Holistic Approach to All Electric Home Design
For good all electric home design, we recommend a holistic approach. In short, start with an energy efficient building and use energy efficient electrical applicances powered by solar panels.
Your all electric home design should reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, as far as practicable. Your design should consider carefully heating, cooling and water heating because this accounts for more than 60% of your total power demand.
In a southern Australian location, a typical 6 Star home will have a heat load requirement of around 60 watts per m2. Therefore, a home of 150m2 will require mechanical heating of 9kW during winter and a 250m2 home will require 15kW.
A Passive 8 Star home has much less heat load because it is better insulated, more airtight and makes better use of natural heat sources. Therefore, you can expect heat loads of around 10kW per m2 or less for a Passive 8 Star Home.
Of course, it is more difficult to achieve a home energy rating above 6 Stars and most of us will need some form of mechanical heating or cooling. For example, heat pump hydronic heating is one consideration because of its energy efficiency. Also heat pumps work well with your solar power.
Also, look at the design of your hot water system. Locate your storage tank as close as possible to your hot water taps to reduce heat loss and water loss (refer Heat Pumps below).
All Electric Home Design Factors
Consider these factors in your all electric home design:
- Home size, type and number of levels
- Your preferences around heating and cooling methods
- Your budget
Make your home energy efficient for your solar hydronic heating design to work well. Get an energy assessment (Star Rating) done. You may need some advice on how to achieve the minimum 6 Star rating. Here are some additional factors that will be considered in your energy assessment:
- Location climate (whether your house is being designed mainly for heating or cooling)
- House orientation to the sun and prevailing wind
- Shading in winter and summer
- The internal mass of your house
- The amount and type of windows, frames and glazing
- Insulation of ceilings, walls and floors
- Thermal bridging
- Air tightness
- Ceiling fans
Consider heat pumps for your all electric home design because they are very energy efficient even when it is raining and during cold winters. Also, heat pumps can be powered by your solar panels.
You can use a heat pump for hydronic heating, which is the best form of heating because it is radiant. Consider heat pump hydronic heating if you live in a southern or inland Australian location with cool winters. A hydronic heat pump can also cool in summer in reverse cycle, which gas boiler can’t.
Heat pumps can be used for domestic hot water using a storage tank. The storage tank acts like a battery storing thermal energy generated from your solar power and the heat in the air during the day, for use at night and early morning. Therefore, consider a heat pump water heater as part of your all-electric home design.
If you have a pool or spa, you can use a heat pump to heat that also (refer below).
Solar panels are an important part of your all electric design. The challenge is to match the power demand of your electrical appliances with the power supply from your solar panels, as far as possible.
Add solar panels if your roof has good direct sunlight and you can orient solar panels to the north, west or east. This will be cost effective for you particularly if you plan to stay in your home for more than 5 years.
Heat pumps are ideal to use with solar power because they typically deliver heating or cooling 4 or 5 times greater than their power input. Hydronic heat pumps can store heating and cooling in the building mass for release inside during the evening. Heat pump water heaters can store heating energy in the water. This could be a domestic hot water storage tank or the water of your pool or spa.
With good home design, you can run your heat pumps and air conditioners largely during the day using your solar power. This will give you very low operating costs.
Energy or Heat Recovery Ventilation
Add Energy or Heat Recovery Ventilation (ERV/HRV) if you are designing a highly efficient all electric home. New builds and renovations with Energy Ratings of 6 or more are well insulated and well sealed so they need good ventilation.
ERV ventilators transfer both dry (sensible) heat and humid (latent) heat from the stale outgoing air to the fresh incoming air. Therefore, ERV ventilators are ideal for the humid conditions of northern Australia. On the other hand, HRV ventilators transfer dry heat only. Therefore, HRV ventilators are suited to the dryer conditions of southern Australia.
Consider adding ERV or HRV ventilation to keep your home feeling fresh and airy without the need for opening windows and letting your heating or cooling escape outside.
Consider adding air conditioning to your all electric design if your location is prone to a lot of extreme heat, humidity or if your home has multiple levels.
Whilst heat pumps are very good at heating and can cool in summer, air conditioners are designed for cooling and are very cost effective. There are several types of air conditioning systems to consider. Explore which type is best for your design.
For off-grid homes, all electric home design is critical. Therefore, consider carefully your options to reduce heat loads, heat loss and heat gain throughout the year. Reduce your need for mechanical heating and cooling because this typically accounts for more than 40% of your power demand.
If you have plenty of wood available, then you may want to use that for heating. However, heat pumps can provide reliable back up for wood heating. They will standby and automatically switch on to add to the heating load as required then switch off.
Also, heat pumps can cool efficiently in reverse cycle in a dryer climate. Hydronic heat pump cooling works best with underfloor hydronic circuits and ceiling fans. If you have radiators, consider adding fan coil convectors to your hydronic system or separate air conditioning.
Pool & Spa Heating with Heat Pump
Consider a heat pump for heating your pool or spa. They do not take up roof space that could otherwise be used for solar panels. Also, they can extract heat from the air even when it’s cold, raining or dark, so are ideal for heating during shoulder seasons to extend your swimming season.
Explore whether your hydronic heat pump may be suitable for heating your pool or spa. This will depend on:
- Your climate
- Size and depth of your pool
- Desired water temperature
- Use of a pool blanket
- Pool use through winter
In general, if your pool is less than 30,000 litres, your hydronic heat pump may be suitable. If your pool is larger, then a dedicated pool heat pump will be more appropriate. Your hydronic heat pump will need a suitable heat exchanger to separate the corrosive pool water from your hydronic heat pump.
Pool & Spa Heating with Air Conditioner
Explore whether your air conditioner may be suitable for heating your pool or spa whilst cooling your home. This is because LG has a new Hydro Kit available in Australia that could possibly be integrated with your air conditioning system. It may be worth looking at if your pool or spa has water volume of less than 30,000 litres.
The LG Hydro Kit can make use of the waste heat from cooling and direct that to your pool or spa. This makes it super efficient when cooling and heating at the same time. In fact, just 1 kW of power input will generate more than 7 kW of heating and cooling output.
Find out whether this is suitable for heating your pool or spa. It will depend on the factors listed above as well as the capacity of the outdoor unit.
Our consultation process (below) starts by well understanding your needs before moving to a draft design. Then a final design and installation plan will be developed for your build. See our process map below.
If you would like to discuss your project, contact us with some information about your project, your preferences and your building plans: Contact Us
Create an instant indicative quote using our Quick Quote configurator. This will give you a ballpark idea of the cost of supply and installation of a high quality system. There are of course different approaches that can vary the pricing.
Click on the button below:
Understanding your needs
We know that every client and project is different so we start by understanding your needs, priorities and vision for your build then propose a draft solution with indicative pricing.
Your Indicative Quote will be developed further with you, your architect and/or your builder into a Final Quote taking into account your preferences, budget, build requirements and timing also.
Once we reach agreement on the Final Quote and project plan, we will undertake the detailed design work looking at equipment siting, underfloor circuit or radiator layout, ventilation and air conditioning design, etc.
If you are installing solar power, we will work with your or our solar contractor to incorporate this as part of the whole solution.
We work with the best products in the industry and we have a lot of experience with heat pump technology.
We want you to be very happy with your system so we only use quality equipment with proven reliability, local Australian support and good product warranties.
We work with the best and most experienced installers. The installation process starts at the beginning of the build with project planning and design work, followed by the rough-in of plumbing pipes and electrical cables.
Towards the end of the build, we return to deliver, install and connect equipment.
Once everything has been installed, we commission your system/s and connect your them to your home WIFI.
The main equipment is WIFI enabled, giving you control and monitoring through your electronic devices.
After Sales Support
We recognise that you have made a significant investment in heating, cooling, ventilation and/or water heating and that you want your system/s to function optimally for many years.
Our equipment suppliers are all leading companies with service desks and will be happy to deal with any warranty issues.
Our installers have service plans to ensure optimal performance of your system/s. We will be happy to discuss a service plan tailored to your specific needs.