At the Southern Star Group, we love sustainability and helping the Earth as much as possible.
And why wouldn’t we – sustainable living not only saves the planet, but it can also save you a lot of money!
So, to help you create your sustainable home oasis, we’ve compiled six tips that help you make your new home as sustainable as possible.
1. Don't Skimp On Insulation
Well-insulated homes are better at keeping a constant temperature all year round. They stop the heat and cold from leaving, reducing reliance on heating and air-conditioning (which will save you the big bucks).
The National Construction Code dictates the minimum insulation quality that you can use depending on the climate zone that you live in, but you can add extra environmental efficiency to your home by upgrading to a higher-performing recycled polyester, mineral wool or cellulose fibre insulation.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
Home design has come a long way in just the past 30-odd years. Homes that heat and cool ‘passively’ incorporate elements like orientation, air movement, thermal mass and shading to create spaces that rely less on heating and air-conditioning (which contributes to a whopping 2% of all greenhouse emissions).
Visit the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme website (nathers.gov.au) and get in touch with a NatHERS assessor to help you increase the overall energy efficiency of your home.
3. Power Your Own Home With The Elements
If you have the budget for it – produce your power! Solar power is by far the most popular way of going ‘off-grid’ but by no means the only way – options using wind power and geothermal energy can also help you go off grid, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Sophisticated battery solutions also now exist to store additional solar-generated power – or even additional power from the grid, so you can keep Netflix running even during a power outage.
4. Install A Greywater System
Wastewater from your shower, washing machines, baths, basins and many other appliances can be collected using greywater treatment systems and then reused in your garden and on your lawn – while saving the high-quality drinking water for your chai tea.
Sorting out a greywater system doesn't have to be expensive, with the simplest water diverters starting at under $1000. But more advanced systems can be installed depending on your usage requirements and budget.
5. Check Regulations
State, Federal and Local governments love greener buildings. You only have to look at the new energy efficiency mandates in the National Construction Code 2022 (to be released confusingly in October 2023) to see that this is the case.
Many environmental inclusions that you might be budgeting for might already be the bare minimum required. This is also the case on a local level – many local councils will impose mandatory inclusions like water tanks, or minimum required insulation in your new home.
6. Use Energy Efficient Building Materials
When it comes to making your home as green and energy efficient as possible, you need to understand U-values. In essence, a U value measures how energy efficient a building product is by measuring how well a product is resistant to heat flow, and the easier it is to regulate the building’s heat internally. A lower U-value indicates higher insulative performance and greater energy efficiency.
U-values in Australia typically fall between 2.0 and 10.0 (with 2.0 being at the higher-performing end of the scale).
By using window components and glazing with a low combined U-value you can make your home extremely energy efficient. For example, a double-glazed window in a thermally efficient frame can improve your home insulation by as much as 50%.
If you’d like to talk to us about windows, doors and glazing options to complement your sustainable new home get in touch with our team.