prioritise one area that should be it.

  • Learn about the different types of insulation. Generally speaking, you can use bulk insulations, which is much more common, to provide benefits in all seasons. Reflective foil insulation is good for reflecting heat, but can only do so in one direction, so it usually has to be combined with bulk insulation. Check R-values. The “R” value of insulation tells you how well it resists heat; the higher the value the better the heat resistance. These are generally grouped into and “up” value (good for winter) and a “down” value (for summer), so ask about both before buying insulation. As an example, in Adelaide, you're recommended to have a 3.2 R value insulation for your roof and 1.9 for your walls.


Several new and classic materials have huge advantages for an energy saving home, including:

  • Eco cement: This is cement with additional insulating properties, making it both a structural and thermal advantage. After over 60 years in existence, its benefits are just being realised.
  • Scrap steel: Scrap steel is recycled and made available for cheaper than if you were to buy new. You can make a recycled steel frame for a 186 square metre home from six recycled cars, compared to around 45 trees if you were to make it from wood.
  • Plant-based polyurethane rigid foam: This foam is developed from things like bamboo and hemp, and provides superior insulating, moisture resistance and mould protection compared to fibreglass or polystyrene options.
  • Straw Bale: Bales have surprisingly effective insulating properties.


You may be eligible for rebates and assistance from the government to help you make your home more energy-efficient. For more information please visit the Living Greener website. Companies who run energy rating schemes will assess your property and suggest areas where you could improve your energy efficiency. There is the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme in Australia, for example.

There are a wide range of benefits to constructing an energy-efficient home from recycled or effective materials, and the most obvious of these are financial. By reducing the amount of energy wasted by your household and absorbing the most sunlight possible in winter, you can decrease both your monthly bills and your carbon footprint.

Disclaimer: The views of authors on our website are not necessarily representative of those views of our website. Articles contain only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of Please read the complete Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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