Open plan design is prominent within the Australian housing market. It combines living, kitchen and dining areas to create both a functional and aesthetically pleasing area. Open plan design often connects internal and external areas, brings the “outside in” and allows more natural light in whilst creating the illusion of more space.
A survey by the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) has revealed open plan living is at the top of the list for what makes a “perfect home” in Australia.
“In Melbourne the demand is for alfresco dining, stylish, modern and bright design features with lots of natural light and stone bench tops,” said REBAA president Rich Harvey.
As temperatures fall to new lows in winter and rise to unprecedented peaks in summer, energy consumption via heating and cooling is a mounting concern in Australian climates. Heating and cooling costs make up 40% of the average Australian household’s energy consumption- far outstripping any other energy need. With heating and cooling also comprising anywhere between 40 and 60% of non-residential energy usage, it is clear that more efficient climate control measures than ducted air conditioning and other common methods need to be investigated.
Thanks to recent innovations and a growing number of options in the market, hydronic in- or under-floor heating has become an attractive cost-efficient and low energy solution for residential and commercial projects alike. Suitable for installation in-slab or on subfloors under various floor coverings including timber, hydronic systems can use heat pump technology to take advantage of convection, encouraging heat to rise up through a space instead of forcing it down. As an alternative to other heating and cooling systems, hydronic solutions utilising heat pump technology offer significant potential for zoned control: instead of automatically heating an entire floor of a building or a whole home, individual
rooms and spaces can be heated on an as-needed basis. The versatility of heat pump systems is bolstered by their ability to switch between heating and cooling as well as their easy integration with photovoltaic systems and battery banks, allowing energy to be purchased off-grid.