Designing Comfortable Homes

GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF GLASS, MASS & INSULATION FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

width=280The first edition of Designing Comfortable Homes was published in 2001 and quickly became recognised as an invaluable plain English guide for anyone interested in designing comfortable energy efficient homes.  As well as providing general guidance on solar design considerations that are important to enhance energy efficiency and comfort, the book also provided data on expected performance of homes based on three different combinations of  glass, mass and insulation.  These were defined as ‘code minimum’, ‘better’ and ‘best’.

As a direct result of the 2001 edition of Designing Comfortable Homes, Standards New Zealand published a specification document (SNZ PAS 4244) in 2003.  This specification used the ‘code minimum’, ‘better’ and ‘best’ insulation options from Designing Comfortable Homes as its basis.  When the Department of Building and Housing put in place new minimum insulation requirements in 2007 they were almost identical to the ‘better’ level first defined in this book in 2001 and subsequently published in SNZ PAS 4244.

With Code minimum now at the level defined as ‘better’ in the 2001 edition, and the development of improved products and systems making very high energy efficiency more achievable, it was time to create this second edition. If it is as successful as the first, perhaps we will see the code minimum requirements being increased further in the future based on the ‘better’ level defined in this edition, and perhaps a third edition of Designing Comfortable Homes following that change.