Hutt at Heart
cat sits next to a window inside a house

Eco Design Tips: Heat Flow

Being too hot or too cold are both uncomfortable, and understanding how heat behaves can help to manage heat and cold in a home.

Heat transfers from hot to cold. In summer the warmth will flow to the cooler inside, and in winter it will flow to the cooler outside.

Some of the things that make a house cold in winter will also make it hot in summer. Conductive (non-insulating) building components are the main cause of this. Large windows without eaves to manage the solar gain are another. Our love of large windows will ensure that the problem of houses that perform poorly will remain for a few generations.

The aim is to slow the heat flow between hot and cold. To get a house warm you want retain the heat, and have heat coming in at a higher rate it is going out. For getting it cool it is the opposite – and generally more difficult.

High performance and passive houses easily maintain a stable, comfortable temperature and humidity. The same design principles that are helpful in winter will often be helpful in summer. Some things that cause cold houses in winter will also cause overheating in summer.

The starting point is thermal resistance R-values – ceiling, floors, windows, walls. Regulating heat loss and heat gain through windows: eaves, size and position, low-e glass and shading. Draughts and ventilation need to be controlled.

Once a house has been built it is more difficult and more expensive to retrofit measures than doing it at the design stage. Thankfully our Eco Design Advisor can help you determine improvement that you can make.

Hutt City Council offers a free home assessment service by our in-house Eco Design Advisor.

For a full house assessment and advice,

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Subscribe to Hutt at Heart – Te Manawa, your monthly email newsletter where you can find out about fantastic things going on across our city and at Hutt City Council.