Author: Jayde Ferguson
Sustainable building is more than just a ‘buzzword’ these days. What was once a trend has now moved to a necessity; with more people every day thinking green. Sustainability starts with simplifying your life; minimising what you use, maximising what you repurpose and prioritising what really matters. Too much time, money, energy and resources are wasted on a day-to-day basis, but the more we’re educated to think green, the easier we see just how easy some of these changes can be.
Building a new home doesn’t have to be any different. By implementing a few sustainable building practices, your dream home can be green-friendly, cut down on everyday living costs and make you feel a million times better about what you have created. Sustainable home builds provide a much needed avenue of change for homeowners. Once the switch has been made, you’re never going to want to look back! Here’s a few realistic ways you can make your home build more sustainable. Starting today!
1. Utilise the Sun
When it comes to sustainability, your sun is your best friend. Especially in Australia, we’re lucky enough to have ample amounts of sunlight – and the sun’s energy can be used for more than just heating us up on a hot summer’s day at the beach. In the early stages of building your home, orientate your new house for maximum sunshine. Install solar water heating and solar panels to take advantage of the sun’s energy and power. Consider passive heating and cooling options to reduce utility costs too.
2. Take Advantage of Recycled Building Materials
There’s a few big benefits of using recycled building materials in your home build. Sustainability is one of the biggest; with homeowners utilising concrete, rubble and other recycled materials to do the right thing by the environment and reduce what’s being disposed in Landfill. By doing this, you decrease the Landfill Levy too. Repurposing perfectly good building materials saves a significant amount on what you need to spend to build your home.
The more recycled products you can utilise for the build, the happier your wallet and the environment will be. Using repurposed materials like stone, timber, concrete and rubble can also give your home a very unique effect; a warm aesthetic appeal that can’t always be achieved with regular materials. The beauty of that rustic, natural charm is undeniable!
3. Be Smart About Waste Removal
After you’ve salvaged what you can, be smart about the way your remove any leftover waste from the build. Recycling waste (as well as using recycled materials) boosts your home’s sustainability considerably and helps to save money in the process. Concrete removal, as well as recycling bricks and other rubble will cut down the high tip costs and improve building practices.
4. Implement Sustainable Landscaping
When you’re building a home, landscaping tends to be one of the last things to think about. Regardless what stage you start incorporating yours though, it’s vital to be smart about the options if you want to stick with a sustainable home build. Smart landscaping can start before you even begin to build when you’re choosing the location. Keep landscaping aligned with nature from day one can help streamline the energy use within the home.
Opt for native and local plant life for gardens and landscaping as these will respond better in the environment and require less water and other resources to look after. Even the smallest outdoor areas should have some form of landscape. Plants, flowers, shrubs and lawns are all an essential part of the ‘green movement’ to prevent erosion, reduce dust and filter water. Recycle and compost where possible, conserve water by being smart about irrigation and encourage the use of reclaimed water. Planting ample trees around the home will boost fresh air and help to keep the house cool too.
5. Incorporate Energy Efficient Windows
Energy efficient windows play an important role in sustainable home and a new home build is the perfect time to incorporate them. Energy Star windows should be installed within the home to help conserve the amount of energy your household uses. The Energy Star rating is a fantastic tool and includes a rating system corresponding with the amount of energy that can be saved. The lower the rating, the more efficient the window is. If you have already purchased the windows and they’re not energy efficient, another way around it is double-glazed windows. This can be added after the build and is more sustainable that regular single-glazed or wood-framed windows. Double-glazing can reduce heat loss by up to 40% and offer a great, environmentally friendly option for modern lifestyles.
6. Use the Right Paint
When it comes to building your new home, choosing the right paints to decorate with can have a massive impact on sustainability. You don’t just want the property looking good – you want to trust you’re doing everything you can for the environment in the process too. With the right painting products, you can. Eco-friendly paints should have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Traditional paints tend to use these damaging chemicals which pollute the atmosphere, your home and everyone in it. Look for paint manufactures with low VOC like Dulux, Taubmans and more.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Resource Recovery Solutions – offering construction & demolition waste recycling and supplying the resulting material as quality recycled Aggregate, Road Base & Fill Sand, which can be delivered to civil and construction sites across Perth WA. Save money and ensure your building practices are sustainable. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.