A renovation to make your home more sustainable may seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be. With some innovative thinking and forward planning, you can transform your existing property and lower your carbon footprint, creating a forever home that’s better for the environment.
Here are our six top tips for a sustainable home renovation.
Windows can make a significant difference to the energy-efficiency of your home so it’s good to take the time to assess your options. During the design process, make sure window locations capture natural light, encourage ventilation and allow for passive solar heating. The general rule is to align with sunrise and sunset, and the seasons – priortise large East and West-facing windows, and North-facing windows for the Australian winter light.
Most homes in Australia have single glazed windows, but double-glazed windows can reduce heat loss or heat gain by 30%. Any new windows you install should be double-glazed, but it’s also worth replacing existing windows with a double-glazed option to allow for better temperature control and maintenance.
Technological developments mean that generating your own power through solar panels may be more achievable than you think. The Federal Government’s small-scale renewable energy scheme creates small-scale technology certificates for every kilowatt of panels you install. These are then bought by energy providers, putting money back in your pocket.
Even if installing solar panels aren’t an option yet, you could look to upgrade any gas appliances in anticipation for moving off-grid in the future.
Step away from the skip! It’s inevitable that your renovation will see excess materials from the areas of your home that you’re changing, but this doesn’t mean they should go straight to the bin. Recycling the original features of your home allows you to retain its character while also saving money and the Earth in the process. For example, timber can be turned into furniture, while bricks in good condition can be repurposed for the new parts of your new home.
4. Shop local
If you’re unable to reuse and recycle, the next best option is to shop locally, prioritising Australian-made materials. This has an added bonus of supporting the local economy, with the main driver to limit the distance raw materials travel before making it to your renovation.
Colorbond steel is a great example of an Australian-made material that’s durable and easily recycled when needed.
Do you want to shout out another brand you use?
Whatever you choose, it’s important that your materials are as environmentally friendly as possible to ensure your renovation maximises all elements of sustainability.
Insulation does wonders for keeping energy output and subsequent bills down, so a renovation is a great opportunity to insulate your home as much as possible. If you’re planning changes to the exterior of your home, it might be worth increasing the thickness of your outside walls – this can make a huge difference to your home’s overall temperature control, resulting in a drop in heating and cooling costs.
If you are replacing your appliances, now’s the time to upgrade to ventless appliances. They will recirculate any heat they generate into the rest of your home, reducing the need for secondary heating sources. They are most effective in homes that are fully insulated and airtight, so if you are going to invest in this technology, don’t forget to invest in insulation too!
We’d love to discuss building your sustainable home renovation. Contact us today and let’s start the conversation!