Creating Sustainable Homes for the Future
What is a sustainable home?
Sustainable homes maximise energy-efficient products and environmentally durable materials for long term lifestyle benefits. They can reduce ongoing household costs due to lower energy bills and maintenance costs. They utilise climate-appropriate design principles that take advantage of natural sources of heating and cooling to make homes comfortable throughout the year.
Understanding your climate zones
Understanding your climate zone is essential to ensure that your home is built to suit your local conditions. By paying attention to the 8 Australian climate zones, you can ensure that your home will keep you comfortable using the least possible energy for heating and cooling when buying, building or renovating.
Examples of passive design like home orientation take advantage of the sun and prevailing winds to improve air circulation and minimise heating and cooling needs. Choosing suitable building materials, paying attention to properties like thermal mass or the ability of materials to absorb and retain heat along with insulation and glazing improves your home’s thermal performance allowing good solar heat gain and preventing heat loss. Renovations or simple home improvements can add many features of passive design. For example, installing skylights and roof windows can help ventilate your home and offer a good natural light source reducing the use of lighting, heating and cooling. More sunlight and airflow can also minimise condensation to prevent a home from rot and mould, making the home healthier and more comfortable.
Material choice can have a significant impact on the comfort, durability and environmental impact of your home. Taking into consideration the embodied energy including the mining, manufacturing and transporting of the materials can help reduce your environmental footprint and in some cases save you money by reusing materials and minimising waste during your home construction or renovations.
Households can significantly reduce their energy consumption by using passive design principles in new homes and renovations, changing behaviour to reduce energy consumption and buying energy-efficient appliances and technologies. By monitoring their energy usage, households can make informed decisions backed by data to help them save energy and money.
While Australia is one of the driest populated continents on Earth, we use more water per person than most other countries. Households can help by reducing the quantity of water we consume and improving water quality by managing stormwater and wastewater. A passive house can reduce its water use by installing water-efficient showerheads, taps and appliances. Collecting and using rainwater as well as reusing greywater from showers, basins, and taps can also reduce water bills, and conserve water resources.
Your home is Australia’s independent guide to designing, building or renovating homes to ensure they are energy-efficient, comfortable, affordable and adaptable for the future. The guide introduces climate-appropriate design principles that can keep your home comfortable throughout the year. Read more tips from Your Home