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Creating a comfortable home

Your task is to design a house that is environmentally friendly. You have to
design it so that it will be thermally comfortable to live in throughout the
Pilbara summer.
In the summer, a majority of house-hold energy is used towards cooling,
such as air conditioning to achieve thermal comfort in the home. Not only
is this process expensive, but it is also bad for the environment. Your goal
is to design a house that will stay as cool as possible in summer without
the installation of air-conditioners.
During your design you will want to take into account how heat is gained
and lost by an average house, as shown on the next page.

In your design you should consider:

The position of the house

The type of building materials used for the floors, walls and roof
Design features such as a flat or sloping roof, types of windows (eg
single or double glazed) and ventilation
The surrounding of the house, including types of trees.
The cost of the supplies must be calculated (not the land)

Other costs/designs to consider are

Electricity and gas required for cooling etc

The weather, including cyclones, dust and heat

You must:
1. Provide a design or model of the house
2. A costing for the building products and appliances used
3. The science behind the design and the materials you have chosen
Finally, your class mates are prospective purchasers of your house design
so you must be able to sell the product to them and explain the ideas
surrounding your choice of design and materials

Heat is lost or gained through the roof, through the windows, through
gaps around the door, through the walls and through the floor.
Heat energy is transferred from homes by conduction through the walls,
floor, roof and windows. It is also transferred from homes by convection.
For example, cod air can enter the house through gaps in doors and
windows, and convection currents can transfer heat energy in the roof
space to the roof tiles.

Heat energy also leaves the house by radiation through the walls, roof and
As part of this investigation we will be completing investigations in class
to guide you in the discovery of what features and materials you will use.
This will include investigating

Radiation : different colours and materials

Heat conduction and insulation
Specific heat capacity
Latent heat of fusion and vaporisation



Main activity


Exploring radiation: different colours and materials


Exploring convection


Exploring heat conduction and insulation


Class time to prepare


Exploring specific heat capacity


Exploring latent heat of fusion and vaporisation


Class time to prepare


Final report due


Class presentation of design