Location. In a resource, oil and carbon constrained world, location near work and play will become central to affordability and lifestyle. Close access to public transport for school, shops, family life and activities will (again) become a fundamental need. Car dependence will become a costly liability.
Correct orientation. Passive solar design costs nothing to build into new homes other than understanding and imagination. The sun provides free natural warmth, whilst some summer breezes can provide natural coolth. In almost all climates, combining northerly orientation for most of the (efficient) glass, appropriate thermal mass (ie. concrete, bricks/blocks, earth) and high-level insulation will make homes most comfortable. Re-designing existing buildings to achieve these principles is for us, an everyday task.
Energy-efficient. All new houses now need to be 6-star energy efficient design – but that’s the new minimum. With good design it’s not hard to do better again as is needed with rapidly rising energy costs. Overseas, 8 and 9-star efficiency is becoming mandated, with developing concepts of Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs). Upgraded insulation is the single most cost-effective step you can take, followed by eco-redesigning for sunlight deep within buildings. We can tell you more.