Thinking of building, buying or renovating a home? Before making any decisions regarding building, buying or renovating your home, make sure you tick all the boxes in terms of design, energy-efficiency, material, and cost. Choosing the right builder to build your new home with, could be a hassle if you are having your first experience. Here are some important tips on how to go about building your next green home:
1. Does Size Matter?
The very first step in building your new home is deciding the size. You might think the bigger your home, the better. I am not against the idea that if you are planning to extend your family or bring in few relatives, you need to put proper resources and accommodation in place. But you need to consider that a small home built with eco-friendly techniques is going to have a smaller environmental impact in comparison to a larger home.
Obviously, a house that is too large is more likely to cost more to heat and cool. If you are thinking of keeping your new home manageable and cost-effective, then you need to keep in mind that size matters a lot.
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2. Why Passive Design?
The next step in having an energy-efficient home is finding the right people who are experts in passive design. Passive designed homes will use less energy during the hottest summer days and coldest winters. About 40% of energy use in Australian homes goes to auxiliary heating or cooling systems which could be dramatically reduced by taking advantage of natural cooling and heating sources.
Although the passive design is critical in having an energy efficient home, it needs to be accompanied with active users who have a basic understanding of how the home works with the daily and seasonal climate, such as when to open or close windows, and how to operate adjustable shading.
3. Never Overlook Environmental Cost of Material!
The most important factor in any strategy to sustainable materials is to reduce demand for new material since Around 18.2 million tonnes (42%) of the solid waste generated in Australia is building waste. So, if you are willing to renovate your old house, a lot of the building material can be reused to minimise the wastage. But what is exactly sustainable material? Sustainable materials are those that would not negatively impact non-renewable resource, nature or human health.
In addition, Getting a consultation from experienced green home builders can be always helpful in choosing the right materials to eliminate any environmental impact. An experienced green builder can assist you with choosing durable, low maintenance materials that best suit your home design.
4. Reducing Energy Consumption is a Must!
Despite the attempts to limit global greenhouse gas emissions, Australian households are directly responsible for about one-fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This sounds quite a lot! The question is how green home building can help with reducing greenhouse gas emission to limit global warming and sea level rise. Well, the answer is simple “good design”.
A good house design accompanied with behavior that focuses on energy conservation is the key. Of course using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, which produce very few greenhouse gas emissions could be another option but these solutions usually come at a much higher cost.
5. Will Your House be Adaptable to Environmental Changes?
A green eco-friendly house not only has the minimum negative impact on its surroundings but also has a net positive ecological and social impact. I know that it might sound like a very ambitious goal but all you need to think of before building your new home is whether it will be flexible and adaptable enough to deal with climate change, population growth, and resource depletion in 50-year’ time or not. As the resources will be scarer and most likely more expensive in the future, will your home be capable of meeting its own energy and water needs?
6. Of course Affordability Matters!
When it comes to the price and affordability of your new home, cost of sustainable improvement could be seen as a barrier. Well, that’s why we should not confuse the concept of cost(price) with affordability.
The price of your home is the amount you pay today to own it which is an economic cost, while affordability can be defined over its lifespan. That means well-designed, climate appropriate, eco-friendly improvements make your home more affordable over time. Therefore, while talking about “affordability” we take different factors such as increased comfort, health and amenity into account.
So, no matter you are planning to spend only a number of years, a decade or a longer period in your newly built house, your home will have to accommodate changing needs over its lifetime and this could be achieved through building energy efficient homes and using sustainable materials that reduce energy consumption and has minimal negative impact on the environment.