“Don’t consider buying anything that’s not double brick”, this is so often a phrase used when you are looking to build or buy a home, especially in Perth Western Australia. The truth is, as great as double brick is, the future of building and sustainability in homes is not found in brick but rather steel framed/cladded houses. Not only are steel framed/cladded houses more sustainable but they are more thermally efficient too. Perth is a little slow on the uptake of framed construction in comparison to the eastern states but we are definitely realising the benefits of it and are slowly coming around.
One of the many benefits is thermal efficiency. Having a new home that is visually appealing is one thing but having a new home that is a pleasure to live in temperature wise, all year round is a much understated pleasure. Have you ever lived in a house that doesn’t heat up in the winter without a huge electricity/heating bill; or maybe a house in summer that just retains heat like an oven? This is generally due to a house that is not thermally efficient.
Not only is a thermally efficient house a pleasure to live in, it is also less expensive. Thermal mass (The ability for a material to absorb and store heat energy) when coupled with a high insulation value means the internal temperature is regulated largely by the building fabric, rather than an air conditioner. This therefore makes the home easy to live in and a regulated internal environment is less susceptible to outside fluctuations in temperature.
So what are good options for the building fabric if it is not brick? An option we love at Great Living Homes (builders in Mandurah) is steel framed houses with Cladtex (Foam Cladding). This is used by Great Living Homes for both their 1 and 2 storey homes. The foam cladding is amazing at regulating the internal temperature of your home and may even save you money in the long run with energy bills. You can read more about Cladtex and steel frames on our website blog.
Double Brick is wonderful and has given us a lot of solid builds around Western Australia. But these days, we can count ourselves lucky to be surrounded with so many innovative building materials that are lighter, less expensive, more convenient, faster to build with and more environmentally responsible. The mentality of ‘brick is best’ may actually be an old way of thinking and when you can have a more affordable and thermally efficient home you would be crazy to not at least investigate it. When it comes down to it, if you went away for a week and stayed in a beautiful, brand new two story home that was steel framed with foam cladding you would probably leave thinking, ‘what a lovely house’, you wouldn’t even stop to think about whether it is double brick or framed. All 1 and 2 storey home builders Perth should be aware of thermal efficiency, and it would be wise of anyone to chat with their builder about the fabric of their home and how it can be more thermally efficient