Buffer Zones

Thinking about buffer zones when you are planning a house layout, or considering builders standard layouts, will save you on heating and cooling costs.

So what are buffer zones?…………………………………..Basically they are rooms and spaces that may be heated to a lower temperature, only heated occasionally, or even left unheated in winter. In summer the situation is reversed and these rooms and spaces will not need to be cooled to the same extent as the main rooms.

As these rooms and spaces are at a temperature between the main rooms and the outside they act as additional insulation reducing the cost of keeping the main rooms at a comfortable temperature.

Typical  ‘Buffer Zones’ are:

  • Roof space
  • Garage
  • Guest bedrooms
  • Laundry
  • Study
  • Toilet
  • Bathrooms
  • Porch
  • Conservatory

An example of using buffer zones can be seen on the following floor plan.

Downscroft plan

The study, laundry, main bathroom, toilet, en-suite are all enclosed rooms on the South side of the house.

All this reduces the volume to be heated in winter and stops heat loss to the North.

A popular buffer zone in England is a Porch.
We haven’t had one in an Australian house yet and they don’t seem to be very common in standard designs. . .but if you live in the High Country, or Tasmania, one could be well worthwhile.

Conservatories are also less common in Australia probably because of the overheating risk in summer. They can however be useful for increasing ventilation through the house if properly designed with large top vents.

Has a buffer zone worked for you?

For more posts about plans see the Design Category.

To save money on Heating and Cooling see Insulation