Question Five – How important is sustainable design to you?

Your custom renovation is the perfect time to consider increasing your energy efficiency and the sustainability of your home. Not only is a sustainable design great for the environment but it can also be great for your wallet in the long run too. Let’s take a look at the different elements of a sustainable design before you begin your renovation process.

Sustainable housing is intended to make homes more comfortable to live in, minimise water and energy use, and assist with reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainability can be divided into three elements, social sustainability, environmental sustainability and economic sustainability.

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability takes into account safety, security and universal design. During your renovation you have the opportunity to increase your safety and security of your home with the use of designs and fittings that reduce the likelihood of injuries or crime. A universal design creates a flexible and comfortable home for people with varying abilities at different stages of their lives, as we discussed in detail in our last blog – ensuring its future proof.

Environmental Sustainability

It’s in this element – environmental sustainability – that your custom renovation can really make a difference as it covers water efficiency, waste efficiency and energy efficiency. Wise choices with the selections that you make for showers, taps and toilets are obvious options to not only save water but also save money in the long term. Consider adding in that rain water tank while your plumbing is exposed and re-done, what better time to re-plumb your toilet and garden.

We also inadvertently touched on our waste efficiency last month as it takes into account careful design and planning during construction, possibly reusing materials and future proofing to reduce the need for expensive modifications as needs change.

Redesigning your home during your renovation to reduce energy consumption for your family in many cases also makes your home much more comfortable to live in – cool in summer and warm in winter. Good passive solar design allows your home to heat and cool naturally. Consider taking the opportunity to increase your ventilation and your insulation, reposition your living spaces to maximise your house orientation and of course create those outdoor living spaces to capitalise on any existing or natural shade.

Having an Energy Efficiency Report prepared during your renovation process will ensure that you have not only take full advantage of the opportunity but that your ‘new’ home complies with the National Construction Code.

Economic Sustainability

The final deciding factor for many is the cost efficiency and fortunately smart features included in the initial design and renovation, reduce the costs in the future.

A smart house achieves economic sustainability in many ways:

Construction costs

Choosing cost-efficient building materials such as Foilboard wall insulation or Colorbond roofing, economic planning by using readily available materials or recycling and ‘smart ideas’ such as standardising the size of cabinets and windows can all achieve cost savings during your renovation construction stage.

Ongoing running costs

Most clients are choosing to renovate their home as they intend to stay put long-term so any ongoing savings can really add up. Reducing water usage and energy use all equate to lower electricity, gas and water bills – music to my ears! The financial savings from insulation general means that it has paid for itself within 2 to 4 years.

Living costs

Smart design features can save you money on a variety of everyday expenses such as cleaning, replacements and repairs.

Long-term maintenance costs

Check with your custom renovation builder to see how the choice and selection of materials can reduce repairs and ongoing maintenance costs. Often the ongoing and long-term savings will outweigh any initial costs.

Future modification costs

As discussed in our last blog, future proofing your home will ensure that as your needs change your home can change with you. Your sustainably designed home will accommodate the different demands of your current lifestyle as well as your future requirements.

Resale value

The growing demand for sustainable design, particularly environmentally sustainable homes, means that not only will your home have a greater value it will also have a greater appeal attracting a larger market.

Contact Constructive Homes to ensure that your custom renovation is sustainably designed, so that you – and the environment – can love your renovation!

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