If you're spending upwards of $30,000 and adding rooms or completely changing existing room designs, you have the perfect blank canvas for creating constant temperatures. Window orientation and size, triple glazing, and air conditioning are some of our high-end cooling options.
If you’re spending upwards of $30,000 and adding rooms or completely changing existing room designs, you have the perfect blank canvas for creating constant temperatures. Heat enters through the envelope of a building (roof, walls, windows and floors) so good design of these will ensure you have maximum comfort.
Window orientation and size, triple glazing, and air conditioning are all options. Our experts suggest adding permanent outdoor living areas on the northern and western sides of your home with moveable solutions like louvred roofs, retractable awnings, and external shutters.
“A more expensive renovation will focus more on the mechanical tools, but I’d still recommend just as I have for basic and mid-level budgets, that you insulate really, really well,” says Eco Designer Advisor Ian Mayes.
As we mentioned in our mid-priced article, window orientation is all-important as glass can increase heat gain by 87%. Usually, as a big part of an extensive renovation, large windows, floor to ceiling doors, bi-folds and louvre windows above tall doors are an essential part of the overall aesthetic.
You’ll want to invest in double-glazing or even triple glazing, which incorporate two or three glass panes in a window with air or gas in between for temperature control. Frames need to be taken into consideration too because, at the high end, wooden frames are preferable over aluminium. Aluminium frames are very poor insulators, and if used, they need to be ‘thermally broken’, which creates an insulating barrier within the frame. Another option is uPVC, which is thermally efficient, long lasting, and eco-friendly.
When it’s very hot and sticky outside there’s nothing nicer than walking into a cool room. Air conditioning can create that effect at the touch of a button. In places where temperatures can get very hot and sticky for several weeks or months, it’s pretty much on everyone’s list. “The cost of ducted air conditioning is not to be taken on lightly,” says Chris Barnes of consumer advocacy group Choice. “You really have to do your research!”
“Air conditioners work on the heat pump principle,” says Chris. “A fan draws hot air from your home over a cool liquid, called a refrigerant. Heat is absorbed from the air, cooling it. The air then flows back into your home.”
“Modern air conditioners are very efficient - for every kW of electricity consumed, three or more kW of heating or cooling capacity can be produced,” says Chris. “Window and split-system models must carry an energy rating label (the star-rating system). Ducted systems have to meet minimum energy performance requirements, but don't carry the energy rating label.”
When it comes to costs, Chris says you’ll be hard-pressed to purchase a ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning system for less than $5,000 (including installation). “The cost can easily reach twice that amount (or more) depending on the size and type of system you choose,” he says.
If air conditioning’s not for you, whole house fan systems or attic fans are energy efficient and an option worth considering. Breezepower says their system costs eight cents per hour to run as opposed to $1.50. “In-roof whole house fans change air in the roof space between 50 and 70 times per hour, too fast for heat to build up much beyond the outside temperature. You would need 30 or more wind turbines and a continuous strong breeze to achieve this rate of airflow,” they say.
Life in the 21st century allows you to ‘programme’ your home to automatically switch on the mechanical cooling processes or even control it from your Smartphone so you come home to the perfect temperature. With most systems, you can adjust temperatures and even shut your curtains or blinds during the hottest parts of the days.
Some off the shelf brands getting rave reviews are:
- Nest (which can even sense when someone’s home and when the humidity is rising and adjust itself accordingly). $249USD.
- EcoBee. $249USD.
- Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. $199 USD.
Regulatory requirements for heat pumps and air conditioners for Australia and New Zealand can be found at energyrating.gov.au
If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your renovation project, please use the enquiry form alongside to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.