Most established homes were neither designed nor built with much regard for energy efficiency or water conservation.
Ironically, many of our earliest homes came complete with verandahs and water tanks, but recently these features have been abandoned as homes have become bigger, more energy-hungry and more water-thirsty than ever before. Our challenge now is to try to improve the performance of our existing homes...to reduce their demand for energy and water but at the same time maintain our quality of life.
The good news is that many Australian home-owners want to make their homes more sustainable and are prepared to budget for improvements. If you would like to do something but aren’t sure where to start, remember these 3 principles:
1. Inform – As they say, knowledge is power. The federal government website www.yourhome.gov.au is a great place to find information about making your home more sustainable.
2. Implement – Implement as much change as you can. Often there are small things you can do straight away to make your home more enviro friendly and energy efficient.
3. Improve – Think about the longer-term improvements you can make and budget for them. You don’t have to do everything at once, take it one step at a time and do things as soon as you can.
10 things you can implement easily to make your home more sustainable:
1. Fix leaky taps, showers and toilet cisterns
2. Turn lights off when you leave the room
3. Don't leave computers or appliances on standby
4. Re-set the thermostats on your heating and cooling (18° in winter and 24° in summer)
5. Install low-energy light globes
6. Fit weather-seals to your windows and doors
7. Install external blinds
8. Put in a ceiling fan
9. Change to low-flow shower heads
10. Plant a drought-tolerant garden
10 sustainability improvements to consider making to upgrade your home:
1. Insulate the ceiling
2. Buy high star-rated appliances
3. Install solar panels
4. Replace your toilet cisterns
5. Upgrade your heating system
6. Put in a water tank
7. Upgrade your hot water service
8. Fit a grey-water diversion system
9. Upgrade your windows
10. Build a pergola or verandah
Finally, if you're planning to renovate make sure it's properly designed! Archicentre architects understand the importance of orientation, zoning, construction and ventilation and can design you a home that will be comfortable to live in, inexpensive to run and cost-effective to build.