Sustainability is a huge topic which has been quickly and understandably increasing in popularity. Sustainable homes are not only better for the environment, but also for those living within it. There are so many factors that contribute to creating a truly sustainable home, so we recommend engaging a sustainability consultant to get a comprehensive view of how your spaces can become more environmentally friendly. However, if you're undertaking a small project or just starting to look for ideas, here are 5 things to consider for your renovation project:
1 | Reclaimed materials
Think about what is coming out of your current space that can be reclaimed or recycled. If your existing cabinetry is in good shape, you can consider selling or giving it away so that someone can reuse it. You can also do this with good quality flooring, windows and light fittings. Similarly, you can have a look online for things that other people may be giving away or selling from their renovations. You could find reclaimed timber benchtops, floorboards, windows or light fittings that suit your new design.
2 | Eco-friendly materials
When sourcing new materials, it's very important to do your research. A couple of important points to keep in mind are:
Source locally-made (or at least Australian-made) products and materials where possible
When selecting timber, make sure it is certified from FSC, PEFC or AFS accredited forests. Bamboo and plywood are fantastic eco-friendly timbers that can be used in many ways.
Source zero/low VOC products where possible
Consider items that were made with a high recycled content and/or that can be recycled
Look for new sustainable technologies and materials - I recently went to Betta Stone in Broadmeadows and was amazed by their benchtops made from recycled glass.
3 | Energy and water efficiency
When sourcing and buying appliances, tapware and light fittings, it's important to consider the efficiency of these items. We recommend using LED light fittings and not over-lighting your spaces by really thinking about where you need light (and using a combination of ceiling, wall and free standing lights) rather than covering your whole ceiling in downlights. When selecting appliances, choose the highest star rating that you can. If you're able to install solar panels, we recommend using all electric appliances. For tapware, look for the 1 WELS rating for the highest water efficiency and consider a boiling water tap over a kettle if you like to make multiple hot drinks every day. If you have the space, you can also install a rain water tank to connect to toilets and the garden hose.
4 | Building structure
To make your renovation truly sustainable, it's important to think beyond what you can see and consider the structure itself. Some important things to keep in mind are:
Insulation plays a big factor, so we recommend taking the time to add in or upgrade your wall and ceiling insulation during your renovation.
Windows are another important part of a sustainable home. Double glazed windows can make a big difference in making your home as efficient as possible. Adding in windows in specific location allows you to reduce the use of artificial light during the day and also create cross-ventilation, improving air quality and helping to cool down the home quicker.
Draught proofing your home can reduce heat loss in winter and make your home more efficient. A renovation is the perfect time to take a look at windows, doors, walls and insulation to ensure there is no air leakage.
5 | Design to last
Lastly, make sure that your home will stand the test of time. Not only does this mean selecting quality materials, appliances and fixtures that will not need replacing for a long time, but also designing your home so that you'll love it for years to come. We suggest staying away from trends and sticking to timeless colours and patterns that you truly love and will continue to do so once other trends have come and gone.
I hope these ideas have been helpful! If you want to find out more about how we can help you with your project, get in contact with us below:
Have a wonderful week!