6 Ways To Design Energy-Efficiency Into Your Renovation
The motivation for adopting green design in the home is bigger than better energy consumption. High utility bills, respiratory problems, allergies, self-sufficiency and comfort have all become the backbone for change.
Green renovations have sustainability in mind from the moment you begin. To build a home that’s comfortable and functional, there are practical steps around materials, passive design, insulation and windows for greener alternatives.
Here’s how you can create a sustainable sanctuary for your next renovation.
1. Use sustainable materials
Recycled or salvaged materials cut building costs and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Incorporate them into your property as feature elements. Natural resources, like bamboo, mud brick and sustainable timbers also have good building properties to use alongside.
Reclaimed building materials such as brick and timber may also be used to add character to homes. Many of these supplies are stronger, last longer and don’t require a lot of maintenance, if any. Upcycle lights, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, flooring, cabinets, sinks, dimensional lumber, bricks and stone tiles or slabs.
2. Add green building features
Lush green roofs, facades and walls create a living environment with significant benefits.
Plants function as a natural thermal mechanism and reduce the need for heating and cooling. Seasonal sun control to protect your home from harsh sunlight in summer and offering warmth in winter.
To balance green features, make sure you choose energy-efficient windows. Although windows can chew into renovation budgets, switching to greener alternatives will reduce power bills and create a more comfortable home. Instead of installing more light fixtures, use smart window placement and skylights to flood natural light into your home.
3. Rethink water usage
Renovations provide a scope to rethink the way you use water.
Installing water efficient fixtures and systems is the first step to reduce consumption. Dual flush toilets, efficient dishwashers, low-flow tapware and garden irrigation systems for a water-smart backyard are effective measures for reducing how much water you use. Or take water reduction a step further with a system designed to catch rainwater for flushing toilets and gardening.
Up to 90% of Australian’s water consumption is used for toilet flushing. If treated, greywater may also be used to flush toilets, water gardens and wash clothes.
4. Go Solar
Power your eco-friendly home with clean, renewable energy sources such as roof-top solar panels.
By taking advantage of solar power, you put money back into your pocket and lower your energy consumption. If you’re power-savvy, you can install a smart battery system to predict how much electricity the panels will create and when to store this energy to lower power bills.
To make an even greener use of your roof, use cool metal roofing with a reflective surface to keep heat from going into the property. Steel roofs are recyclable, unlike traditional shingles, and reduce energy costs by 20%.
Solar water heating will also cut energy requirements.
5. Smart home automation
Home automation streamlines home life, but it’s an ingenious way to improve energy-efficiency too.
Lights, locks, security cameras, home irrigation systems, whitegoods, thermostats, heating, cooling and solar energy are examples of devices working in smart homes.
Now, you can conserve water with smart sprinklers, control household humidity and save energy using smart lights. Perhaps the biggest benefit though is monitoring energy consumption. After all, if you can’t measure or see where your energy is going, how can you save and improve? Track energy usage, detect appliance problems, stop energy drainage and find alternatives for energy-hungry devices.
6. Embrace indoor plants
After you complete your renovations, add indoor plants to use as natural coolants.
Species such as snake plants (Mother in Law Tongue), spider plants, aloe vera, rubber plants and willow-leaf figs can help bring the temperature down inside by absorbing the warm air and releasing oxygen to cool the moisture. Similar to the way humans sweat. Some plants will also flush out toxins from the air at the same time, like bamboo and peace lilies. Remember – the more leaf area, the higher amount of oxygen and moisture the plant has.