It’s now easier, and more important than ever, to incorporate meaningful, valuable, useful sustainable practices into all aspects of our lives. And not only does this choice of being environmentally conscious ensure a more prosperous future, but it can also save you money on the cost of running your home, as well as increase the value of the property should you wish to sell it.
In this article we discuss 10 ways in which you can promote sustainability within your home, new or old. Whether you choose to invest in bigger eco-friendly switches, or the cheaper, smaller ones, any effort pays off. Making commitments to sustainable living is also incredibly financially rewarding in the long term, significantly reducing running costs of owning a home. In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), properties up for sale are subject to an energy rating which indicates what it costs to run the home. This idea has recently taken off in Western Australia (WA) with more and more buyers eager for an insight into whether they could afford to live in the home they are interested in.
How can you improve the value and eco-friendliness of your Perth home?
- Insulate your home
Insulation is one of the smartest steps you can take when building or renovating your property to ensure you use as little energy as possible heating and cooling the home. Passive house design principles are quickly gaining attention in Western Australia for their ability to engineer high levels of energy efficiency. Passive house design is a great demonstration of how sustainable building does not mean you need to neglect design and aesthetic.
See Abbetthaus, one of two Certified Passive Houses in Western Australia: https://www.openhouseperth.net/abbetthaus/
Consider insulating all areas of your home, including your walls and the roof. Double glazing windows is also strongly recommended, as is opting for thicker curtains instead of blinds, and area rugs for any exposed hardwood floors.
- Install a smart meter
Heating and air conditioning are two of the biggest ways in which we consume energy. It’s really to leave your heating or cooling on for much long than is necessary. Installing a smart meter is an effective way to reduce your homes carbon footprint, as well as save on energy bills. Smart meters can be specially programmed to only turn on at certain times of the day, and some can even be controlled from the convenience of your smartphone.
- Invest in Solar Panels
Solar panels are essential for any home wishing to transition into a fully sustainable functionality. They generate clean electricity for the entire home. Whilst they are certainly a long-term investment, there is a fair amount of money you can save by investing in solar power. In fact, some solar panels can even make enough excess energy for you to sell some back to the grid.
- Switch to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Making a switch to energy efficient light bulbs is probably the cheapest and most logical thing to do in your ‘eco-friendly household efforts’. These days there are a variety of far more efficient, cost-effective alternatives to incandescent bulbs. Using energy efficient light bulbs not only use less electricity, but also do not have to be replaced nearly as often, benefiting your pockets as well as the environment.
- Cut Down in the Kitchen
Check the energy rating on all your household appliances. Opt for energy efficient appliances, and when they aren’t in use… unplug them! Furthermore, be mindful of how you use your electric appliances. If you are boiling a kettle for instance, only boil the right amount of water you need for the number of cups you are making. Cut down on waste by making use of compost bins for produce scraps and trying to avoid using paper towels and other one-use papers/plastics. Finally, consider ditching non-stick cooking ware. When the non-stick coating is heated, these pans can emit harmful toxic fumes that greatly decrease your home’s air quality. Make use instead, of stainless steel or cast-iron cooking ware.
- Paint with Eco-Paints
When decorating or renovating your home, be wary of oil-based and other paints that contain lots of chemicals. Such paints release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Toxins which can seriously impact upon your health and/or aggravate any allergies. Look instead to use water or plant-based paints that contain natural pigments and low levels of VOCs.
If you would like more advice on painting with eco-paints, contact Nik from Chroma Painting.
- Use Natural Cleaning Products
Mainstream household cleaning products are packed with harmful chemicals. The pollutant VOC gases effect the quality of the air. Air fresheners in particular are incredibly harmful to the atmosphere. There are plenty of natural, eco-friendly cleaning brands (For example, Ecover or Method) you can switch to that are just as effective at disinfecting and killing germs. Bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice or vinegar can also all be used in place of bleaches and detergent and won’t end up tainting our water supply.
- Install a Rain Water Collection System
Installing a rain water collection system is a great way to support your home’s sustainability and self-sufficiency. Doing so not only benefits the environment by cutting down on your water usage, but also saves you enormous amounts of money in water bills.
- Use aerators
Another opportunity to save money and water can be found by installing aerators/low-flow attachments. Aerators can be used throughout the home. On the kitchen sink and shower head they are especially beneficial. Low-flow showerheads in particular have been shown to save up to 160,000 litres of water for a family of four!
- Landscape with Natural Plants
According to Water Corporation; we use almost half of our household water in our gardens.
When building or renovating your home it is important to choose native plants that require less water all year round. This significantly reduces running costs of your home and can increase the overall value of your Perth property!
To find out more on how to create beautiful, no-fuss landscapes in your garden, contact Thomas from Perth landscaping specialists Premier Constructed, or visit the Water Corporation website for tips to DIY.
Homes with eco-friendly features are now a must in Perth’s real estate market. Implementing these changes not only adds more value to your home. Sustainable home features are also a necessary step to reducing your carbon footprint and preserving our priceless environment for generations to come.