Whether you are building a brand new home, or thinking about a significant renovation, it would be smart to consider some of these product innovations to help cut your ongoing utility costs and enjoy a greener home. They may not all be new, but they are improving in efficiency all the time and if you’ve considered any of these in the past, it might be time to look again.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Thinking ahead, a few years, these may well become a vital ingredient of our homes, making us self-sufficient and in the meantime, is simply the right thing to do to preserve water as much as we are able.
Harvesting systems vary in cost from hundreds of dollars to thousands, but will likely reduce your mains water usage by up to 50%.
In fact, many people are able to manage exclusively on harvested rainwater.
Landscape tanks provide an incredibly discreet and attractive solution to water storage and a greener home, building the tanks into retaining walls, garden fences and even pool surrounds as an integral part of your landscaped garden. This allows you to build in a significant amount of water storage that no-one would ever guess was there. They can be painted or rendered to match any external décor finishes.
And these tanks are designed to last over 100 years, so once installed you’ll never need to worry about them again.
Harness the Power of The Sun
Solar is much cheaper than it once was – and is more affordable to install.
Energy Australia now offers solar systems on a 5 year interest free payment plan with no upfront fees – and most systems come with a 25 year performance warranty.
Battery prices are still expensive at around $10000, so the payback will take an estimated 15 years, but if you are building or renovating, that’s a small amount in the scheme of things that will save significant running costs immediately.
Efficiencies in this technology have improved considerably, so you don’t need to worry if your property is not north facing, as this will likely only mean a reduction of 10 – 15% of your energy production.
We’ve always been fond of glass in Australia, and its use has extended to flooring, walkways, and internal walls, as a strong, and green building material. Dynamic Glass is coated with electrochromic ceramic, made up of multiple thin layers of metal oxide, which tints on command via a mobile app or adjusts intuitively in response to outdoor conditions. A combination of predictive weather feeds and real time sensors anticipate and respond to changes. By admitting natural daylight and rejecting unwanted glare, dynamic glass creates a comfortable and regulated indoor climate – and is estimated to provide around a 20% energy saving.
Movable walls have become a recognised element for creating a greener home, maximising space and view, and helping optimise floor plans, square meterage and energy use. Initially employed in small apartments to offer home owners a more flexible space, they have developed to impact the design and building process itself, facilitating a reduction in the footprint of a new homes or commercial buildings alike.
Designers have become very taken with the concept and it’s easy to see why when you see some of the stunningly creative applications in evidence these days. It’s a pretty cool way to live, being able to transform your home to suit your mood, social occasion or accommodation of guests.
Building storage into the walls themselves gives a great illusion of space too and eliminates the need for excessive furniture.
And having the ability to cosy up into small rooms that take little heating in winter means great energy savings too.
The ultimate manifestation of a greener home, green, or living roofs look amazing, insulate buildings, soak up storm water, reducing urban runoff, and come with the bonus of environmental benefits and create a habitat for wildlife.
The vegetation also filters pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air, helping to lower allergies and respiratory problems such as asthma.
Another benefit for city dwellers is the inherent sound-proofing.
Costs vary, but a living roof is more affordable than you might think, and green roofing can actually extend the life of a roof by over 200%.
Experiments in the US and Canada report a 26% reduction in heat loss in winter and the same reduction in cooling requirements in summer.
Green walls seem to have caught on in Australia a little faster than living roofs, but we’d love to see more of them around.
If you’d like to build a greener home, talk to Sydney Beach Homes to explore how we can help transform your home into an energy-efficient haven, or design and build a brand new green home, incorporating these elements and more.
Call us any time, or drop by the office for a cuppa. Green tea, of course 🙂