An eco-friendly home can provide greater comfort, cut energy costs and be an attractive feature for future buyers – along with being better for the planet.
So how do you make your home more eco-friendly?
Most new builds are subjected to environmental standards. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme is just one standard that must be met, and states that all new builds and major renovations in Victoria must achieve an energy efficiency rating of at least 6 for houses and 5 for apartments.
However, older homes weren’t necessarily built with this in mind.
There are simple things homeowners can do to create a more eco-friendly home, and reduce their cost of living in terms of bills.
Even older homes can implement tricks to reduce their resource consumption, and contribute to a healthier environmental future.
Install solar panels
Solar is a sure way to reduce your household’s carbon footprint. It’s become increasingly affordable over the years, through the combination of better technology and government initiatives.
In Victoria, the Solar Homes program has reduced carbon emissions by 750,000 tonnes over the past four years. This equates to the removal of 200,000 cars from the road.
The program is just one way the government is encouraging the uptake of solar panel installation through financial incentives, saving Victorian households an annual average of $1073 on their electricity bills.
“Our Solar Homes Program is driving down the cost of living for Victorian households and reducing emissions,” said minister for Solar Homes, Lily D’Ambrosio.
“Solar Homes customers are well positioned to absorb energy bill rises in energy costs, by time-setting appliances to run during the day when solar systems are operating at their peak.”
Solar panels are quick to install and customers often start seeing the benefits in their next electricity bill.
Invest in insulation
Insulation protects homes from harsh temperatures in summer and winter, reducing the need for heating and cooling.
It works by keeping warm air in during the cooler months and hot air out during summer. But its effectiveness is somewhat determined by the design and layout of the house.
Homes should be designed and insulated according to the climatic conditions of the specific location. Insulation can be easily upgraded in the roof and under the flooring of a home, if access permits, and replaced during renovations.
The effectiveness will also depend on the product selected, because different products have been designed specifically for different climates. Seeking expert advice is imperative to select the appropriate product for your home.
The installation of good quality roof and ceiling insulation can potentially save homeowners up to 45% on heating and cooling costs, significantly lowering electricity bills.
Install a smart metre
Smart metres are clever gadgets that measure your home’s energy consumption and usage habits.
They can help to make your home more eco-friendly by highlighting your energy usage, so you can identify unnecessary consumption and make a concerted effort to cut it down.
They also allow you to remotely turn on and off the electricity supply and can assist energy providers in rectifying power cuts quickly.
Smart metres often allow consumers to pair with an app to track their usage and gain valuable insights. This is handy to avoid bill shock and have an element of control over your home’s energy usage.
Upgrade fixtures and appliances
Energy-saving fixtures like water savers and LED lights are easy ways to conserve resources without investing lots of money.
Water savers act by restricting water flow and LED lights use up to 75% less energy than standard halogen light globes. LEDs also last longer, with an average lifespan that is 5 to 10 times longer than halogen light bulbs, resulting in less bulbs ending up in landfill.
Appliances like white goods can make up a whopping 30% of a household’s energy consumption, so investing in energy-efficient models is well worth it. The use of mandatory energy rating labels in Australia makes it easy to select the most efficient appliances.
Grow a veggie garden
Growing a vegetable garden makes a lot of sense right now with skyrocketing supermarket prices, but it also helps to lower your family’s carbon footprint.
Replacing just some of your store-bought food can reduce your reliance on supermarket groceries, which are often heavily packaged and travel long distances to get to our shelves.
It also helps to combat food wastage, reducing the amount of food ending up in landfills.
There are many things you can do to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, but creating an eco-friendly home is a good starting point.