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Sustainable Renovations

By Olivia Hughes

With the huge announcement by the Federal government to give eligible Australians homeowners & occupiers $25,000 to build or substantially renovate their homes, The government program named ‘Homebuilder’ will help to boost the construction sector and employment rates. 

The introduction of this grant might encourage you owners to look at ways to sustainably renovate, this will help to reduce future bills and improve the comfort of the home. We look towards creating a passive design within the home that naturally maintains a comfortable temperature range, making the best use of sunlight, shade and natural ventilation throughout the seasons. This can reduce or remove the need for heating or air conditioning, which can be as much as 40% of the average Australian home’s energy costs.

Working With The Sun

When designing the home for energy efficiency it is important to utilise the angle of the sun through winter and summer. Installing north-facing windows helps to capture the winter sun and using shading and eaves to prevent direct hot summer sunlight hitting north-facing window glazing. Having windows that open encourages ventilation and a prevailing breeze that can flush out heat. 

Sealing 

Stats show that one fifth of heat is lost due to warm air escaping out of door gaps, window frames and open fireplaces. Effective draught proofing can significantly reduce this. Installing good quality curtains improve installation whilst window sealing reduces heat transfer. Chimney balloons can be installed to prevent cold air  escaping through the fireplace and sealing the front door can will keep warm in.

Materials 

When replacing certain surfaces or furniture consider sourcing recycled materials. A recycled splash back, cabinet or bench tops can become a focal point within the home. Antiques or op shops may be the place to begin to find unique furniture or fittings. Alternatively supporting companies who use recycled materials in their production can make it a more customised experience.

Installing Solar Panels

Utilising the sun as a renewable energy source in the home will significantly drop the cost of bills in the long term. With no direct greenhouse emissions forming because the electricity is made from sunlight rather than burning fossil fuels. The sun is a renewable energy source meaning it will never run out, so you can guarantee it will be utilised forever. They are low maintenance and have a major market appeal if you sell the property. 

Led Lighting 

LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent lights. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. Less energy use, reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions, overall decreasing your ecological footprint. 

Paint

The Market for Eco-friendly paints has significantly grown and the extensive options are now easily available. Paint free from Volatile Organic Compounds ensures there is no toxic smell, making it safe for the chemically sensitive, asthma sufferers, pregnant women, children and pets. 

Garden 

To prevent the garden soaking up precious household drinking water, you can consider planting plants that are suitable to our local environment. The installation of a grey water tank to help to reuse water from the home to the garden. Or installing water-efficient drip irrigation systems to reduce run-off and evaporation. 

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