Operating from two branches located in two of South Africa’s major destinations (Cape Town and Johannesburg), Francois Marais Architects has been concluding projects and wowing clients with first-rate design solutions since the company was established in 1996. Services like architectural designs and additions and alterations also serve to enhance the reputation that Francois Marais Architects has built for itself over the years.
Today, Francois Marais Architects still continues impressing via luxurious designs and beautiful houses, but also via energy-efficient and green-star rated buildings for the commercial- and residential industries. And that just so happens to be what we’re focusing on today.
Energy-efficient designs is another factor which makes Francois Marais Architects stand out from competitors, for the firm is dearly devoted to including eco-conscious features along with a firm dose of luxury in their high-class designs. And since these architectural experts seem to get it right every time, we thought we’d delve into the world of energy-efficient homes (and how to build a new home that is affordable to build and costs less to own) while being inspired by some of Francois Marais Architects’ finest examples.
1. Choose energy efficient lighting
Opting for lighting bulbs that minimise energy use is one of the most popular ways to put an energy-efficient spin on a home. And LEDs are the perfect match, since they’re more energy efficient than CFLs, last much longer, plus contain zero mercury.
And keep in mind they’re able to meet a rich variety of lighting needs, from bright white light for a modern kitchen to a soft, warm glow for elegant lounge suites. And remember that the right lighting can definitely boost your choice in accessories, including bedroom decor!
2. Reconsider your electrical stove
Since electrical stoves use a lot of energy, maybe it’s time to switch to a good gas model? They’re cheaper to operate, seeing as the cost of gas (used in cooking) is less than the equivalent costs of electrical usage.
3. Save energy while cooking
Scope around for pots and pans that conserve and retain heat better. Always keep the lids on while cooking, and consider investing in a decent pressure cooker to cook your food a bit longer (perfect for popping dinner in and coming home to a nice, warm meal).
4. Minimise your geyser guzzling energy
Switch to solar geysers which use sunshine to heat water. Although those initial installation costs can be expensive, you’ll save / earn your money back shortly.
If this is too pricy an option, how about getting a timer for your geyser to switch it off when not in use?
5. Conserve energy with your kitchen appliances
Allow your beautiful house's modern kitchen to help you cut down on energy use by installing AAA or A+ energy-rated appliances like a washing machine, fridge, and dishwasher.
6. Consider solar tempering
Allowing sunshine to filter indoors via south-facing windows in wintertime cuts down on heating costs. And shading those same windows come summer does the same for cooling expenses.
With solar tempering, which should be addressed in a house’s design stage, the incoming sun’s heat is optimised without inviting the additional costs of thermal mass required for maximum passive solar heating.
7. Choose highly insulated doors and windows
In a well-insulated, airtight building envelope, doors and windows can be seen as big energy gaps. However, they are also the third most cost-effective opportunity to turn an abode into an energy-efficient home.
Heat loss can be controlled by choosing appropriate door- and window products (i.e. solar control film, exterior shading like awnings and blinds… ), cautiously locating them, then optimising their size and orientation for the most favourable results.
8. Set up a fresh (and energy efficient) air supply
Energy-efficient homes are airtight; thus, it makes the incessant source of fresh-filtered air and moisture control rather important. And one of the major benefits here is the fact that these homes are healthier, more comfortable compared to standard houses.