Top 6 savings tips for your sustainable homeTips and Advice
Ok, so we often hear about sustainable building practices and lots of people quite rightly want to work with sustainable architects in Brisbane. And if you read a lot of my articles you will know that I understand a lot about sustainable building principles and in particular how sustainable building designs can save you money in Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate.
Now sustainable practices are great for the environment and they can also be great for your hip pocket. But it’s not only renovations or new home designs that benefit from our expert understanding of sustainable practices. You can also make significant savings through some simple household additions that don’t cost the earth.
So here are 6 ideas that you can add to your home to enhance its sustainability and therefore save money:
Electricity Savings In A Sustainable Home
1. Downlight Guards: Most people don’t realise this, but downlights generate a lot of heat. So much so that they are considered a fire risk if ceiling insulation is placed too close to them. To overcome this, an area of clearance is placed around the fitting. However, by leaving this gap in insulation around every downlight fitting, the overall effectiveness of the insulation is compromised, resulting in heating or cooling being lost through this gap. Downlight guards are the solution as they allow insulation to be placed right against the guard itself, removing this insulation weak spot.
Investment: Typically allow between $300-$500 to have guards professionally installed in the average sized home. Note that the guards do need to be fitted by a licenced electrician.
2. Exterior Blinds: Direct sunlight on your windows can really heat up a room fast. Double glazing helps, but using exterior blinds to stop the sun hitting the glass in the first place can make an enormous difference to the comfort levels inside your home, reducing the need to have your air-conditioning running constantly during the warmer months.
Investment: Depending on the number of windows that you need to cover and the type of blinds you choose prices for an average home can vary from $600 to $2,000.
3. Window and Door Seals: By now you can see that many of these tips are focusing on climate control – keeping heat out and cool air in, or vice versa. Another effective way to stop your cool air from escaping is by fitting seals to your windows and doors. It’s not only inexpensive, but it’s also a great money saver.
Investment: Budget somewhere around $250 – $400 for the average home.
Water Savings In A Sustainable Home
4. AAA Rated Shower Heads: Hot water accounts for an enormous percentage of the average family’s power and water bills, so it stands to reason that using a showerhead that reduces the amount of water you use would save a fair amount on power alone. But water is an ever-increasing cost for most families so changing to showerheads that can save up to 40,000 litres a year makes a lot of financial sense.
Investment: Budget somewhere around $220 – $350 for the average home.
5. Low-Flow Taps: By mixing air into the water that’s coming out of the tap, low-flow taps use as little as a third of the amount of water that a standard tap does. This not only saves you on your water bill, but it can reduce your power bill as well as it uses less hot water.
Investment: Allow around $700-$800 for a standard home.
6. Grey Water Diversion System: The average home sends over 100,000 litres of water a year down the drain. But by installing a greywater diversion system you can save some of that water to use in your garden. And it’s less than you might expect.
Investment: Budget $2,000 to $3,000.
And these are just 6 of the dozens of ideas that we come up with to help our clients to live in sustainable homes.
So if saving money and the environment is important to you, consider the sustainability tips above.
DION SEMINARA, DION SEMINARA ARCHITECTURE
Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.