“What is home to you?”

Usually we ask: “Where is home to you?”.  Today I would like to ask: “What is home to you?”

A home is usually a reflection of ourselves. It reflects our personality, our hobbies,  our culture and our way of living.

My home needs to be comfy and welcoming, full of light and air. It has to be the place where I am happy to go back after a day at work or better outdoors.

Indoor comfort is the key element in my home!

Indoor Comfort is a very personal sensation

(Image source: www.sourceable.net)

What is Indoor Comfort?

Comfort is a state of mind, defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as β€œa pleasant feeling of being relaxed and free from pain”. Indeed, comfort is the personal sensation of feeling comfortable and depends from a variety of issues, including:

– thermal,

 – visual,

– acoustic

– air quality (2)
 

More specifically, thermal comfort can be defined as a condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment. Due to large variations from person to person, it is difficult to satisfy everyone within the same thermal environment.

The most important environmental factors contributing to thermal comfort are:

– air temperature

– radiant temperature (ie. the temperature of the walls, floor, windows etc)

– humidity

– air speed

– the amount of physical activity

– the amount and type of clothing worn (2)

About Perth climate:

Perth is the sunniest city of Australia and I love it πŸ˜‰

Summer days could be very hot, but usually in the afternoon the “Fremantle  Doctor” (a cool southwestern sea breeze) will provide a great relief.

Winter are usually not too cold (compared to Europe), but early morning temperature can be around 5 degrees. 
Is my home comfortable?

Unfortunately, my (rented) home is not very comfortable 😦

Even if it was built only 10 years ago and a bit of insulation has been used in the construction, it doesn’t make me very happy, especially when the weather gets a bit extreme.

In hot summer days, when the outdoor temp is 35 degrees, inside it can reach 30 degrees.

In cold and cloudy winter days (outdoor temp around 12-15 degrees), indoor temperature will vary between 15-18 degrees. It goes up to nearly 20 degrees only if outdoor is a very sunny day with temp around 24 degrees.

Last weekend, outside max temp was 35, inside temp at 8 pm was still 30…maybe double brick walls without insulation is not the best option in Perth πŸ˜‰

What does it mean?
It means that,  if I want to feel comfortable inside my home, I have to turn on the air conditioning in summer and the reverse cycle heating in winter. So I can feel better from a thermal point of view, but I still don’t feel very comfortable because of:

1) Air speed: driven by the air con system, both in summer and winter

2) Air humidity: especially in winter time it can get really dry

3) Environment and costs: air con uses a lot of energy and costs a lot of money
 

What can we do?

We can build better, starting from the building orientation and envelope insulation, following solar passive design principles

Have you ever heard about it? 


Typical proportion of heat loss from dwellings (source: www.qualibuild.ie


Sources:

(1) http://www.velux.com/article/2016/health-matters

(2) https://www.monash.edu/ohs/archive-20-9/information-and-documents/all-information-sheets/indoor-thermal-comfort

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4 thoughts on ““What is home to you?”

  1. A well written article. I also live in Perth and there are definitely a lot of buildings (including my own home) that would benefit greatly from improved thermal insulation. There is a lot of focus on renewable energy generation, but it makes sense to focus on efficient energy consumption as well. I also appreciate your mention of visual comfort as I feel a lot can be achieved by improving the quality of lighting installations (once again in an energy efficient way).

    Good to see this kind of approach and modern thinking in Perth!

    Like

    1. Hi Werner, thanks for your comment and welcome to the blog!
      I agree that a lot could be done in regards to energy consumption, both in the residential and in the commercial sectors. Quality and efficiency of lighting systems play an important role as well.
      I really hope that something will change in the construction industry…one day πŸ˜‰

      Like

  2. I’ve been seeing more and more consideration to Indoor Environment Quality in my day to day work as a Building Services Engineer.

    To me this is a combination of thermal, acoustic and visual quality considerations. Great design outcomes include a reduction in carbon emissions, increased energy efficiency and lower operating costs with increased occupier comfort.

    The use of thermal insulation with acoustic properties seem to be a popular consideration in the construction industry and I’m keen to see more innovative design solutions in our local Perth market to improve occupier comfort while keeping costs low.

    Like

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