Living, Building Your Home | 4 November 2014

It’s easy being green at Spectra!

by Carlisle Homes

Building a new home gives you the perfect opportunity to make a real difference to the way you and your family use energy for general living. With the cost of everyday life continually increasing, why not make the most of your chance to do ‘more with less’ by looking at energy efficient options and make a real impact on those dreaded bills!  Not only is there the potential to save money by reducing energy bills but you also help preserve the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, it’s a win-win situation.

All homes in Victoria are required to achieve a 6 star energy rating which relates to the overall thermal performance of the home.  In addition, all homes are required to have either a solar hot water system or rainwater tank.  You can read more about this at and

But what else can you include to further enhance your home’s efficiency?

A visit to our Spectra Living Green Zone will give you some helpful hints and ideas!  Located within our state-of-the-art Spectra showroom, the Living Green Zone gives our clients the opportunity to explore some additional energy saving options for their new home.  The Spectra team guides clients through all the choices available relevant to their home design and lifestyle needs.  You can check out the zone at one of our upcoming Sneak Peak evenings or your browsing appointment so you know what to expect.

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Here is a preview of what you can expect from a visit to the Living Green Zone.

Double glazed windows
Expanses of glass doors and windows create lovely light filled spaces and can be a real design feature for your home.  However, they can also be major contributors to the cost of your energy use by allowing unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.  Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through glazing (source:  Double glazed windows and doors (sometimes referred to as IGU’s, Insulated Glass Units) are sealed units made up of two pieces of glass, separated by a sealed air gap. The air gap, filled with argon gas, acts as a thermal break between the inner and outer pieces of glass, reducing the flow of hot or cold air between the inside and outside of the home.  These units also help prevent condensation from occurring inside the house when it is cold outside and warm inside and can help reduce noise pollution by reducing the ability of outside noises to pass through the glass.

Depending on characteristics of your chosen block and design, such as orientation, window location and neighbouring homes, you may be required to include some double glazing to achieve your required 6 star rating.  However, you can also upgrade to more units, either select windows or complete elevations to achieve further efficiencies and noise reduction. 

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Double glazing may be a consideration for elevations with extensive windows, The Winslow at Ambrosia Estate, Cranbourne West.

Solar hot water system
Essentially, solar hot water systems use the power of the sun to heat your water!  Australia is renowned for its hours of sunshine so it is just logical to maximise this plentiful free energy source.   In the average Australian home 21% of total energy use is attributed to water heating (source:  Solar water systems include collectors mounted on the roof of your home to absorb the sun’s energy.  Cooler water from a storage tank is heated by being fed past these collectors and then returned to the tank and circulated via pipes around your home for you to use.  When there isn’t enough energy from the sun, your system reverts to a back-up gas or electric system to ensure hot water is always available!  Depending on the climate and your system configuration, solar water heating can provide up to 90% of your household’s hot water for free.  You may also be eligible for a government rebate or incentive, refer to for qualifying criteria.

To comply with 6 star requirements your new Carlisle home will include a standard 175 litre gas system with one solar panel.  Some of the larger homes include a booster system as standard, however we see many families upgrade to additional panels and larger tanks to further maximise on this natural energy source and reduce reliance on electricity and gas hot water. 

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Extra hot water for the larger family, Sacramento on display at Timbertop Estate, Officer.

Sound insulation
For many new homeowners their choice of home design is based on many lifestyle and family considerations such as, where the children will play, where the bulk of entertaining will take place or the quiet or sleep zone location.  With this in mind, there are materials that can offer improved sound attenuation within the home.  Maybe you would like to isolate the theatre room or ensure quiet kid zones, reduce the noise from laundry appliances or busy road noise from outside or create the ultimate peaceful parent’s retreat.

While not typically related to energy use within the home, one of the options offered in the Spectra Living Green Zone for sound attenuation does involve the use of sustainable and ‘green’ products. Noise sources such as voices, television sets/home theatre and musical instruments, generate sound in the air in one room and this sound passes through the partition and into the room on the other side - known as airborne noise (source:  Soundstop plasterboard is manufactured using recycled materials technology and 100% liner paper and assists in controlling the transfer of airborne noise.

A further option for noise control is the use of Soundscreen insulation which can be used within walls or floors (in two storey homes) and is approved by the National Asthma Council as being suitable for allergy and asthma sufferers.  Soundscreen has the potential to absorb as much as 75% of the sound power to effectively reduce noise to acceptable levels (source:

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Create a peaceful nursery sanctuary with sound insulation, Riva at Berwick Waters Estate, Clyde North

Heating and cooling systems
Heating and cooling the average home contributes to up to 40% of our total household energy usage, so it definitely makes sense to review options to minimize the cost impact involved.  Whilst all Carlisle Homes include ducted heating with the potential to save on operating costs compared to using gas space heaters, there is the option to upgrade to a zoned system.  A zoned system allows you to control the heat and comfort levels in up to four different areas of the home separately and can reduce gas bills considerably.

This is also the area of Spectra where you can find out all the information you need about your cooling options.  Choosing from evaporative cooling, which draws air from outside and passes it through moistened pads to flow through ductwork to each room, or a refrigerated system that removes the hot internal air and returns it cooled using refrigerants.  Both options have different benefits and budget options to suit varying lifestyle situations.  Importantly, heating and cooling systems can be an expensive exercise to add in later, the best time to consider them is before you start building for a cost effective and efficient result.

The inclusion of noise insulation features in your home during construction can considerably improve the resale appeal for the future and enhance the comfort of the home for everyone!

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Evaporative cooling allows you to leave your windows and doors open and enjoy a sea breeze-like freshness, Sanctuary at Somerfield Estate, Keysborough.

Rain Water Tanks
Rainwater is a natural resource that is readily available, especially in the state of Victoria!  By collecting rainwater you can reduce household water costs, have a lush and healthy garden and play a significant role in water conservation for your community with less reliance on water storage dams and the reduction of stormwater runoff.  Within the Spectra Living Green Zone you can review different tank shapes and capacities to suit your home and water usage requirements with our display and information brochures available.

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Keep your new garden lush and hydrated with additional water storage, Granada on display at Selandra Rise, Clyde North.

Also at Spectra you will have the opportunity to discuss other energy saving options such as lighting configurations and window coverings to give you a comprehensive guide to creating an efficient and comfortable home for your family to enjoy.

View all of the Carlisle Homes design themes via our extensive image galleries and virtual tours and plan your display home tour of our stunning homes.  Register for our next Spectra Sneak Peak Evening and meet our interior designers to start your new home journey.  

For a behind the scenes experience and to get the scoop direct from the design team, be sure to follow us on Instagram, @Carlislehomes.

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