Last updated on September 13th, 2022 at 06:16 am
Sustainability is a huge focus for builders, architects and homeowners alike, with many looking for ways to lessen their impact on the environment and save money along the way. Incorporating Earth-friendly principles requires a holistic approach, starting with design, orientation and location, and finishing with renewable technology and environmentally friendly materials.
But knowing where to begin with a sustainable home can be overwhelming. And that’s where we come in. As trusted new home builders in ACT, NSW and Victoria, we’ve built our fair share of sustainable homes.
Here are our must-dos when it comes to reducing the impact of your home on the environment.
A sustainable home aims to reduce its environmental impact through intelligent design features, innovative technology and efficient materials. This starts from the very initial stages, when features such as location, size and orientation are considered to allow for passive heating and cooling and natural light.
A sustainable home’s layout encourages these elements, while the materials used are low-impact, high-performance that are not only efficient in their ongoing use but in the manufacturing and shipping process as well. Finally, these types of homes often include technology such as solar panels and rainwater tanks.
There are countless ways to introduce sustainability into your new home, so where should you start? We’d suggest prioritising the following essentials because they’ll have the most impact and ensure healthier and more comfortable living spaces for years to come.
Passive solar design
You could install all the bells and whistles in cooling and heating technology but without passive solar design, you’ll never make a dent in your energy bills. This concept is introduced at the very early stages of your build, taking advantage of two completely free resources: the sun and the breeze!
Work with your builder to establish the best orientation to encourage natural light, cross-ventilation and passive heating and cooling.
When it comes to electrical appliances in your home, opt for the highest Energy Star rating possible to ensure maximum energy-efficiency. This goes beyond fridges and stoves – other examples include water heaters, televisions, computers, washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves.
So much energy can be lost through windows, so it’s worth investing in technology like double glazing and non-conductive frames. Your town or city’s climate can also influence your window choice – low-solar gain windows are ideal for warm environments, whereas triple-glazing and insulated frames are preferred for cooler climates.
Australia isn’t lacking in sunshine, so why not take advantage of it with rooftop solar panels? Depending on where you live, your home could operate off energy captured from the sun, reducing your energy bills and decreasing your reliance on fossil-fuel energy – a win for both the environment and your pocket! If solar isn’t an option, your local energy provider may be able to suggest other options, such as wind power or geothermal heat.
Installing a rainwater tank is a great way to capture rainfall, reducing your reliance on water from the mains and contributing to sustainability.
Insulation and thermal mass
Any good builder or architect building a sustainable home should make thermal mass a high priority, as this can make a huge difference in keeping a home’s temperature stable. This means ensuring the building envelope is airtight and there are no opportunities for air leaks that could compromise the internal temperature.
As part of this, every new sustainable home should feature excellent insulation. When installed correctly, it will keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter, thereby reducing the need for artificial heating and cooling sources.
If you’re thinking about building a sustainable home, we’d love to talk about your plans. Contact us to arrange a time discuss your vision.
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