The living comforts offered by Stand 47 are almost entirely as a result of the materials with which it was built. Perhaps you are not in a position to build your own Stand 47-type house from scratch. Don’t fret. It is not only possible, but also quite affordable and highly recommended to retrofit your current house to varying degrees, with identical materials and or/systems used to build Stand 47. In this way you can achieve similar if not identical living comforts, without having to build a new house.
In an endeavour to share our knowledge gained from building Stand 47 with as wide an audience as possible, during the next few weeks we will publish some practical tips on how to ‘Stand 47’ your home.
Tip 1: Insulate for thermal comfort
Without a doubt the most important comfort offered by a home relates to indoor temperature. A comfortable home is cool in summer, warm and inviting in winter. A well-insulated house requires less heating and cooling, and therefore uses less energy. Few houses in South Africa are built with the cold winters in mind and are insufficiently insulated. Whether you are planning a complete re-build of your house, a minor renovation or simply want a no-mess, no-fuss solution, there are plenty of options to choose from. So don’t hesitate, insulate!
Here are options of where and how to insulate your home for thermal comfort:
• Insulate the ceiling cavity in each of the rooms, as this is often where the most heat escapes. The thicker the insulation, the higher the insulating properties. Go as thick as you can (100mm will do the trick in a big room). Take a peek inside your roof cavity and if there is already insulation, check that it does not need replacing, or perhaps an extra layer. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to keep a constant temperature indoors.
• If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures, external cavity walls can also be filled with insulation fiber when they are exposed during a big renovation.
• If your renovation doesn’t involve breaking any walls or removing, insulation board can be retrofitted to interior walls. • You could also choose to apply a cladded insulation system called ETICS to existing exterior walls, which also facilitates the application of attractive facades and drastically reduces the transfer of heat and cold through walls.
• Ensure all geysers are insulated with a thermal blanket – and also all hot water pipes. Insulation products available in rolls or boards that can be cut to the required size are a simple, affordable and practical way to improve the insulation properties of your home’s walls and ceilings. Another key feature of your home that affects thermal comfort are the windows and doors.
• Windows and doors should seal tightly to prevent cold air coming in and heat escaping.
• Consider replacing existing steel windows with high quality aluminum windows – these are significantly more airtight and require no maintenance.
• Double glazed windows are ideal for areas that get extremely cold, but may not be an option on a tight budget. A highly effective alternative to double-glazed glass is Low Emission glass (Low E), which is coated with an insulating and transparent film. A glass thickness of 6.4mm also offers higher insulation properties than standard 4mm glass, and 6.4mm Low E glass has been very effectively used for double volume spaces with feature windows.
To learn more about some of the solutions mentioned above, you can visit the following sites:
Aerolite insulation: http://www.isover.co.za/pages/homeowner/a_intro.php
Geyser blankets: http://www.isover.co.za/pages/homeowner/g_intro.php
ETICS insulation system: http://goo.gl/CIQQuc
Aluminum Windows: www.inso.co.za or www.wispeco.co.za
Low E Glass: http://goo.gl/DgdHf5