It’s all well and good to claim to have a sustainable home, but what are the factors?
The most important part of a sustainable home....
It’s made from natural materials as a basic
prerequisite. The walls are made from earth, straw, timber, stone. Less carbon
footprint, more natural and locally sourced.
passively designed so uses the sun throughout the day and seasons
to warm and cool the house naturally.
Has cross breeze built into
Uses natural methods to warm
your home (ceiling fans or heat exchange vents)
One which minimises
as they require high energy to produce = bigger carbon footprint.
the use of medium density fibreboard (mdf), plywood, glues, pvc which include
If you use a lot of glass, double glazed windows are the best option (unless near
off gassing and carcinogenics
in your home eg. Ordinary paints, melamine in kitchens and bathrooms, minimise
glues and heavily toxic products (smelly products). You breathe them in 24/7
through your lungs and skin.
batts (min R2.5), thermal
roof blankets as a bare minimum.
Uses energy efficient power
(solar hot water, fluro/ LED lights), ii) and, water efficient items
(water tanks, water efficient fittings including drip irrigation and natives in
mass and insulation designs and materials, in synergy
with one another and are tailored to your climate and site.
Any concrete used needs to be low carbon concrete.
Modular = cheaper to build, less resources wasted and eco
products used are known rather than through ordinary hardware suppliers.
Use local materials
wherever possible to reduce transport energy use.
Plantation materials aren’t always good. The forest may be from
the other side of Australia or the world, or by companies who do a lot of
damage. Find out where they come from.
products are less processed so are the best for our health and environment.
management plan (physical barriers and traps)
Reuses or uses recycled
is sustainable and not just getting on the green wagon. They walk
A sustainable home has a low carbon footprint AND high energy efficiency through
all of these principles combined.
These are 20 key features a sustainable home must have in
its design and in the making of it.
Ask yourself how sustainable a home is once you’ve gone
through this checklist and asked yourself does it have the basics.... is it
natural? Is the home made from straw, earth, timber or stone?
Building sustainably isn’t rocket science. It’s just a
matter of mixing these important sustainable key indicators with your personal
taste and what you’re willing to do.
Many people believe energy & water efficient fittings or
plantation materials are what makes a sustainable home. That’s just one part of
the mix. Do what you can, but if you’re building from the beginning, include
the 20 features to really make impact.