In Western Australia, a common building construction practice is double clay brick with standard single glazed, aluminium framed windows. It has been replicated for so many years that it is now cheaper to construct as the expertise in this kind of construction has become common.
On the other hand, for an area like Perth, a sustainable design alternative is reverse brick veneer walls. The insulation is placed on the outer edge of the wall which allows for a well-sealed building envelope. This provides a high thermal mass on the inside to keep heat stored in the internal brickwork and concrete, allowing it to be released slowly. This is unlike a wall with low thermal mass such as a timber framed wall, which changes temperature quicker. To stop heat loss around the edges of the concrete slab, the face of the slab should be lined.
Energy efficiency in windows does not necessarily mean double-glazed windows as they are unnecessary and expensive for a region like Perth where we do not experience a harsh winter. Alternatively, single glazed windows can be treated glazing (reflective, toned, tinted low-e etc.) and fit into either a timber or UPVC window frames. These window frames, due to their insulating properties, avoid the phenomenon of thermal bridging while these window treatments would help to stop heat transfer into rooms in summer. It is important to ensure that the windows are protected from the sun and weather from the west and east sides by using appropriately sized eaves, awnings and patios while still allowing full solar access from the northern side. In order to avoid unnecessary solar gain, blinds and drapes can act as an internal shading device. While in winter, they should be used to stop heat escaping through the glass from the inside.
It is crucial for an efficient building envelope to have ample insulation incorporated into it. Insulation batts should be used on the ceiling with sarking over the rafters which will stop the transfer of heat through the roof cladding into the roof space. The ceiling batts, mass brick walls and concrete floor create a stable environment within the house that is not susceptible to large temperature changes and maintains heat retention in winter.