Reduce your bills and environmental footprint | OPINION

CLEVER DESIGN: An example of a sustainable home taken to the next level. Picture: Alternative Technology Association
CLEVER DESIGN: An example of a sustainable home taken to the next level. Picture: Alternative Technology Association

Thinking about reducing your energy and water bills, improving the quality of air in your home, while at the same time being environmentally responsible with your new home or renovation? Pleasingly, you’re not alone; the demand for sustainable homes continues to grow and with our dwindling resources and increasing utility bills, it’s easy to see why.

The long-term benefits of designing and building or renovating a home with less impact on the environment are well known.

These can include lower energy and water bills, a warmer house in winter, a cooler house in summer, a healthier home for occupants, and less waste going to landfill.

But where do you start? With just a few simple design and material choices you can achieve sustainable living at a price that suits you. Make your new home or renovation more environmentally responsible.

Craig Jennion

Craig Jennion

1. If you’re building a new home, make sure it is positioned to make the most of solar passive design opportunities. If you’re renovating, consider changing rooms around to take passive design into account.

2. Incorporate shading structures or eaves to minimise the entry of summer sun and allow penetration from winter sun.

3. Insulate the walls, floors and ceilings of the home with the most suitable material and one that has the highest R-value for the job. Combine this with thermal mass, e.g. bricks, concrete and earth, inside the home.

4. Seal around external doors and windows and install self-sealing exhaust fans in the ceiling to limit draughts.

5. Select window glazing – e.g. single, double or tinted – that achieves optimum glazing conditions for your climate. The correct placement and selection of windows will also help maximise cross ventilation.

6. Zone the house so you have more control on the areas of the home that need to be cooled or heated using doors and walls.

7. Select the most energy and water efficient fittings, fixtures and appliances that you can afford.

8. Consider installing a renewable energy system and a treated wastewater systems or rainwater tank to generate and store energy and water the household requires.

Sustainable House Day is on Sunday, September 17.

For more information, or to find an accredited Housing Industry Association, GreenSmart Professional, visit


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