Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Choosing a Hot Water System

Types of hot water systems

Water heating is the biggest energy user in your home. When choosing your hot water system, many factors need to be considered, eg: the initial cost, on-going running cost, life expectancy and environmental impact.

Traditional electric hot water systems typically account for more than a third of household energy use. Because most electricity in Australia is generated from coal-fired power stations, electric hot water systems emit the most greenhouse gas emissions.

You must also choose between storage water heaters and continuous flow (instantaneous) water heaters.

Storage systems heat water and store it in the tank for use throughout the day. These are suitable for households with higher hot water usage. Storage water heaters heat and store water in an insulated tank ready for use. They operate most economically on solar energy, natural gas or off-peak electricity.

Continuous flow (instantaneous) water heaters heat water as it is required, therefore cannot run out of hot water. They operate most economically on natural gas. These systems are more suitable for smaller households with lower hot water usage, as they heat only what is needed, and don't waste energy heating up and storing water that isn't used.

Off-peak Electric
Running costs similar to natural gas.  Can only be used in storage systems of 160 litres capacity or greater.  Water is heated overnight to provide adequate hot water during the day.  Twin element units can operate with a 24-hour off-peak boost (if hot water runs out, water is reheated automatically on the off-peak tariff).  Note: not all states of Australia allow electric hws to be installed into new homes.

Natural gas
Both storage and continuous flow systems are available.  Look for the energy rating label with the highest number of stars - choose one with a 5 or 6 star energy rating.

Running costs average around one and a half to three times the price of natural gas or off-peak electricity.  Look for the energy rating label with the highest number of stars.  Storage and continuous flow units are available.

A solar hot water system, which requires an additional investment of $1,500-$2,000 above the price of a conventional hot water, can pay back the additional cost in energy savings in approximately 5-10 years.  Approximately 65-80% of your hot water will be free of charge.  All systems come with a gas, off-peak electric or solid fuel booster to supply hot water during periods of low sunshine.  Collector panels are located on the roof, with a storage tank either on the roof or at ground level.  Solar hot water systems have the lowest impact on the environment.

Heat pumps
Highly efficient form of water heating which uses around 70% less electricity than other electric water heaters.  When used in conjunction with a timer and the off-peak tariff, running costs are even lower.  Heat is extracted from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor (much the same way as heat is extracted from your refrigerator) and used to heat water stored in a tank at ground level.

How much hot water storage do I need?
High water usage households (eg those with spas or dishwashers) should select the next largest system size in the range. A dishwasher with a hotwater connection should be counted as an extra person.

Electric & heat pump storage water heaters
1-3 people  160 litres
2-4 people  250 litres
3-6 people  315 litres
5-8 people  400 litres

Gas storage water heaters
1-3 people    90 litres
2-4 people  130 litres
3-5 people  170 litres
4-6 people  200 litres
5-9 people  260 litres

Solar storage water heaters
1-2 people  160-200 litres
3-4 people  300-370 litres
5-6 people  440 litres

Continuous flow systems are sized according to the required flow rate. A guide is often the number of bathrooms in the home. Consult suppliers of manufacturers for specific sizing guidelines for their products.

What are the cost differences?

Below are indicative pricing for supply & installation of hot water systems.  The federal government is currently offering rebates for solar & heat pump installations.  Visit to see if you are eligible.
Electric      $   800 - $1,500
Heat Pump  $2,500 - $3,500
Gas/LPG     $   800 - $1,200 (storage)
Gas/LPG     $   800 - $2,100 (continuous)
Solar         $2,500 - $4,500

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Builder Network Expands.......Again

Ezy Homes now has licensed builders available in Northern Tasmania, Sunshine Coast, & Mackay - ready to erect your steel pole kit home, or build it for you to lock-up or full completion stage.

E.T. Construction are available to construct your dream Ezy Home throughout Northern Tasmania - and are about to commence their first Ezy Homes project, in Devonport.  ET Construction is based half way between Devonport and Launceston, and is ideally located to service a large part of Northern Tasmania.

Price Construction have multiple offices and a large network of trade contractors.  They service the entire Sunshine Coast (from Pine Rivers, north to Glenwood, and west to Kingaroy - and also Central North Queensland (from Sarina, north to Bowen, and west to Collinsville - including Mackay).

Price Constructions purchasing power and well developed "back office" procedures allows them to offer Ezy Homes built in these regional centres for the same price as in a major city, like Brisbane.  In most cases, their construction estimates are slightly under the national average (see Ezy Homes Pricing & Inclusions page).
Now, potential Ezy Homes clients in these areas are able to easily obtain accurate construction quotes - and deal with a trusted licensed builder.
Ezy Homes take care of the design, drafting and initial quoting for all projects.  We then obtain fixed price quotations to construct the home to the stage that suits the individual client, by a local licensed builder.  At contract stage, the client is "handed-over" to the builder, so that they can communicate directly.  Ezy Homes do not charge the client or the builder any fee for this service. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Projects Under Construction - Update

The following is a construction update for three of the Ezy Homes steel pole home projects under construction, in Brisbane.  Ezy Homes are built by licensed builders, who are part of the Ezy Homes Builders Network - or, built in a kit home form by owner/builders.

Ezy Homes work with each client to individually design their home, using our pole home construction system.  Ezy Homes take care of the design, drafting and engineering for the project - then clients choose their preferred builder for their project, and from then on, deals directly with the builder.

Alternatively, many Ezy Homes clients are owner/builders - using a combination of trade contractors from our database, their own trade contacts, and doing work themselves.


PROJECT: Holland Park
DESIGN: Modified Moreton
PROJECT STAGE: Interior fix-out and finishing, currently being painted.

This Moreton takes advatage of the sloping site to provide a family home upstairs - and 2 self contained untis below.
Mini-orb cladding and louvre windows give this home a unique look.

Large decks and glass take advantage of the lovely vista.


PROJECT: Holland Park
DESIGN: Modified Moreton
PROJECT STAGE: Frame kit erected - Wall framing under construction - 2nd Week of construction

This Ezy Homes "Moreton" has been extended to 5 bays of living area, plus a full 4.2m deep deck at the rear.  This steel pole home has 4 bedrooms and a large media room upstairs, and huge open plan living below.

This client has designed their home so that the lower deck walks out onto their entertaining area - complete with swimming pool (under construction now).

The Ezy Homes unique steel pole home construction system has minimal site impact and generates the smallest possible footprint.


PROJECT: Camp Hill
DESIGN: Modified Moreton
PROJECT STAGE: Frame kit being erected, ready to sheet roofing - 1st week of construction

This "Moreton" has extended decks front & rear.  The client has added a foyer entry to the side also.  Open plan living is upstairs, along with the master bedroom, walk-in robe, and ensuite.

The lower level has 3 bedrooms, rumpus, bathroom, and laundry.  Also, the wall stud size has been increased to 2.7m.

This photo shows the "nuts & bolts" of the Ezy Homes construction system.  Concrete pier footing - which the column is bolted to (leveling nuts under the plate).  Bearers bolt to the columns, joists bolt to the bearers.  Everything is pre-cut & pre-drilled so that the frame kit goes together like a giant meccano set.


To learn more, you can visit the Ezy Homes website

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Draftsperson Joins Ezy Homes

Stella Iddon has joined the Ezy Homes team, as of September 2009, in the role of draftsperson.

Most recently, Stella was previously employed by Avalon Property Group, as the head drafstperson for Adenbrook Homes.  A restructure within that organisation made Stella's role redundant. 

Their loss is our gain!

Stella brings with her an exciting energy and personal flair to the role - as well as a passion for home design.

Attention to detail is paramount in this role - a skill that Stella has demonstrated - and from which Ezy Homes clients will greatly benefit.

Learn more about Ezy Homes key personnel by clicking here.