Building a new home is one of the best opportunities you’ll ever have to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment! New home builders Sydney now offer a range of eco-friendly solutions that are making it easier than ever to design a low impact house. These homes take advantage of modern materials and technologies to reduce energy consumption and build sustainable design into the very foundations of your house. Lots of things go into eco-friendly design, and in this article we’re going to go over the main principles of building sustainable homes in Australia.

Passive Heating and Cooling

Passive solar cooling is a set of design principles that use the sun’s natural energy to regulate the temperature in your home. The best way to design an eco-friendly home is to make sure passive heating and cooling principles are built in from the outset.

Passive heating and cooling looks at things like insulation, the sun’s location, natural shading, window placement and more. By combining these features in just the right way, your passive solar design can take advantage of natural light, heat and prevailing winds. This limits the need to run heating or air conditioning, dramatically reducing your home’s environmental impact.

Home Insulation

Insulation is the key to staying cool in summer and warm in winter. Generally speaking, the more insulation the better, especially in hot climates like Australia. But insulation is a complex topic and it comes with other requirements like moisture barriers, air seals and ventilation. If you want the best thermal performance for your home then you’ll need to talk to your builder. They’ll be able to provide expert advice and develop an insulation schedule that keeps you comfortable year round.

Water Savings and Recycling

Eco-friendly house design isn’t all about saving electricity. Designing your home from the ground up is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of modern water saving and recycling technologies. Of course, it’s always worth installing water saving faucets and shower heads, but you can also look into rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling and more.

Complex water saving systems can be difficult and expensive to retrofit into an existing home. As a new build, you can plan around the need for grey water plumbing, allowing you to reduce your water consumption and save between 50 to 100 litres per day.

Solar Power

Solar power systems are one of the best investments you can make in the environment. Even the smallest solar systems can provide huge savings in money and energy across the life of the panels. And, while a home doesn’t need to be specifically designed to take advantage of solar power, the right design certainly helps to maximise your returns.

Building with solar power in mind allows you to plan for things like home orientation, the sun’s path and bonus features such as solar batteries. A purpose-designed system can far outperform solar panels that are simply tacked onto an existing home. Plus, solar systems actually provide shade for the roof of your home! That further reduces your need for cooling during the summer months.

High Quality Materials

You can build a home that features all the eco-friendly bells and whistles, but it won’t mean much if the house only lasts for 10 years. That’s because the energy captured in the building materials is one of the least environmentally friendly parts of the process. Consider how much energy is used in growing and producing timber, manufacturing fittings and excavating the raw materials for things like concrete, bricks and steel. No amount of solar power can outweigh the energy that is consumed by the manufacturing process.

The best thing you can do to reduce your total impact is to choose high quality materials that will stand the test of time. Hardwood timbers, recycled glass and concrete can provide longevity that makes the investment viable.

Landscaping and Shading

Finally, no home is complete without its landscaping. New home builders Sydney often work with landscape architects that can help design and craft a property that stands out. But your landscaping isn’t just the key to looking good, it also plays a role in your eco credentials. Simply adding a lawn to your yard can reduce the ambient temperature by up to 17C. By reducing heat reflection and evaporation, your landscaping can contribute significantly to the cooling of your home.

If you want to go a step further then you can also look into features like mature trees, large bushes and covered entertaining areas. These all provide shade and can keep the sun off the walls and roof of your home, ultimately reducing your reliance on air conditioning systems.

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