3.6 Stars: How to make an existing home more energy efficient without spending a lot of money

There are a few simple things you can do that will make a huge difference to your energy bill, without spending a lot of money.
In our case, it brings us already up to 3.6 stars. This means that we will need 62% less energy than before the renovation. Instead of paying more than $4,300 per year, we can reduce our energy bill to approximately $1,600.

So what did we do?

Seal your house

Every little gap causes unwanted heat losses and heat gains, therefore, one of the first things you can do to make your house more energy efficient are:

– Close off wall and ceiling vents

– Replace existing exhaust fans with self-closing ones

– Weather-stripe existing windows and doors

– Don’t use standard down lights in the ceiling as they leave gaps/holes in the insulation

Insulate your home as much as possible

The more insulation the better. Put in as much insulation as you can
In our case, we’re going to install insulation to the ceiling and to the roof, with a combined overall R-value of  R6.0 and insulation to the timber sub-floor of R2.0.

– Insulate the sub floor using waterproof rigid insulation and ensure there are no gaps around the insulation – for example, use expandable foam.

– Update roof/ceiling insulation using both reflective and bulk insulation, the higher the R-value the better. Aim for a combined R-value for the roof and the ceiling insulation of min. R.5.0

Retrofitting an existing brick veneer wall is a bit more tricky.  It is a pretty time intense and messy job. Therefore we decided not to insulate the walls, at least not at this stage.
Taking off the plasterboard to install bulk insulation may be the most obvious way, but you can also bore holes in between studs and pump in cellulose fibre. But if you do this you have to ensure that the walls are closed at the bottom and that the insulation can’t fall though.

3.6 stars is a good start, but we can do better.

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