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Canberra set to showcase solar homes

Sustainable homes without conventional heating systems have been showcased in Canberra by the Australian Capital Territory chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects' Solar House Day. 

While the thought of no heating may be offputting to some locals, architectural advancements make it possible for the homes to remain at a comfortable temperature all year round with very little reliance on electricity, Domain reports. 

Architects from the area demonstrated different approaches to solar homes at a free public lecture and exhibition on Wednesday (July 27th).

Bus tours are still running that allow interested participants to view the new climate-appropriate dwellings. 

Among the featured houses is a modular home in Wright with an energy efficiency rating of eight stars. 

This was designed by Light House Architecture and Science - and the only source of heating it offers is a European wood pellet stove in the living room.

In winter, a fan circulates warm air, pulling it through a series of ducts throughout the home. Cooler months are accounted for with a comprehensive insulation system of double-glazed windows and draught sealing to keep costs down and the home cosy.

Sarah Lebner, an architect for Light House Architecture and Science, said that there is more to energy efficiency than solar panels.

She explained that a truly sustainable property will be designed to ensure that power from the sun is still captured and stored in winter, but an element of shading is provided in summer. 

"An energy efficient home should also have well-installed insulation around the entire building envelope and pay strong attention to minimising air leakage and draughts," Ms Lebner commented. 

"Increasing energy prices mean that even those less inspired by the environmental benefits are now more interested in energy efficient homes."

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