Key Features of Sustainable Apartment Design in 2022
Forward-thinking, sustainable apartment design has become a top priority for the Australian architectural and construction industry.
The recent updates to the National Construction Code (NCC) include new energy efficiency provisions for both individual apartments and apartment buildings. The driving intention is to reduce both embodied and operational energy consumption, and in doing so lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Good, sustainable apartment design takes a whole lifecycle approach, incorporating eco-conscious construction practices, quality heating/cooling systems and materials which put the planet first. Efficient energy measures are indivisible from effective sustainable apartment design.
At Thermotek, we make stylish windows and doors that are lead-free, low-impact and 100% recyclable. We work closely with our clients to customise our products for thermal optimisation and sustainability.
Let’s take a look at how the 2022 NCC updates on energy efficiency apply to apartments.
New NCC Energy Efficiency Updates in Focus
The new residential energy efficiency provisions in the NCC apply to houses and other low rise multiple dwelling projects (Class 1 buildings) and apartment buildings (Class 2 sole-occupancy units and Class 4 parts of buildings).
There are two key changes from previous iterations of the NCC:
- The minimum thermal performance of new homes has been raised to the equivalent of 7 stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). This will not only lower greenhouse gas emissions; it will also enhance thermal comfort for occupants.
- A new whole-of-home, annual energy use budget now needs to be met by new residential dwellings, including low-rise multiple-dwelling projects and apartment buildings. This budget applies to the energy use of an apartment building’s heating and cooling equipment, hot water systems, lighting and swimming pool and spa pumps. Renewable energy systems aren’t mandatory but can also be harnessed to help keep an apartment building’s overall energy usage down.
At Thermotek, we have deep expertise in energy efficiency, allied with a passion for improving the comfort and lifestyle of our customers. Our sustainable window and door systems are made in Australia and are backed by proven German engineering and innovations.
We believe the recent changes to the NCC will lead to better design. Let’s take a look at ways to achieve sustainable apartment design, without blowing out the budget.
Environmentally Friendly Practices
Materials are not the only element that should be considered when it comes to sustainable apartment design. It’s important that sustainable practices are employed in the construction stage, to limit the amount of embodied emissions involved in building.
Embodied emissions are those produced during production, construction, maintenance, replacement, and end-of-life.
Environmentally friendly construction processes include constant recycling and upcycling to avoid sending materials to landfill. Making good decisions throughout the entire design and building process can improve the sustainability of the overall project.
At Thermotek, our designs are adjusted for the Australian climate and manufactured locally, and our low-waste manufacturing practices always put sustainability first.
A big focus of the design and building industry right now is using sustainable materials. Harnessing durable, certified sustainable or carbon-neutral materials will improve the overall NatHERS rating of the apartment or apartment building.
Sustainable materials may range from recyclable timbers or tiles to cool roofs or high-performance windows.
At Thermotek, we manufacture window systems in an ecological, thoughtful way. Our window profiles are manufactured from up to 70% uPVC, making them more environmentally friendly compared to aluminium. UPVC has a lower impact than traditional PVC, is made from a calcium-organic chemical compound, and is 100% recyclable and lead-free.
Using Passivhaus principles in sustainable apartment design is a great way to reduce operational emissions. It can create healthy living spaces that stay cool in summer and warm in winter, with little energy use.
In this model of design, a house is passive in that the building envelope does most of the work to maintain the temperature, without active input from heating or cooling systems.
It does this by harnessing insulation, airtight sealing, innovative window and door design, ventilation and heat recovery.
A great way to achieve sustainable apartment design is by implementing renewable energy for the entire apartment building.
Passive solar designs also take advantage of the position of the sun and the power of natural sunlight to produce a comfortable temperature in apartments throughout the year.
High Thermal Performance Windows
Windows are an important component of sustainable apartment design. They can be responsible for 50% of lost energy in homes. However, a barrier in the past has been combining aesthetics with sustainability.
At Thermotek, you don’t need to compromise style for sustainability. Our Boutique Series 5000 window and door systems are visually beautiful and enable design flexibility while offering excellent energy efficiency.
The Boutique Series 5000 has been engineered with a 5-chamber uPVC profile by aluplast and has been specifically designed and tested for the Australian climate. UPVC is highly durable and thermally efficient, while also minimising plastic use.
The Boutique Series 5000 windows and doors cater for all types of sustainable residential projects in both new builds and renovations. It’s also much more economical than costly thermally broken aluminium solutions.
We offer a stylish and modern selection of Architectural and Woodgrain colours, to ensure that this modern uPVC window fits perfectly into any sustainable apartment design.
Choosing eco-friendly finishings and appliances is a great way to achieve sustainable apartment design.
Selecting appliances for the kitchen and laundry, and heating with high energy efficiency ratings will improve your whole-of-home rating.
The 2022 updates to the NCC also made improvements to condensation management for residential apartment buildings, with additional provisions to promote tightly sealed buildings and enhance ventilation requirements.
Condensation may occur on windows when exposed to humid indoor air. In many homes with 3mm panes of glass, the windows become a cold surface in winter, forming condensation when hit by warm, moist air inside the home.
High moisture levels can then cause damage to walls, and carpets or even cause dangerous mould.
Condensation can be managed by using windows with low-conductivity, insulated glass, double glazing and features such as warm-edge spacers on windows to reduce condensation.
Smart Slide Window Door Systems for Sustainable Apartment Design
For apartments with balconies, the Smart Slide System is top in its class for heat insulation, statics, and sealing.
The window door system has incredible sealing capabilities against air, wind, and rain, with an innovative locking mechanism and high-quality sealing with no brushes. It also requires reduced maintenance due to its stable, concealed hardware.
Our Lift & Slide System also boasts high energy efficiency and is easy to use. It’s been designed specifically as a door for balconies, with a sash that slides parallel to the fixed pane of glass – meaning that it doesn’t occupy any extra space. Perfect for unobtrusive designs that add luxury through seamless comfort.
Optimising Thermal Performance Sustainably with Thermotek
At Thermotek, our window frames consist of various fusion welded air chambers. These deliver a superior seal on the frame itself. This also increases insulation, and our dual TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) seals further enhance thermal performance.
The gap between the windowpanes is the main source of insulation in our products. The gap and any gas slow down the thermal transfer by conduction. Our systems don’t trap heat. Instead, they slow it down to reduce the amount of heat lost in winter; and the amount gained in summer. No circulation within the panes also helps to reduce heat transfer.
Thermotek systems keep your home’s temperature more stable, plus cuts down the number of times your heating/cooling system must switch on and off.
Master Sustainable Apartment Design with Thermotek
Sustainability runs through the entire Thermotek business and into our low waste and 100% recycled window systems. We’ll work with you to customise the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solution for apartment buildings.
The Thermotree of Life program is another example of our values, through which we plant a tree for every window system purchased.
If you’d like to know more about Thermotek, get in touch with us today.