When you hear the words “eco-friendly home”, you might think of a modern, architecturally-designed property out in the bush, with high-tech features like solar panels and a green roof.
However, making our homes environmentally sustainable does not have to be complicated, expensive, or have an unusual design.
Every property has the potential to become eco-friendly, and you’ll not only be helping the environment, but you’ll also be saving on water and electricity bills.
If you’re thinking of renovating your home this year, you’re in the perfect position to make it more sustainable and we have five tips to help you achieve it.
1. Choose sustainable materials
From paint to the finishes of your home, try to pick products that are the most environmentally friendly. Opt for recycled timber as these reduce the number of trees being cut down and add a natural warmth. Look for non-toxic paint with low or zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as this will prevent harmful chemicals from evaporating into the atmosphere.
2. Pick energy-efficient appliances
It is important to do your research with the appliances you install in your home. Take note of energy rating labels, which will compare the energy efficiency of a product and give you an idea of how much power it requires to run. With lighting, install LED lights as these last longer and require less energy than standard bulbs.
3. Consider the design of your home
When you are planning the layout and design of the home, think about how you can make it more energy-efficient. Insulate the ceilings and walls as this will help keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Windows should be strategically positioned to maximise cross-ventilation, which will improve the quality of the air and control the build-up of heat in the day. For additional heat reduction, choose double-glazed windows. Another important element is the location of rooms. Living areas should be north-facing to capture the most sunlight, while bedrooms should be on the south as this is cooler.
4. Use water-efficient features
Renovating your home provides you the opportunity to re-do your plumbing so that you can be more efficient with your water resources. Consider installing a rainwater tank that is connected to the toilets and your washing machine. Make sure you have a tap connected to the tank as the water can be used for gardening. Don’t forget to install water-efficient tapware and appliances in the home.
5. Minimise construction waste
Renovating or rebuilding a home can create a lot of waste, but this can be reduced with some careful planning. Where possible, re-use building materials to cut down on costs and waste. Materials that cannot be used should be recycled, and these include steel, aluminium, timber, concrete, bricks and tiles, carpet, and plastics. In your contract, you can ask your builder to sort materials for recycling and collection, and you can assist in the process by providing clearly marked bins.