7 ways to warm your home this winter

With the cost of living crisis putting pressure on household budgets, here are seven ways to passively warm your home this winter that will help offset those skyrocketing energy bills. While some methods might require an initial investment, the long-term savings and environmental benefits of using what Mother Nature gives us for free will pay off for years to come.

So what is passive design? 

Passive House is a design standard originally developed in Germany in the '90s that’s now used worldwide. A Certified Passive House must include:

1. Appropriate levels of thermal insulation.
2. A design that reduces thermal bridges (more on these a little later).
3. Airtightness.
4. High-performance windows and doors.
5. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

Sounds complicated? Let’s look at easy ways to achieve this.

7 steps towards a passive home design

1. Harness the sun’s power

The Passive House concept prioritises solar heat gain - which means making use of the sun wherever possible for winter warmth. In Australia, this means access to northern light. The sun sits lower in the sky during winter, casting its rays more directly through north-facing windows. 

Strategically placing furniture to avoid blocking sunlight, opening up curtains and incorporating large north-facing windows in living areas allows your home to absorb and store natural heat throughout the day.

2. Plant strategically

Planting strategically can also enhance solar gain. Deciduous trees planted on your home’s north side let winter sunlight penetrate while providing shade in summer. Conversely, planting evergreen trees on the south side acts as a natural wind barrier in winter. Here are the best deciduous trees for Australian gardens. Check out our recent blog on local nurseries and pay one a visit - they will have some great tips on the best plants to choose for your particular soil. 

3. Supercharge your insulation

Proper insulation acts as a barrier between the indoors and outdoors, trapping heat inside your home during winter and preventing it from escaping during summer. It enhances comfort, reduces condensation and dampness, and can be applied to walls, ceilings and even floors. 

Upgrading your insulation, particularly in older homes, can significantly reduce your reliance on heating and cooling systems. Ecolife Solutions offers a sustainable, affordable DIY solution.

4. Seal any leaks

Identifying and sealing air leaks around windows, doors, and other openings like letterboxes and pet doors is a small but effective way to keep your home warmer. Simple solutions like weather stripping and caulking can greatly improve air tightness. Consider a professional blower door test to pinpoint major leaks you might miss.

5. Consider double glazing for double the benefit

Double glazing involves two glass window panes separated by a sealed air gap, which creates an insulating barrier that reduces heat transfer, keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. While double glazing requires an upfront investment, the long-term energy savings and improved comfort typically justify the cost, and double-glazed windows will add value to your home when it comes time to sell. 

6. Invest in an HRV system

Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality and preventing mould growth. Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems (or mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) improve air quality without opening doors or windows.

They extract heat from outgoing stale air and transfer it to incoming fresh air, regulating humidity and ensuring a healthy and comfortable living environment without sacrificing valuable heat. 

While HRV systems require professional installation, the savings and improved air quality can lead to significant long-term benefits. Zenith Ventilation is the go-to Sydney expert.

7. Incorporate thermal mass

Thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb, store and release heat. Materials with high thermal mass include concrete, brick and stone. Using them appropriately can passively heat and cool your home at a lower cost.

But for thermal mass to be effective, you must combine it with other passive warmth methods, such as insulation, glazing, and orienting your home towards northern light. Incorporate thermal mass into your home through concrete floor slabs or a feature brick wall then make sure its being hit by northern light - come night time, it will release that stored heat back into your home. 

Implementing these Passive House principles will help you create a more comfortable and energy-efficient home this winter. And it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars - even small changes such as sealing gaps will make a difference. 

Are you selling your home this spring? 

Reach out to Page&Co today for the best service and the best result.

Karen Page
Friendly, caring and attentive, Karen Page is a customer focused professional with a genuine passion for helping people transition through the different stages of their life.