How to Create a Planet Friendly Home
Do you want to build a more sustainable future for you and your family? Cut down on living costs and feel better? Think eco-friendly homes. These houses have many benefits to both homeowners and the environment.
These houses are designed to save money, energy and support the environment. With climate action red hot, it's time we all consider green building as more than just a trend, but a way of life moving forward.
In fact, green building has doubled over the years with Australia a leading country in the movement. But how do we go about creating sustainable homes for the everyday homeowner? Below are some simple things you can do or consider for your existing home or a new project, to help reshape our communities into sustainable cities of the future.
1. Invest in Passive Design
'Passive Design' is an important building feature to incorporate into your home. It allows you to take advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home, improving indoor air quality and minimise temperature fluctuations. By harnessing the sun for warmth and wind for refreshing breezes, you can make the most of these free resources. Engaging an Architect to help you employ this element into your home for your particular climate, will reduce and possibly eliminate the needs for auxiliary heating or cooling which accounts for around 40% (depending on region) of energy use in the average Australian home.
2. Include Efficient Glazing
Glazed windows and doors are the eyes of the home. They bring in light, fresh air and access to views that help the dwelling connect to the outdoors. They can, however, be a major source of unwanted heat lose and gain. Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through glazing. To overcome these thermal performance problems you should select the right glazing systems for your orientation, climate and consider the size of each window and location of the opening. Architects are beneficial in assisting with this advice. At Archiblox, all our homes are fitted with double glazed windows as a standard, and we work to ensure each window and opening is correctly placed according to orientation and the conditions of the property.
3. Consider Your Materials
Wether your building or renovating be careful of the materials you choose. You spend a lifetime in your home, therefore ensuring your space is the best environment for you and your family is imperative. If you select durable fixtures & finishes such as our signature corrugated metal cladding they can last alot longer, saving you both time and money. It is also important to choose products which are locally produced, renewable or have come from a sustainable sources, even up-cycling material from tips and . Opting for these resources offers reduced carbon emissions and contributes to less waste.
Going green also means choosing products that are healthier and free from manufactured, synthetic materials, which are low-VOC and made with natural materials. These products will help to create spaces which are better for families that suffer from allergies and respiratory illnesses.
4. Add Rainwater Tanks
Rainwater is another great, free resource. This valuable asset has been collected since colonial times. Including a rainwater tank to your home can reduce your water bills, provide an alternative supply of water during restrictions, decrease stormwater runoff and help maintain a thriving garden. Depending on your tank size & climate, mains water supply can be reduced by up to 100%.
5. Opt for Energy Efficient Appliances
When it comes to the fit-out of your kitchen and laundries make sure you choose energy efficient devices. Appliances account for up to 30% of household energy use. While the initial outlay for these products can be more expensive, the savings can add up to more than any purchase price over the life of the appliance. A water-efficient dishwasher or washing machine will save energy and water. So, be sure to check both energy and water efficiency star labels on the machine when shopping around.
- Washing clothes in cold water can save up to 10 times more energy than a warm wash.
- Reduce standby power. Many appliances use power when left on, even if not in use. This can account for 3% of household electricity consumption: most can be switched off at the power point instead.
6. Turn Your Roof White or Green
An easy way to reduce your energy is to paint your roof white - it will reflect heat and save on costs. But if you want to take it a step futher, a green roof is even better! Planting local native plants on your rooftop will not only look amazing but will help to insulate your home in winter, capture and harvest rainwater, reduce water runoff & discharge, produce oxygen and create an amazing habitat for wildlife.
7. Harness the Sun - Go Solar
In Australia it's no secret that we get plenty of sun, so why don't we use it's power? We have the highest penetration of residential rooftop solar in the world, with more than 2.1 millions homes embracing these systems. Solar energy is an safe, infinite, renewable energy source. So as long as the sun keeps rising, you can continue to generate power.
While the initial outlay can be an added expense, government incentives and a competitive market for this technology are making it more accessible and affordable, with the long term savings outweighing the purchase and installation cost. A 4kW solar system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 150 tonnes in it's lifetime and once installed these systems require little to no maintenance.
8. Create Edible Gardens & Composting Systems
While the design of the home is important, to maximise your green effect include an equally sustainable garden.
You can do this by incorporating edible gardens, compost systems or take on a new hobby such as beekeeping. Fill with herbs, veggies, worm farms and native plants or if space is limited try a vertical garden. Backyards of this nature promote sustainability, whilst offering a place of refuge for both you, your family and the native wildlife.
Sustainable homes don't have to be complicated, by going back to basics and simplifying living we can make difference in the built environment. Employing renewable technologies, eco-friendly materials, and clever design choices, you can create a home that cares for both you and the planet.