Design a home that's good for your health and your wallet
The best way to make sure your home is great to live in and kind to the environment is to build it that way.
Everyone wants a home that’s comfortable, healthy, kind to the environment and cost effective to live in. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start and what features make the biggest impact. Here are some suggestions on how to make your castle comfortable as well as sustainable.
Start with design
One of the most effective (not to mention cost-effective) ways to make your home more comfortable is to make good use of passive design. Passive design principles ensure your house is built to stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It includes getting the aspect right, so that the spaces you spend most of the time in during the day face north or north east. It also includes the house’s overall ‘envelope’ (roof, walls, windows and floors) to ensure good airflow, plenty of daylight and more even temperatures.
This requires selecting a house design that is suited to the block you have chosen. In some cases, this can be achieved easily, while in others it may require ‘flipping’ the design. Do some research about what you want then speak to your builder – their experience will help you refine your ideas and tailor them to your home.
Fill it with the right stuff
Once you’ve got your comfortable house built, it’s time to fill it up – but only with the right stuff.
Adding rooftop solar panels to your home is pretty much a no-brainer. Over time, the savings on your electricity bills should significantly outweigh the initial cost. Residential battery storage solutions are now available, like Tesla’s Powerwall, LG Chem or the Australian-made Redflow system, to help you save even more.
The flooring, paints and joinery you choose can also improve your health and reduce the risk of respiratory conditions like asthma. Check the National Asthma Council of Australia’s Sensitive Choice website for more information.
But you don’t need to stop there. You can select energy-efficient appliances (made easier by our Energy Rating system), install ceiling fans, use LED light globes and install a rainwater tank. If you are looking for new appliances and furnishings, don’t discount second hand options. Gumtree, eBay and antique retailers have a great range of pre-loved items that will save you heaps.
Run it efficiently
Once you’re happily ensconced in your new home, make sure you’re operating it efficiently. Use blinds and awnings to block the sun in summer and welcome it in winter, and moderate your use of air conditioning. Make sure you open windows to let afternoon breezes in and turn on the ceiling fans before the air conditioner. Turn off appliances and lighting when they are not needed.
Then there’s basic home maintenance. Make sure you keep your door and window seals tight, to prevent hot (or cold) air leaking in (or out) when it’s not wanted. Keep all your appliances, including the air conditioner in good operating order. And keep the house clean, to prevent the build-up of allergens like dust and mould.
Anyone can easily adopt (or adapt) many of these ideas to help make their home easy on the environment and great for your family’s health. Not only will you enjoy a home that’s clean and comfortable, you can also save money while reducing your environmental impact.
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The information in this section has been prepared as general information only without consideration for your particular investment objectives, financial circumstances or particular needs. Read the full disclaimer.