For those fortunate enough to find themselves in a position to build a new home, one of the huge advantages is having the ability to tailor a home which is both beautiful and economical to run. With energy and gas bills skyrocketing this has never been so important.
Luxury home builders such as Wisdom Homes in Sydney, are recognising sustainability as a key issue with clients and have moved to design and build homes which have environmental and ethical integrity – minimising the impact to the environment whilst maximising aesthetic beauty and functionality.
Harnessing the sun
Skylights are a beautiful and natural way to direct sunlight into a home. Quick and easy to install, they can transform bathrooms, walk-in-robes, kitchens and any room which could do with the lift of light.
Solar panels are becoming a common sight on roofs and are the most efficient way to save substantial costs on energy bills whilst having low to neutral impact on the environment. How much can you save? This depends on a number of factors such as:
- How much energy you consume
- Where you live
- The size of the unit and panels you install
- Tariff rates
In some states, solar power can result in an over-supply meaning you can feed power back into the grid, resulting in a buyback of energy. In these circumstances, customers will often be asked to sign an agreement with their energy providers which will see them receiving a rate of around 8c/kWh for the excess solar power to be fed back into the grid.
Energy wise gardens which incorporate indigenous and drought hardy plants will withstand the rigours of our environment and require less water. Group plants together based on their water requirements to minimise water usage.
Composting and using organic waste matter to fertilise your garden will minimise your environmental footprint.
Stop the loss
Double glazing and well-designed window treatments can substantially reduce energy bills by minimising the loss of heating and cooling which can dissipate through windows. In fact, as can be seen in the diagram at the bottom of the page, up to 20 percent of heat loss disappears through our windows.
Sustainable building materials can not only enhance your homes beauty and environmental integrity, they avoid the toxic gases and harmful chemicals which can be present or emitted from man made materials.
PVC is one of the most toxic consumer products on the market and yet can be found in a host of home products including but not limited to:
- Plantation shutters
- Building materials
Worse still, once it is exposed to the heat, for example when used in blinds and window coverings, it ‘off gases’ releasing a potent mixture of chemicals which can result in a host of ailments particularly harmful to pets and children.
Building a home provides you with the opportunity to incorporate natural products into your finishes and window treatments, ensuring your family’s health is protected.
Landscaping should incorporate a range of water retention and loss prevention features to promote recycling, strategic reticulation and water saving through the use of rainwater storage tanks.
Simply replacing your old Halogen light bulbs with LED’s can result in 75 percent less energy usage. For those building a new home, installing LED lights throughout makes cost effective sense.
According to sustainability.vic.gov.au our homes are vulnerable to substantial heat loss without suitable insulation. As illustrated below, without proper insulation in place, our homes can hemorrhage heat from every angle.
Building a new home is the ideal time to start the move to a greener lifestyle. As can be seen, environmental sustainability is not only about the environment, it is also about creating more cost effective methods of running a home and a safer, healthier life for our families.