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Thanks to ever evolving technology, there are plenty of creative ways to build a more sustainable and eco-friendly home in 2019.

In the year 2019, it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore our own obligation to make eco-friendly choices; from dishwashing liquid to carbon offsetting flights, sustainability is no longer a zeitgeisty trend, it’s a personal responsibility.

Google search trends reveal that when it comes to building or renovating, an increasing amount of Australians are taking it upon themselves to research how they can create an energy-efficient home that reduces their carbon footprint while supporting a lifestyle that’s cost-effective both now and in the future. So how do we go about building an eco-friendly home in 2019?

Size Matters

The size of your current or future home is a good place to start. As McMansions recede into the architectural past as the resource draining dinosaurs they are, many Australians are choosing to create homes that meet their needs without sacrificing comfort.

A serious look at how you like to spend your time at home can help with figuring out where space can be maximised and where it can be downsized to eliminate wasting resources, such as rooms that are seldom used along with electricity use for heating, cooling and ventilation.

Which way are you facing?

Your house’s orientation is another important element of energy efficiency. In Australia, generally, the most practical placement for your home is along a north-facing aspect. This position ensures the optimal exposure for enjoying light and warmth when needed, as well as harvesting the maximum amount of solar energy during the day to supply electricity and hot water for your home. The addition of eaves, awnings, verandahs and pergolas further allow for temperature control by allowing varying degrees of shade in the summer months, as well as providing warmth and light during the winter.

In Australia, generally the mostpractical placement for your homeis along a north-facing aspect.

The energy efficient house

Efficient appliances

Invest in energy-efficient appliances — the more stars, the more energy-efficient the product is compared to other models in its category.

Smart plants

Creative landscaping can also enhance the energy efficiency of your home. Strategies like the planting of deciduous trees and plants on the northern side of your house, along with trellises planted with vines, can provide shade and sunlight during seasonal changes, producing less need for heating, cooling and ventilation throughout the year. Clever planting can also enhance the flow and direction of cooling breezes, optimising ventilation throughout the home and outdoor living areas.

Clever planting can also enhancethe flow and direction of coolingbreezes, optimising ventilation…

Check your materials

Sustainable building materials continue to gain traction as eco-friendly options, with reclaimed or recycled wood and metal being increasingly incorporated along with materials such as concrete, mudbrick, stone and tile. High in thermal mass, these materials increase the retention of warmth when needed and rapid cooling in hotter climates. Choosing wood, bamboo or cork for interior panelling and flooring is also a popular “green” choice, enhancing the look and performance of your home while supporting sustainable harvesting and production practices. Likewise, locally sourced materials decrease the need for fuel and energy for transport, contributing significantly to the reduction of your carbon footprint during the building process.

locally sourced materials decrease the need for fuel and energy fortransport, contributing significantly to the reduction of your carbon

Let the sunshine in

Producing your own clean energy via solarpower will enable you to avoid the ever-increasing electricity bills that arrive everyquarter.

One of the most effective elements of eco-friendly building is investing in the installation of solar panels and solar hot water systems. As the last word in clean, healthy and sustainable energy production, solar power is a free, endlessly renewable resource that requires very little maintenance once installed. Along with the satisfaction of knowing that you are living more sustainably, installing solar panels and hot water systems also provide a substantial increase in your savings.

Producing your own clean energy via solar power will enable you to avoid the ever-increasing electricity bills that arrive every quarter. Not only will you benefit from low or even non-existent quarterly bills, recent research conducted by realestate.com found that 85 per cent of Australians surveyed considered the installation of solar panels to substantially increase the overall value of a property. This finding supports the idea that there is a growing awareness about creating sustainable homes not only for the ethical, practical and health benefits but also as an investment in the future as a cost-effective way to increase the value of your home.

Trish and David Higbed recently built a new house in Sawtell NSW and chose Solahart panels and SolarEdge Inverters. “As a family of five — with two teenagers in the house — we started getting hit with huge electricity bills every quarter, it was a major ongoing expense for us. We installed the panels over 12 months ago, and our bills are almost non-existent,” says Mr Higbed.

From a design perspective, Ms Higbed adds, “The panels worked with our design and it was much easier to install than I expected. Our [real estate] agent told us that as more people are insisting on solar power, this has increased the value of our home as well.”

We installed the panels over 12 months ago,and our bills are almost non-existent

David Higbed

Plumbing counts too

Growing up in Australia, the environmental crime of a leaky tap is drummed into us from a young age, but even when functioning correctly, taps are some of the biggest water wasters in the house. Eco-efficient taps have water-saving flow restrictors, and aerators can help to restrict excess water flow from taps in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry to conserve water use. There are also plenty of planet-friendly shower heads available on the market that reduce water flow to conserve countless litres throughout the year.

even when functioningcorrectly, taps are some ofthe biggest water wasters inthe house

Taking the time to assess your plans with an ecological lens will help you create a home which is cost-effective and lets you optimise resources and invest in a safe, clean, green future.

For over 65 years, Solahart has been helping Australians reduce their energy bills through energy free from the sun. And right now, we’ll also give you a $500 Trade-in on your old water heater when you purchase a Solahart Solar Water Heater, Heat Pump or PowerStore system. Plus, get 4 years interest-free on all residential news.com.au and Solahart products.

More in this series

Why solar energy will soon power most Australian homes

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News Pty Ltd Copyright © 2018 – Story by Lea Williams