We should all want to do our part in ensuring the survival of the Earth’s ecosystem for the generations to come. Or maybe we just want to reduce our energy, gas and water bills to keep the cash in our back pockets. For most people it is probably a bit of both. But sometimes it can be tough to know where to start and what is worth investing your time and money in.
Words by Danielle Grover
We will have a great selection of speakers who will be touching on sustainable renovations speaking at the 2019 Reno Home Show. They include Chris from Studio Schofield, Lauren and Ryan from Rylo Co. and Prince and Kelly from InDesign Interior Renovations. But if you’re just rearing to go and can’t wait until July, here are a few pointers to start you off!
- Eco friendly paint
Paint no longer needs to be toxic to be beautiful and long-lasting. We are now spoiled for choice with no-VOC paint suppliers. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are extremely hazardous towards our health and have been linked to eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. But moreover, they release chemical ingredients that evaporate into the atmosphere while the paint dries. So where possible, no-VOC paint is very desirable.
- Eco friendly materials
Bamboo, cork, timber and straw bale are all great renewable choices to consider when looking into environmentally friendly materials.
- Reuse, recycle, upcycle
The options are unlimited for how many materials you can include that are recycled or upcycled within your renovation. As well as furnishings, fittings and décor, there is also the option of recycled counter tops, splash backs and tiles.
Alternatively, consider using reclaimed wooden board for your flooring. It is both economically and ecologically friendly, plus, it won’t warp after installation. Bonus!
- Consider the Sun
Especially with the hot Australian sun, your window facings can greatly affect the amount of heat and light entering your home. Keep it cool in summer with roof awnings preventing the direct sunlight from entering your home while still ensuring that the low winter sun can still shine in.
While you’re considering how sunlight can minimise cooling and heating expenses, consider also using natural light to reduce the energy usage of your artificial lighting. Let the light in with ceiling sky lights and sun tunnels, and bounce the sunlight around your home with carefully positioned mirrors and reflective surfaces.
- Solar Power
Solar power is another great use for the sun. It converts otherwise wasted sunlight hitting your rooftops into energy you can use to power your home. And with technology improvements happening every year, solar has never been more attractive.
- LED Lighting
As much as we love maximising use of the sun for lighting, what is there to do when it goes away for that pesky 12-hour period? LED lighting is a much more energy efficient and also more sustainable source of lighting. They require much less wattage than CFL or incandescent lights – incandescent lights only convert 10% of the electrical energy into light, the rest is wasted as heat! Combine that with lasting up to 25,000 hours of use, makes for a much happier back pocket in the long term.
- Insulation and Draught Proofing
Proper insulation and draught proofing can save yourself and the environment from the effects of unneeded heating and cooling of your home. At least one fifth of a home’s heating is lost through the windows, and mostly through the gaps in the frame rather than the panes of glass. Investing in good foundations for your home will pay off in the long-run.
- Low-Flow Bathroom Appliances
Your toilet alone can flush away up to 30% of your water costs. If you’re looking into an upgrade, low flow attachments can be easily fitted to toilet flush mechanisms. More easy options to consider are shower head attachments and tap heads with low-flow options that conserve both water and costs.
- Green Mortgage Lender
Looking more at the big picture, who you support is what you support. For most of us, a mortgage is the largest amount of money that we get to choose where it is invested. Therefore, borrowing from lenders that don’t invest in fossil fuels can be the biggest eco-friendly impact in your home renovation or construction that you can make. NAB, CBA, Westpac and ANZ all currently invest in fossil fuels. If you have the ability to, there are many lending institutions that avoid fossil fuels. Conduct your own research for the most up-to-date industry information and to make the most educated financial decisions.
Still want more? Make sure you visit the Reno Home Show this July to listen to industry experts discuss more in-depth information for building sustainable homes. Get your tickets here.