KITCHEN AND HOME SKETCH DESIGNS aims to inform, communicate and cover jobs as they progress and see how wonderfully they turnout. Hopefully there will be plenty of pictures, comments and sharing of ideas.
Last time the topic was the vital design concept of PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN. How this can be incorporated into our existing homes is a big concern. To be able to be more efficient with our heating is something we could all achieve and benefit from cheaper power bills helping our Earth cope too.
Thinking "Passive Solar Design" in relation to our own homes is to become aware of the natural elements-the micro climate of our particular site. Looking at ways we can enhance our comfort whether considering a renovation, extension or just maintenance is going to be of benefit. We still want to consider the features of the site and maximise what we can that will help.
Some homes are just backwards and there is very little we can do to improve their lot! If a house has bathroom, laundry, en-suite along the northern aspect it is a great shame that an opportunity has been lost. If living rooms have walls to the north then adding windows here will assist even if south walls need to be filled in to provide positions for furniture. Alternatively using the northerly area out from living areas even to front of the site can achieve great results. Privacy can be enhanced with planting of shrubs and hard dark paving will assist the absorption of solar rays that will transfer to the surrounding air in and out of the home. Shrubs for privacy and deciduous trees would be ideal for summer time as the leave cover creates wonderful shade but lets sun through bare branches in winter.
The ideal position for garage is as close to street as permitted. Garage at the back of the site came from the days of horse and buggy when the Mews kept good distance between house and horse: enough from view and smell. Now garages take so much space we do not need to waste our precious land devoted to long driveways and unsightly outbuildings. This plan means we have more area to enjoy as garden.
Living, dining, kitchen and study areas to the north for the sun, when grouped together will assist energy efficiency. These are the rooms where we spend most of our hours, so it makes sense to position them to allow the most sun and natural light to enter. Social areas are nicest separated from our private zones so sleep is not disturbed, ablutions are clear away from family and guests. If air-locks at external doors are not attainable at least the installing of draft sealing around doors and windows will assist the retaining of comfortable temperatures in the house.
When renovations are on the cards, consideration should be given to the insulation values of materials ensuring a minimum of temperature variation throughout the house.
Where all other suggestions are optimal and an outdoor "Alfresco Room" is desired, the home is best served by this on the west side. The reason being the late afternoon summer sun, the hardest to control, will be abated and the roof cover will be in the best position for maximum usage when the family want to be lazing into the evening. The finished spaces will influence the comfort of the home a great deal but will not block precious sun from living rooms.
Costings for renovations will not vary greatly if these suggestions are included but the long term household power bills and costs to the Earth's resources will be much improved with their inclusion.
These are all small things with personal benefits. Collectively we can make a large difference in reducing the reliance on the Earth's finite resources. And that is a great thing!
Margot Kirke is a qualified architectural drafts person with a passion for practical living, making the best use of space and use of natural light and warmth.