Make your home energy efficient by Ticking all the boxes

Building and renovating is the perfect time to make the most of your dollars and make your home as comfortable and efficient as it can be. Running a build or renovation project can be a challenging job, especially as we try to fit it in around other pressures of family, work and other claims on our time.  But it’s worth the extra effort to get the best ‘bang for your build/renovating dollars’ because what you do in a build or renovation project will be with you for many years.

By making sure you include a few key items not only helps to reduce the ever increasing energy costs, but also makes the home more comfortable and can increase resale value.

So just what should you look to include in a build or renovation project to make a home efficient?  Some of the key items are below, and there’s a free checklist on our website here.

Insulation and sealing the drafts – Wherever possible insulate the building envelope (external walls, windows, doors, floor and roof) as best you can.  It’s not always obvious to us but it can make a large difference to the comfort of the home and the cost of heating or cooling it. It’s the difference between living in a comfortable home, and a tent!  You can download a free ‘Draft proofing checklist’ from our website here.

Windows & Glazing – if installing new windows opt for wooden, UVPC or thermally broken aluminium frames with the appropriate glass (double glazing in Victoria if you can). There are many types and the right one depends on the situation so it’s best to ask a professional first. Rule of thumb is to double glaze the areas you live in the most and use window treatments (thermally lined curtains and pelmets, roman blinds etc.) on the other areas.

Heating and cooling systems – If you need to install heating or cooling systems, opt for one that can be zoned at minimum to living areas and bedroom areas and ensure you can close off those areas when the system is on. Place the thermostat in an appropriate place (not the hallway) and get the most energy efficient one you can. Many reverse cycle units these days are highly energy efficient and provide heating and cooling. Don’t forget fans – they cost very little to run and provide great cooling.

Appliances – If you’re updating your hot water system, gas boosted solar is the cheapest to run but has the highest capital outlay. At the moment, gas instantaneous or gas storage (in that order) is still the most cost effective to run but that’s unlikely to stay that way as gas prices are rapidly increasing. If you want to ditch the gas (as many are now doing), a good all electric alternative is the heat pump hot water systems. There are several good reputable brands available now, just look around.

With any appliance you look at purchasing check the star ratings and choose the most energy efficient, (and where relevant water efficient) models you can. With all the new technology available these days there really is no excuse for a badly performing, energy or water guzzling appliance.

Non-toxic paint, cabinetry and finishes – With paint ALWAYS choose Low or No VOC paint.  There are plenty to choose from these days and you can get it in any colour. Why? because there is hardly any smell and its significantly safer for your family and the environment.

Cabinetry, bench tops and finishes can make a significant difference to those with allergies. E0 type cabinetry boards (which have 0 toxic chemicals in them), use of glues and adhesives that are non-toxic, careful selection of bench tops, flooring and paints all contribute to healthier indoor air quality and better environments.

The range of non-toxic products available continues to grow in line with consumer demand giving us better options and choices to create a home that is comfortable, efficient and healthy for our families.  Independent certification organisations such as Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) provide a great resource to identify such products.

The Energy Efficiency Hub at the Melbourne Home Show in August provides an opportunity for you to take a look at some of these features and get some free expert advice.

Come and see us, ask your questions or attend a free educational seminar. If you are building, renovating or just want to know what you can do in your home it will be a visit well worth your while.